Sleeping Beauty…

Last night was one of those nights where I thought I was winning this parenting game. We came home from a beautiful walk through our suburb around 5.30pm and I could see Pickle’s little eyes getting tired. I took him into the shower with me and talked gently to him while the beautiful warm water flowed over both of us. My Pickle loves the shower and it’s the first ritual to our night time routine; he relaxes completely and gently sucks the water off my shoulder.

I dried him off and gave him a beautiful massage with almond oil and a couple of drops of a beautiful aromatic oil that my midwife had made for us – by now he’s completely relaxed and well on his way to bedtime. After putting him in his nappy, we sit down together for a breastfeed and his little hand rubs my chest affectionately while his eyes stay on mine. These are some of my favourite moments – there is something so intimate and special about this time together. A time that only he and I can share. I love it.

When he finished eating I held him close in my arms and walked around the house gently humming to him. His little body stills and his eyes begin to close. Shortly after, he is completely asleep and I lay him gently on the bed. It’s the perfect way to put him to sleep; he is happy, relaxed, feeling completely calm and loved.jordan-whitt-142396

I am excited too because I foresee an evening ahead where I might actually get to eat dinner with my husband and enjoy some adult conversation.  Not that this is completely uncommon but it is completely unpredictable – sometimes it happens early, other times late and sometimes its very much ‘eat on the go’ alternating with Pickle.

Looking at him asleep in bed, I stood there for a while looking at his perfect little face, his mouth already doing the phantom sucking and his gorgeous little hands making tiny fists. What is it about sleeping babies? There is just something so special about them – they are so tiny, so soft, so vulnerable and they look so sweet laying there by themselves.

sleeping beauty
sleeping beauty

As I walk out of the room my heart is filled with love for this tiny little being and I just want to pick him up and squeeze him and tell him just one more time how much I love him.

It’s one of those perfect nights; while I had been going through this beautiful sleep routine with Pickle, my husband had been in the kitchen making us a beautiful home cooked meal.  The kitchen smelled amazing and as I walked into the dining room, dinner was served. We ate together, talking and laughing about silly things, enjoying a few beautiful moments together.  It was only 7.30pm when we heard a little rustle from the bedroom. I looked at the clock… he had only been asleep for 40 minutes. We had both finished eating but I said I would go check this time. As I walked into the room I could hear Pickles little voice as he was moving his head from one side to the other; this happens a lot and usually ends up with him finding another comfortable position and falling back asleep. I’ve learned not to disrupt him too much while this is all going on as he is usually still pretty well asleep.

Last night however…. he saw my face and his eyes lit up, a big cheeky grin spread across his face and he let out a few of his irresistible little sounds. It was pretty evident that this kiddo was wide awake. No plans of going back to sleep no matter how many times I stroked his hair. After about 10 minutes of mucking about, I picked him up and rocked him gently on my shoulder. He was starting to get unsettled and seemed to be more and more awake. It was in those moments that I had the saying “if you cant beat them, join them” running through my head. What it really meant for me was that I knew I had no hope of putting this hard headed little Pickle back to sleep so I figured I may as well give in, let him enjoy some more time awake and tire himself out again – what did it matter? I was up anyway.

That was probably the critical moment where a decision needed to be made… whether I made the right one or the wrong one remains to be decided… but before I knew it, he was out of the bedroom and in the lounge room with my husband and I. He was sitting on my lap, listening to the music we had playing and looking around the room…. Did I do the right thing? Isn’t it better that this happens now than in the middle of the night?  Trying to put this particular kiddo to sleep when he doesn’t want to sleep is a challenging task at best – he gets so upset and his little sobs into my shoulder and his quivering lower lip are enough to melt my heart.

Well….. my brilliant plan perhaps wasn’t so brilliant as I didn’t get him back to sleep until 10pm. Is that too late for a 7 week old baby? Are there rules to this game?  I don’t know what the ‘right’ thing to do in this situation is but I figured that its not like he has to get up for school the next day.. is it really going to make such a big difference? If he is tired today he can just have another nap right?

There are some nights when everything goes to plan and others where it totally fails; but for me, winning at this game is when I can slide into bed at the end of the day knowing that my Pickle is happy … after last night’s events I have a little hunch, he is feeling like a bit of a winner today. I just hope that this isn’t a pattern that goes with him into his school years …by then though, I hope to have some sort of a plan….

Would love to hear your comments and suggestions on your sleep routines, wins, losses and ideas on this topic … thanks for reading. 

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. kate says:

    Sleep is the big challenge and the holy grail of parenting isn’t it!! I think the question of ‘what to do’ is soooo individual and depends on what works and is ‘right’ for your baby and you. Our little chap has always been pretty wakeful and not that interested in day naps (until recently it was 30 min max per day).
    When he was tiny, he was often still awake at 11 or 12pm. His timing slowly swung around to more day/night kind of hours, and I’m glad we just sort of let it happen naturaly, with gentle encouragement.
    He usualy goes to sleep at around 8.30pm now, and gets up in the morning at around 6.30….if he’s not teething or sick he usualy wakes one or two times in the night before around 3am, and then he seems to wake progressively more often until light creeps in (he’s 11 months old).
    I often look at what we are doing/have done and question whether we’ve done the ‘best’ thing, whether we could have done it better, whether we are actualy making it harder for him to sleep, whether we should have more routine. Some nights/early mornings I am very frustrated and over it, but actualy, when I think about it, I wouldn’t have felt ok about approaching sleep in any other way. I don’t feel good about CIO or controlled crying, so have never gone down that path.
    When he was tiny we would just try all the options until one worked – rocking him, feeding him, putting him down for a few min to see if he actualy wanted to have some space, picking him up again, walking outside in the ergo, music, no music etc etc…eventualy something would work. These days I feed him off to sleep and then again at night when he wakes up. We co-sleep, and have tried a few different things – cot sidecar to the bed, cot just near the bed etc, and at the moment we have a big mattress on the floor so we can all fit, and he can slide off and play in the morning. Daddy plays musical beds depending on how tired he is! Sex life…well that doesn’t have to be limited to the bedroom. Co-sleeping has always felt right. Doesn’t feel good to leave bub alone yet.
    I have faith that one day in the not so distant future, it will just feel right to try something different again…maybe a change from feeding to sleep to just hugging to sleep, or maybe Samson will be super excited about having his own bed in his own room….but I have a really deep sense that we will know what to do and when to do it, because that is what will feel right. For us it’s about staying open to possibilities and new strategies, and balancing our own needs for sleep and space with the needs of our bubba and looking at things from his perspective as well.
    Have loved reading stuff by Pinky Mckay – she has a lovely way of affirming our roles as mothers without claiming to know how to ‘fix’ or ‘train’ our babies. xxx

    1. maxiemama says:

      Kate I couldn’t agree with you more; there are so many books and suggestions out there but I have found for myself that I like to do what ‘feels’ right for my little pickle. We co-sleep as well which I really enjoy. I love that he never has to work hard to get my attention, being right next to him means I can settle or feed him within a matter of seconds which keeps us both happy and relaxed and the gorgeous physical contact is reassuring for both of us. He sleeps soundly at night time and wakes roughly every 3 hours to eat and then goes straight back to sleep. It’s really only the settling down for the night for the first time which is sometimes challenging. Even during the day he is pretty easy and just goes to sleep on his own when he is tired.
      I completely agree that there is no one right way to do it and although I have considered reading books like ‘Save our sleep’ which everyone recommends, I feel as though we are doing pretty well and have steered clear of trying to follow ‘the done thing’. Like you we try lots of different things – swaddling, un-swadlling, rocking, laying on the bed together, walking around the house, singing, silence, music… until something just works for him. We always start with a shower and a little massage followed by a feed… and then the rest is really play it by ear. There is a routine but its not fixed in stone and I am not particularly concerned about what time he falls asleep each night. Whether this works in the long run I am not sure but I like to think that we are doing the best thing for him NOW. Like you, I just go with what feels right.
      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, its so nice to hear what other people are doing.

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