I’ll be honest and say when I was pregnant I read as much as I could on how to be the “perfect” parent how you should let your child soothe themselves to sleep and how you should let them go to sleep by themselves without being in the room or rocking them.
Let’s be honest these so called “help” books or the internet for that matter will never prepare you for a) labour or b) bringing up a miniature version of yourself. It’s all very easy to be swayed by what relatives and friends are trying to pass on to you but realistically what works for one person won’t necessarily work for you.
I’ll never forget watching a relative of my husbands try to bring up wind in my new born and a mixture of emotions came over me, feeling totally useless that I couldn’t do it myself and also how uncomfortable it looked for my child. I can guarantee you’ve all got that image in your head, babies face squashed in between your thumb and index finger, its actually funny thinking about it now how upset you get when people are trying to give you advice and all you want to do is sleep.
I thought on a number of occasions maybe I’m not doing this parenting thing right but all you’re trying to focus on (well for me anyway) was getting through the day without failing. From the start it was clear that my darling wanted to be cradled to sleep, we couldn’t put her down until she was fast asleep otherwise she would just cry and cry. I remember trying once (I’m not sure how old she was) to let her settle by herself and I stood outside her room listening to her crying and crying believing that I was doing the right thing because someone had either said “oh you’ll make a rod for your own back, if you do it that way” and it literally broke my heart. I couldn’t leave her any longer and I gave in and stayed in her room till she fell asleep.
I remember putting my hand through the bars of her cot and holding her hand till she fell asleep. Thinking back I used to get so frustrated at how long she would take to go to sleep and why wouldn’t she just settle but I wish I could go back to those times and remind myself these moments just don’t last forever. I would literally crawl out of the room once she had drifted off desperately trying not to make the floor boards creak, which obviously made a noise every single time!!
Fast forward five years and I still stay in her room till she falls asleep. I’ll be honest and say maybe I shouldn’t do it but quite frankly it works for our family. She goes to bed happy knowing that her mummy is in the room with her and all her worries are taken away before bed time. We do exactly the same when she sleeps out at the grandparents as well. My husband will tell you I have come downstairs a many a time and said “oh my that was a long time” and his response is “she’ll soon stop wanting you to be in her room let alone fall asleep with you in there”.
I guess what I’m trying to say from all of this is no matter what you get told, what you read up on, you should just trust your judgment. You’ve brought this little person into the world, the days may be long but time runs out rapidly, your newborn suddenly won’t be a newborn and you’ll sit and wonder where the years have gone. Trust me I know I am!