Last night as I sat by my 2 year olds cot, trying to soothe him back to sleep, I realised, with a sinking feeling, that it was that time again. Each of my children about this stage seem to get funny about sleep, start objecting to going to bed in a darkened room and when they wake during the night seem to need soothing back to sleep. It's not an easy time but at this stage the knowledge that it is just a phase does make it more tolerable. When our first daughter went through this I read all the books, tried everything to no avail, even contacted a sleep nanny on two occasions and only the massive expense of it prevented me from booking her. The only thing I didn't try was listening more to my daughter and less to those around me telling me that i'll form bad habits, I'll have her ruined and so on. The pressure to have these robotic children who perform exactly as expected is immense. From the minute you bring your precious bundle home you will be hounded with questions of 'is she a good baby?', 'is she sleeping for you', 'is she going through the night for you?' . There is only one way these questions can make a mum feel, especially a new mum, and that is like a total failure. Seriously how 'good' should a one week old baby be??
My little man is a lot more than one week old, and the last two years have gone by so fast, so if he needs me at times during the night, to hold his gorgeous little hand, to reassure him that I am there, then that is exactly where I'll be. It is exhausting but the thought of any of my children feeling scared or upset at night, when we are all at our most vulnerable, is too upsetting to contemplate.
So if I were to write a book for new Mums it would be very short, it would contain no schedules or routines, and it would simply say....
Listen to your babies, no matter what age they are, be there when they need you, no one knows them as well as you do so listen to your instinct. The days can be very long but the years are so short. So put away all books and enjoy every moment and remember the difficult times are just a phase and will pass.
And lastly wear warm pyjamas, as sitting by a cot at two o clock in the morning can get quite chilly.