We have definitely learned (the hard way) the importance of allowing your child to self-soothe. We never allowed Taylor to do this until two weeks ago. We have been operating on about five hours of sleep for 14 months! Now, we are finally able to get our beauty rest.
It was never our plan to have Taylor sleep in the bed with us or wake up at 2 A.M. each night for feedings and cuddles, but things sort of ended up this way. Since Taylor was exclusively breastfed, she slept in a co-sleeper for about six months, because it was easier to feed her in the middle of the night this way.
Well, gradually over time, she started to make her way to sleeping in our bed, and then she started to cry more frequently for extra cuddles. When she was about a year old, she was waking up multiple times through the night, crawling all over us, and poking our faces instead of sleeping. We were getting less and less sleep each night.
My husband and I made the commitment to keep a consistent bedtime routine and not rush to Taylor’s rescue at the slight sound of a whimper. Taylor’s bedtime routine consists of dinner at 7, a bath at 8, followed by story time and cuddle time. By 9, she is placed in her crib, with lullaby music playing softly, and left to fall asleep.
The first night we tried this, Taylor cried almost the entire night! We would check on her to make sure she was okay and stay in her room for a couple of minutes to assure her we hadn’t abandoned her. Then over time, she started falling asleep in a shorter amount of time. Now, she cries for less than five minutes and then falls asleep; she usually wakes up around 5 A.M.
Sleep has finally found its way to our household! We operate so much better with proper rest. Why hadn’t we enabled her much sooner?