Why is it such a challenge to get babies and children to sleep? Let’s look at this question first from the baby’s point of view. It will be a stream of consciousness kind of inquiry…..

This is what I think:
Babies can feel their parents attachment to having them go to sleep, which of course breeds insecurity and resistance to sleep, because of fear and confusion…..Baby questions “Why do they want me to go away” or “why do they want to leave me alone?”……Sleep is a funny place for a baby…….she/he asks: “Do I get to come back after I go there”and “Will my mom still be here?”

And now for the parents point of view:
We want time alone, we have things to do…….we want them to sleep so that we can sleep.

We are all just trying to get our needs met, are we not!?

In this culture (more on this in PART 2), parents have to “teach” baby to fall asleep because we want “adult time”. The reason it is so challenging  to make our kids go to sleep, is because we are “making them“.

While we can essentially manipulate the child to sleep, can sleeping really be taught?

Should we impose sleeping on another being?

Is it possible to find consensus between their needs and ours?

How can we reason with a baby or child who lives in the realm of emotion and knows us primarily in the context of meeting their needs?

How to Sleep Manipulate without Inducing Fear in Our Babies (or so I have read): (I am sure this “sleep manipulate” talk will trigger some, I didn’t coin the term so don’t blame me! I am only the messenger… yet this language resonates as truth for me…even though I know that most parents do not think or intend to manipulate..said for the sensitive types).

Oh and by the way, while your baby might not be scared, they will still be emotional!

AKA: MAD AS HELL!

So what if we are attached (no judgment intended, I have and still have much lingering attachment in this area!) to having our baby or our child sleep at a specific time, but we do not want them to feel abandonment, loneliness or fear?

Here’s an idea:

We go into bed with the baby and just be there…. we hold our hand on the baby, but we don’t move it or sing or soothe Soothing in any way, will likely cause baby to “need you”!  Newsflash! Our baby’s feel that they need us, when they do, feelings can’t be argued with, they (feelings) just are, whether rational or not, good luck!

Anyways, the point is that if you soothe you will likely continue to be an essential and needed part of your own manipulation and that is not what you want. Remember you are “sleep manipulating”  so that you don’t have to be the pacifier. Isn’t that the point?

So what is it exactly that I am trying to say? Whose side is this lady on anyway? I don’t know….I don’t believe in the cry it out approach…I do understand parents yearning for bedtime to simple and uncomplicated….I am just thinking out loud.

So just be there and don’t leave until baby is truly asleep, EVER (baby needs to trust that you will not leave in order to feel relaxed enough to let go to the sleeping urge). Baby will cry, because baby is mad (but remember, baby may also have a tummy ache because of poor digestion so please address that)!

Now if you end up trying this  “lesser of evils”  approach to the ” full-out abandonment cry it out approach”  DON’T ever say that I said to let your baby cry in pain! Digestive upsets are handled best by supporting digestive health, relief of stress, and nervous system alignment through homeopathy, chiropractic, craniosacral therapy etc. Babies that cry inconsolably or raise their legs to their chest or stiffen their bodies can also be in pain! Now that I think about it, even if your baby is not in pain, these methods of calming the nervous system could help your baby relax and sleep easier!

So back to my bright idea (sarcasm):

If you are sure that your baby is not in pain, just be with baby, until he learns to sleep. Assist baby to fall asleep at the appropriate time (when baby is obviously tired, not according to your whims….follow your baby).

Hopefully your baby will slowly figure out how to fall asleep. Remember, your baby need not feel abandoned or afraid that you will leave, because you never do (until they are asleep). They know you are there, because they can see your loving eyes and feel your presence. Let it be emphasized, do not gaze with impatient  or even worse ANGRY eyes (been there, done that). Nobody will win that battle. You’ll  be the one to give in, because now you’ll feel compelled to console your scared child and you will ultimately be left feeling guilty.

Parents who choose to take this more gentle approach instead of letting baby’s cry it out, must be very confident and not display any guilt or confusion about not  “doing something”, other wise baby will feel the insecurity and will then himself be insecure (insecurity breeds insecurity) and therefore continue to resist sleeping. As long as baby isn’t in pain and his/her crying is only resistance to change, that might be ok….I don’t know, YOU ARE  this child’s mother/father. If both mother and father feel this choice is right for their family without inner conflict, then I suspect that baby will come to accept it and feel safe.

Has this approached worked for anyone? While I don’t think that this situation is ideal either, it seems like the best compromise that I can come up with from what I’ve heard and read. Haven’t got to the consensus part quite yet.

I will never know if it would have worked for us when our kids were babies….I just nursed my babies down and “stole” away once they fell asleep…at about the age of  1 “ish” my husband began helping…lying down with Isaiah and walking Jasmine down in the sling….which she protested every night for an hour until she was at least 1 and 1/2, maybe older, I think I’ve done near blocked that out (said with a southern drawl). She’s a Taurus!

OK, so I have “nattered” quite a bit…made some statements and asked some questions. …probably imposed some judgment, BUT don’t worry, it says more about me than it does about you, then again, if you are triggered, it says something about you too! Gosh I doth be love new age philosophy!

What are your thoughts?

Do we have a choice other than to “sleep manipulate” if we want an uninterrupted night life? Or are we shitty selfish parents for imposing this on our sweet innocent little babies?

What is the alternative?

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