by Rumour Miller on August 16, 2011

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My almost favourite topic to blog about.  It’s true.  I’ve talked quite a bit about sleep (and lack of it) on my blog.  It is one of the most frustrating aspects of parenthood (for me thus far).  When we first started experiencing frustrations with Piper’s sleep habits, we started investing in books.  You know the ones.  Check your library, if you have struggled with this frustration, you have the same books.


Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

The No-Cry Sleep Solution

Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

I could go on and on.  There is no shortage of these “self-help” sleep books on the market.  I had the ones listed above, at least.

In retrospect, I think much of Piper’s sleep habits had quite a bit to do with us.  First time parents.  I also think that Piper is a child that was/is prone to sleep issues, she still has many night awakenings and I suspect that we will for a long time to come.  However, my own first time Mom jitters certainly did not help.  I could not handle listening to her cry.  Not in a “I’m going to lose it” way, but my heart actually ached when she would cry.  I felt she needed me and I did not want her to ever wonder where I was and why I was not with her when she needed me.

Now that I am a seasoned parent (ha!) I realize that my own issues and struggles as a first time Mom were, sometimes, ridiculous.

Davilyn was mostly always a great sleeper.  Oh how I loved that about her.  She did, however, go through periods of time when she wasn’t such a great sleeper.  It was during some of those times (so long as she was not sick) that I finally started to realize that letting my baby cry was not going to hurt her.  WOW!  What a discovery that was for me.  I learned with Davilyn that I really could translate my baby’s cries.  I learned when her cries here serious and when I should go to her.  I learned when her cries were just testing  me and she would fall asleep within minutes.  I was learning to decipher the baby crying code and I did not need a book.

Then I had Quinn, and I really became a seasoned parent (ha!) and it wasn’t long before I realized that it had been years since I opened one of those “self-help” books.  In fact, I stopped worrying about our sleep issues (or lack thereof).  At least, I mostly did.  Then, just a few weeks ago, I was going through my library of books and came across all of my “help your baby sleep” books and I kind of smiled to myself.  I mean.  We had made it.  We had survived the sleepless nights with a new-born.  The many awakenings with a child that did not sleep well.  We are conquering the sleepless nights when we are cuddling our sick children.

I packed those books up into a rubbermaid and they are destined for donation.  I don’t need them anymore.  Don’t get me wrong, they were helpful in one way or another.  I’ve just learned to go with the flow.  Trust my Mama instincts.  Listen to my baby’s cry.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  And…. do what is best for MY family.

It’s so easy for me to say all this now.  I am no longer in the throes of it not knowing what the heck to do.  I have realized recently though, that I have felt this way for quite some time.  I really felt like I knew what I was doing the third time around.  The second time around, I felt like I kind of knew but I still questioned myself.  We (as new parents and not so new parents) really need to stop doing that.  Stop second guessing ourselves.  It’s easy to say, not so easy to do.

So, I am happy to report that sleep has mostly returned to our home.  We still have some restless nights.  A child with dreams.  A child that isn’t feeling well or one that is teething but we have gotten over the worst of it (I hope!).  Now we are onto other parenting challenges and I hope that at the end of each one, I am writing a post just like this.  Saying, “Hey!  That wasn’t so bad!  I can do this!  I am doing this!

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