As Janice and my babies grow bigger in our bellies and prepare to permanently alter our lives, so grows my dread of the impending sleepless nights.
The sleepless nights of newborn life (and baby and toddler life) seriously panic me. I need sleep — and the thought of trying to manage a toddler and a newborn all day after a night of nursing and trying to convince a baby to sleep freaks me out. And let’s not forget I still need to make time to work on 5MinutesForMom.com and our online stores Pedal Cars and Retro Collectibles and A Rocking Horse To Love.
As you may know, in preparation for the madness, Janice and I have both hired Au Pairs to come and help us survive. But even with the help, sleepless nights scare me!
And so it was with a very open mind that I picked up Elizabeth Pantley’s book “The No-Cry Sleep Solution”.
This is the second of Pantley’s books that I have read cover to cover and thoroughly enjoyed reading. I love her non-judgmental attitude and the way she offers ideas and suggestions for all types of mothers who follow different parenting styles.
Although Pantley chose co-sleeping for her family, she does not try to force such attachment parenting techniques on other families.
She recognizes that some babies are breastfed and some bottle-fed, some co-sleep while others learn to accept a crib. Some babies find attachment toys, some love pacifiers and some suck their thumbs. Pantley is open-minded and sincerely wants to help all families regardless of whether they subscribe to attachment parenting theories.
Families are unique. Babies are unique. Even babies within the same family differ from each other and may benefit (or demand) a different style of parenting than their siblings.
Before I gave birth to Julia, I knew little about “attachment parenting” and I had never even considered co-sleeping. But by the time Julia was 5 months old, it was clear that she would benefit greatly from co-sleeping.
For me the decision to bring her full-time into my bed — and abandon the efforts of continually putting her back in her crib all night long — was a tough one.
You see, I’m a rule follower and a serious worrier.
When doctors and the media declare babies must not sleep in adult beds, I listen. It’s the way I am — I follow authority.
But when at 5 months old Julia spent all night waking and begging to be near me, I had to listen to a new authority — the authority inside of me as a mother who knows what is best for her child.
I followed every precaution. I even went to Sleep Country and bought a new king size FIRM mattress with no pillow-top cushion. I placed the mattress directly on the floor. I used only a tight fitted sheet and only one pillow that I ensured never neared Julia. I wore warm pajamas and lived without a quilt. (Don’t tell… but I even had my husband temporarily relocate to the guest room so that I could easily move from one side of Julia to the other as I switched sides while breastfeeding without worrying about him rolling over on her.)
And, most of the time, I never told anyone!
I had never met anyone in person who had ever done anything as radical as sleep on a mattress on the floor so that their baby could sleep without fear of falling. But now, as I have spent time online meeting all different types of moms, co-sleeping on a mattress on the floor seems common place.
But even though I’ve never regretted our sleeping arrangements, I would never tell another mom that she ought to make the same decision.
It’s too personal. It depends on too many factors.
And now as my second baby’s arrival comes closer, I still do not know how the sleeping arrangements at our house will eventually work out.
My husband and I have agreed to try and have the new baby sleep in a crib and I imagine we’ll stick with that for at least the first few months if not longer… but I can’t promise anything.
I’ve learned that I need to listen to my baby while at the same time manage the needs of our entire family. And this time it is more complicated because I still have Julia co-sleeping with us. We’ll have to wait and see what works.
And so I am thankful for the sleep plans and all the ideas and suggestions in Pantley’s book. I can follow her ideas and learn to help my baby sleep whether we choose a crib or a family bed.
I must say I have loved having Julia co-sleep. I’ve never regretted that decision. But our situation this time is different, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens. I’ll have to keep you posted!
How about you? Where are you at with sleeping babies and toddlers? Do you currently have a little one who is keeping you sleep deprived?
If yes, leave a comment asking to be entered in our draw for a copy of “The No-Cry Sleep Solution”.
If you’re done your sleepless days, please also comment and share your story.
And most importantly, please do not feel judged whether you choose to breastfeed, bottle-feed, crib-sleep or co-sleep. Everyone is welcome and everyone is different. We love hearing about all your unique situations.
And please share your sleep and bedtime tricks. Pantley’s book is full of fantastic sleep routine ideas and I bet some of you have great ideas of your own.
When we do the draw for the book, we’ll only enter those in the draw who have specified they are interested in receiving a copy of the book.