Here’s the post I kept meaning and wanting to write when I had the answers. Well instead this is the post fessing up to the fact that I’m never going to know the answers in hopes that perhaps it might give a fellow mom a comrade in arms. So here we go, my testimony about dealing with Maisy and sleep, the hardest section of motherhood for me by far.
Here’s the thing. There are some things in life that you know, some you don’t know… and some you think you know. In regards to Maisy’s sleep the former is what I long for wholeheartedly, the latter I get a feel for on any given day when a sleep time actually goes smoothly, but, truthfully, with the exception of those occasionally peaceful sleep time routines, I’m utterly clueless. And it is utterly debilitating and ego crushing to not be able to get your baby to go to sleep nicely no matter how many ways you try it and try it hard.
Perhaps even harder is the reality that a very select few moms have experienced as challenging a sleeper as Maisy. These moms mean well but I see “clearly you’re not doing it right, my kids sleep great” scrolling across their eye balls. So I feel awful for not knowing. I feel awful for feeling awful. And I feel awful for feeling judged. And then I get a gift, the very rare woman that does, in fact, have an equally challenged sleeper.
The most important lesson I have learned…
Every woman I’ve shared my testimony of my battle with Maisy’s sleep (except my fellow sleep struggling moms) asks, “have you tried the cry-it-out method?” Based on all the research I’ve read on infant sleep the truth is that allowing your child to “cry-it-out” is simply teaching them that you’re not coming back. The whole time your baby cries their body is secreting the same hormone that causes the fight and flight response in adults. The whole time your baby cries they are in a state of fight or flight. At a young age their basic need is to be aided into a state of sleep. If they’re tired and their needs are taken care of, they will go to sleep. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m just saying it’s what the research and my heart says is right. And I will say it is hard! On the hardest days I try to put myself in her shoes to summon the gumption to stick to my guns. In a society that expects independence it is hard to dive into a no-cry sleep regimen with your baby. It is time consuming and frustrating, though not for all. I take care of 3 other children here and everyone else goes to sleep easily and largely by themselves. That is all the proof I need that it is not my fault that Maisy is a difficult sleeper, it’s just in her nature. I suppose I got the sleepless child because I had the gaul to say, “I lived on an average of 2 hours of sleep all through my freshman year of college, infant sleep can’t get harder than that!”
I’ve tried everything on Maisy. I even tried the “cry-it-out” method as a last ditch effort. What I’m doing now is the best thing that works and it’s ever changing as my daughter is ever changing. It is simple, I’ve set a soothing routine, with dim lighting, white noise, and some snuggles.
If you are a mom with a baby or an expectant mom, I strongly encourage you to consider a no-cry sleep solution for you baby. You may be thinking, well Kaia, you’re not exactly an expert in this matter, wouldn’t an expert have a kid that sleeps? Perhaps. All I can do and feel compelled to do, is share my heart on the matter and hope that maybe it will lead some moms to their gentle sleep solution. I encourage you read “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” and try the ideas for your family. I will not judge you if you do, or have done, the “cry-it-out” method. Moms need to stick together and encourage each other only! It’s a hard enough job as it is without feeling judging eyes on you.
I have a far from perfect daughter and I am a far cry from a good mom, but she’s a really sweet and good kid and I’m working hard. With all the warmth a mom can feel at 6:30am when she’s been up since 2:00am, I bid you a joyous journey on the path to infant sleep with as few tears as possible.