Baby Rolls On Side To Sleep
Its one of the unwritten rules of parenthood that anyone who has a sleep problem must be surrounded by friends and family, all of whom know how to cure it and are willing to tell you at great length. Fiona demonstrates the rule:
Wherever I went, without fail, the first question anyone asked was Is she good? ? Now everyone knows that they did not want a moral judgement on the state of Phoebes tiny baby soul. Translated, this question actually means Does she sleep a lot and cry a little? ? And naturally I had to reply No. It hurt me that to all intents and purposes I was telling people that my baby was bad.
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I began to rebel. Why, in our society, is good equated with sleeping and keeping quiet? So when asked, I would say, Her character is perfect, it is only her sleeping pattern which is erratic. ?
As Phoebe grew, the question changed slightly. It was still the first thing anyone asked, but had developed into Has she slept through the night yet? ? This did not just mean total coma from 8am until 8pm, it had to be in her own room without any lullabies or hands being held or even dummy to suck (not that she liked them anyway). Then the advice started, whether we asked for it or not: Dont pick her up every time she cries, youre spoiling her; Youve got to get her into a proper routine; Youre not still breastfeeding that child are you? ?, Give her a bottle last thing at night; Shes a big baby, she needs some solids in her tummy; Shes using you as a dummy; Leave her to cry …, Leave her to cry …, Leave her to cry. ? And the most offensive of all: If you gave her to me for a couple of nights Id have the little madam sorted out, I can tell you.
Youre the expert on your baby. Talk to as many people as possible about what works for them, but remember that they arent looking afer your baby and they arent you. Your solution for your familys sleep problem needs to sit comfortably with the way you like to handle things. If you do anything else, it wont work for you.
My mother-in-law said: Leave that baby to cry. But we didnt do it while she was there, we wanted to do it ourselves. As soon as she left, we tried it – and it worked.
Liz, mother of four.
However, if you do want to make some changes there is a lot of support available outside the family. An appointment with your GP or health visitor is ofen the first port of call. Talk to them about your plans. Both these health professionals will offer you common-sense advice about getting your child to sleep, or refer you to a local sleep clinic. Your GP will also be able to advise you, or refer you elsewhere if you think your baby may be waking in pain or is allergic. Brief assessment visits in hospital are available, but rare.
Going into hospital for Bens sleeping problem when he was four months old was the worst thing Id ever done and the best thing. In the night the nurses did the comforting, and he learnt to do what we couldnt show him how to. (From birth he wanted feeding every two hours, and my husband and I were exhausted. Id been to a sleep clinic, but I wasnt able to do the programme at home – I couldnt tolerate hearing him cry, I would just go in and feed him, or my husband would go in and stay with him until he went to sleep. ) I felt so guilty. I was leaving him to cry with a complete stranger. But we were able to catch up on a bit of sleep and he got the idea of what was going to happen. Hes a lot happier now because he has enough sleep.
Amanda and Michael, parents of Ben, aged five months.