Sleep. Such a simple sounding word, but it is not a simple thing at all. So many people I know have problems sleeping. Either going to sleep, staying asleep, not getting enough sleep; you name it.
Sleep is also an important topic for new parents and experienced ones. All throughout my pregnancy and after I had both of my girls, all I heard about was ways to get them to sleep through the night, whether or not I should co-sleep, cry it out, etc. People love to give advice about how to help your baby/child to sleep through the night and their advice is always "what is best". Ugh. There is so much conflicting information out there, it is overwhelming.
Sleep through the night? Seriously? Do YOU sleep through the night? I know I don't, and I often have many nights where I can't even fall asleep. So why is it so many people expect that infants and children should sleep through the night when most adults can't?
I can remember being a child and waking up at night. I had bad dreams, needed a drink or was scared of a thunderstorm. I can also remember many a night going to bed and not waking up until morning and feeling so refreshed. Those days are long gone. I don't think I've slept like that, except maybe once or twice, since college. And of course in college I remember staying up ALL NIGHT and sleeping most of the next day. Now sleep eludes me. I wake up several times a night for who knows what reason. I am the lightest sleeper and a pin dropping could wake me up, unlike Bill who could sleep through a tornado. Sometimes I just can't fall asleep. Maybe it is a snoring husband, my bladder or hormones talking, but I am awake for sometimes hours after I go to bed. The nights I do fall asleep quickly, I am startled out of my sleep by a crying child or a thunderstorm.
I get my best ideas for blogging, and just about anything else, when I am trying to fall asleep. I wrote this particular blog in my mind one night last week when I couldn't fall asleep. Once my mind gets going, I might as well forget sleeping for a while. I keep telling myself I should keep a notebook next to the bed so when I think of something I want to write, or need to do, then I can write it down. That way, I will put my mind at ease and hopefully be able to fall asleep.
I also have a child with sleep problems. Which brings me right back to all of that conflicting sleep advice people just love to give parents. I do appreciate the advice, but please let it be just that. Please don't criticize me when I chose to follow different advice, or better yet, my own instincts. Or maybe just give the advice when asked. Trying to follow society's pressure to have your child sleep through the night at a certain age, or at all, just adds all kinds of stress to an already stressed out new parent.
Every child is different, and what works best with one child doesn't necessarily work for everyone. One child may be a great sleeper from the get go, as my little Boo was and still is to this day. Or they might be like my Kiki, now 7, who STILL has trouble sleeping at night. We found co-sleeping worked the best for us and allowed everyone to get much needed rest. I realize it doesn't work for everyone. I always tell moms asking me about co-sleeping to do what works best for them and ignore all of the critics. I also make sure they know to follow safe co-sleeping practices so as not to put the baby in any danger.
My girls still enjoy coming into our bed at night, especially Kiki who still needs that extra security at night. I used to think, "will they ever sleep in their own bed?" And when they both come in, things get a little crowded. However I know they will soon outgrow the need to be close to us at night and I will miss the lazy mornings spent cuddling in the bed. I tell myself that on the nights the bed is crowded and I am getting kicked or covers are being stolen away from me. Before I know it, my girls will be teenagers and then I REALLY won't be getting any sleep.