To the sleepy parents that wonder here one late long night. You are not alone.
Of course you might really not be, baby might be in your arms while you read this on your cell phone wondering just what your doing wrong, why isn’t your baby sleeping.
The fact is that you know how to parent your baby at night already. Your doing it. Your up, holding your baby, rocking baby, walking baby, talking and singing to baby. If your baby is awake it is for a reason. She might be over stimulated and need help calming down. She might be going throw a growth spurt that has her learning new things so fast that she wants to drink it all in, at 2am, when you want to be sleeping.
She might not want to be alone.
Co-Sleeping is Crunchy! It is also natural. Most child psychology experts agree that you cannot spoil an infant. Do you really deep down think leaving her alone in a room to cry till she falls asleep is good for her? Do you ever feel good crying yourself to sleep? I never did and I have had many nights to do so as a military wife with my love so far away so often. It doesn’t help, but it does break the spirit, it does make you numb, it changes you and not for the better.
So what do other animals on the planet do? What do the animals most like us do with their young? They hold them, they don’t put them down for hours, they don’t expect them to sleep alone. We are social animals, it is not in our nature to sleep alone. Many parents admit to co-sleeping, many though do it without planning to. Co-Sleeping is safer than circumcision believe it or not. It must be done safely though. The quick run through is tuck the blanks in low on the bed so they do not go past your waste, Keep pillows small and high in the bed, Place baby by you, low in your arms, close to you. Being near you can help baby breath and sleep calmly, your heart rate can help his too I have read. Never sleep with a baby if you are on medications that make you sleepy, or if you have been drinking, and smokers should not co-sleep. If baby is rolling you can put your mattress on the floor to prevent a high fall just in case, you can move the bed to the wall and make sure to stuff the seam with something like towels, night and tight so no part of baby could become stuck between the bed and the wall.
The few times that co-sleeping does not seem like enough to calm baby my go to move is to take baby outside to walk a bit with a calm voice back and forth. Even in bare feet when it was chilly I learned if I got my babies into a different setting quickly that they would calm more quickly. Sometimes the fresh air, the change is enough to sooth. It has never not worked, though once I had to trade off with my husband a few times as our older baby just needed to be outside for a few hours. My husband got a good walking workout that night and a good nap after peacefully with baby right next to him safe and sound.
I have noticed that if a baby is not left to cry that the baby is not hard to calm, however if the baby is used to crying they are harder to sooth, as if they do not believe your trying to take care of the need they have. They melt down and can’t seem to see they are getting help. I always try to keep my little ones from crying much and I think it has served us well. Each baby has cried less and less as my husband and I learned more and more about how to parent to their needs, not make them be a baby to our needs and time lines.
I do not have “easy” children, they are not magically this way, I just helped keep them their best selves.
I am not expert, and I am far from perfect, but I love being a mother and I love time with my children and I love to help. Please take my words as my opinion and do what you feel is right for your baby. After all, you know them best! Sleep Sweet