well, folks…i learned something this week.

and that is that helping my little bear learn to sleep on her own is one exhausting full time job…albeit an important and hopefully rewarding one in the end.

up until about a week or so ago, we’d gotten into the habit of using many props (as the baby whis.perer terms them) to get her to sleep…including, but not limited to, a binky, rocking/swaying/jiggling, pacing, etc.  and then she would really only sleep no more than 30 mins on her own, if that.  but if i would hold her, she could sleep 2 hours or more.

so, guess what i was doing?

yep, holding her to sleep all day long.  and this was tiring and frustrating and a little scarey to me…what was i going to do when she was bigger?  hold her then, too?  plus, i knew i needed a tiny little bit of freedom to move about with both arms free and a back that wasn’t throbbing (i almost never had back pain while pregnant and now—ouch!).

i began to feel that if we didn’t act soon, we’d be in for a much more difficult time of helping her learn to sleep independently.  and by independently, i mean in her bassinette next to my side of our bed.  this is the first task on our agenda.  next will be tackling sleeping in the crib in her room…slowly, but surely we’ll get there.

let me say that while it doesn’t work for me to leave her alone to “cry it out” (cio), i have been tempted to just walk away many times…times when it’s been so difficult to soothe her and i just don’t know what to do…when that damn binky slips out of her mouth and she wakes up and we have to start the process of soothing her all over again…times when she and i have tried so hard to find her sleep and we just weren’t able to, leaving us both frustrated and exhausted. 

in those moments i just want to leave her to figure it out on her own.  and maybe there’s validity to that sleep training technique…i know many people who’ve used it and found it to be successful.  i’m not writing about this to make any judgments one way or the other.

but i do know that to me it doesn’t make sense to ignore my instinct to comfort my baby when she’s screaming, alone in her room.  this doesn’t work for me in part because of my own fears of abandonment that i carry with me even to this day…and the thought of passing them along to my girl is very saddening to me.  so much so that i could easily become a mother who never wants to be more than 2 feet from her just in case she’s afraid i’ve left her.

but then, smothering her like that doesn’t work for me either.  and this is why i’ve chosen the middle road.  helping her learn to sleep without leaving her or holding her everytime she’s sleeping.

but it’s damn hard work, i’ll tell you that.

oh how i wish i got paid to care for my own little one the way i’ve been paid to take care of other people’s children for so long! 🙂