Ever since bub was born I’ve loved holding him in my arms as any Mum does. But I became susceptible to the two big no no’s: feeding him to sleep and holding him while he slept. Friends would berate me for this saying it would cause problems for him later but I didn’t care. Bub hated going in the cot and I couldn’t bear to hear him cry so I would hold him in my arms and feed him until he fell asleep.
Now he is nearly 7 months, over 9kg and a habit has formed. Bub and I are co-sleeping, safely of course. My husband is in the spare room during the week and I am absolutely exhausted from holding bub during the night. Supernanny we have a problem!
I’m so confused with all the sleep stuff and Google is a minefield! What is the right thing to do? I cannot bear the thought of controlled crying but is this the only option? So many books say their techniques aren’t controlled crying but that is exactly what it is. I have heard various reports that this is damaging for the child in the long run and I know there are two sides to this argument so what is the answer? As a new Mum I’m at a complete loss as to what to do so I got a referral from my Doc and head over to Tresillian day-stay with much trepidation.
On arrival there is a Mum in the reception area with a quilt/doona, 2 kids and a look that says, ‘don’t f**k with me!’ I am taken to a lounge area where three other Mums are sitting silently. We are collectively thinking ‘What are we doing here?’ One mum leaves early exclaiming ‘This isn’t for me!’ I am led away by a nurse to an office and go through tedious paperwork. Then I am given new techniques to settle bub. The information is delivered in a caring way with no judgement at all. We discuss some of the methods I have come across in my google travels and the nurse reiterates my fears that some methods of controlled crying are indeed harmful for the baby which will become evident in later years.
With any new routine though there is an element of crying and the nurse showed me the different levels when bub was ready to go for a nap. I was told to try and resist the urge to pick him up at the slightest grizzle. During the whole process I was told to cuddle him, comfort him and stroke him when he became distressed. Bub needs to learn to settle himself and me jumping to pick him up at every cry is not giving him the opportunity to do so. After half an hour of me going in and out of the room where bub was in his cot, cuddling him and soothing him he fell asleep. This is a first for me as he never sleeps in the cot at home during the day. Admittedly this victory was short because he woke after 20mins but it was a start. During the whole time I was there the nurse kept saying to me that Tresillian is just there to advise and it’s up to me in the end. She also said that people contact Tresillian as a last resort and she didn’t think I was ready yet, like the woman in reception I presume.
In all honesty I don’t think I am either. As soon as I got home it was a different story and when bub started crying I folded. I find the whole process extremely difficult. Even though I am sleep deprived I am enjoying co-sleeping and having him near me. I am not ready to let him sleep in his own room as advised. I love having him sleep in my arms and watching him all snug and content. At the end of the day he’s just a little baby who wants his Mum. I know there are lots of Mums out there who are great at sleep training but I’m not one of them. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I am never going to have a full night’s sleep and I’m ok with that for now. Check in on me in a month!