Some parents are into attachment parenting while others believe firmly in independence. When it comes to parenting, there’s definitely no one size fits all approach and what works for one family might not necessarily turn out the same in another. Likewise, baby sleep strategies vary greatly from family to family.
Having said that, it’s extremely important that you plan carefully what kind of sleeping arrangements you want to have in place. Initial baby sleep strategies eventually turn into long term habits that you may not necessarily be able to deal with in the long run. And it’s a lot harder to do damage control than to set the right practices from the beginning.
Two moms from with contrasting parenting styles, share their baby sleep strategies and how it has benefitted or affected their lives.
No to co-sleeping!
The first mom, is a stay-at-home mom to three kids aged 8, 6 and 5. Her children all sleep in their own rooms, throughout the night.
Of course this didn’t happen magically and it all started with extremely consistent baby sleep strategies. This mom put her kids to bed every day, at the same time, from the time they were just six weeks old.
And if they needed a night feed, or a diaper change, she would get out of her bed, do what she had to do and place them back in their cot.
“For the next 12 hours, I would feed, change or comfort them in semi-darkness.”
As soon as they could sleep for six hours at a stretch, she moved them out into their own rooms.
“It’s tiring but i believe the marital bed is sacred. And I sleep better with the baby in a safe cot.”
This mom firmly believes in such baby sleep strategies for they are beneficial and practical in the long run. For the mom, it is about having her own time, space and sanity. For the children, it’s about setting their habits right from the beginning.
This mom feels safer if her baby sleeps in his own cot.
This arrangement works well for it gives the mom space to do what she wants after the kids are in bed. Knowing that the kids are fast asleep and are unlikely to wake up, she has the time to go on dinner dates with her husband, attend parties or even enjoy an occasional girls’ night out with the ladies.
The helpers are at home to watch over the kids and having some time to herself doesn’t stop her from waking up at 5am to fix their breakfast and pack their lunchbox with healthy, home-made goodies! Talk about balance!
“I had a party on Saturday at 8pm for 25 people. My kids were asleep by 745pm and slept through my party. I can’t think of a better scenario.”
That sums it all up doesn’t it?
Tiny feet and hands all over, all night long
The second mom is a working mom of three kids aged 5, 2 and a 7-month old baby. She co-slept with all her children even when they were able to sleep through the night.
Her first child started sleeping through the night from just two months old. She left him with her parents and only took him home over the weekends.
I only had him over the weekend and I was always so busy working so I treasured our time together. It was a beautiful feeling hugging him to sleep and waking up to his smile first thing in the morning.
At the age of two, he moved in with her permanently and continued co-sleeping. It wasn’t much of an issue until the second child arrived. He had the habit of waking up to nurse, or comfort latch multiple times at night. At times this affected the sleep of the older child.
This mom’s baby sleep strategies were mainly co-sleeping.
I enjoyed co-sleeping with one child but when a family of four had to sleep on the same bed, it started to get frustrating. My husband was not in favour of co-sleeping and the baby sleep strategies were not working well for us.
When she was expecting her third child, she finally moved the older two to their own room. It was a onerous task and it took months for the children to settle. In the process, there were many nights when the children would wake up and cry and whine to be allowed back on the parents’ bed.
The kids have finally settled but every now and then this mom still has to deal with them waking up in the middle of the night.
I have to get out of my bed, get into their bed, soothe them and get them back to sleep. It’s really draining.
And even though they are in their own rooms, she still has to sit by their side until they drift off to sleep. In hindsight, this mom feels that the baby sleep strategies that she had initially chosen might not have been the best. While it was endearing to have her babies cuddling up with her, it didn’t go far in building their independence.
As a working mom, I really needed my sleep so when the kids wanted to sleep by my side, I relented. Now I realise that it was a short-term solution. It caused bigger problems in the long run and affected my sleep much more. If I could do it again, I would not choose to co-sleep.
Co-sleeping left this working mom exhausted.
At the end of the day, parenting is all about the choices that you make and a lot of trial and error to figure out what works best for you. But it’s always best to put careful thought into the early practices to save yourself trouble later.
And if you do make mistakes, take comfort in the fact that through every process, you have made precious memories with your little ones!
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore