I admit, when my 4th baby was born 10 months ago, after I had fully embraced the decision to parent my children peacefully, I still had many hang ups about the issue of sleep. All the familiar advice kept popping back into my head. “He has to be taught to sleep without you.” “He has to get used to falling asleep without nursing.” “If you bring him to bed with you, he’ll want to sleep there forever.” While I could begin to recognize the apparent fallacies, I did still wonder, how will be make the transition from nursing all through the night at my side to sleeping on his own? I was dedicated to meeting all his needs, even those “just” for comfort, got however long it took. But until recently, I would easily become discouraged, partially due to my lack of sleep. Today, however, I got a glimpse of the transition in store for me, and it was glorious!
I knew he was sleepy, I knew it had been a few hours since he awoke from his last nap. So I took him in the bedroom for our usual routine of nursing, wiggling, and cuddling. Even though he was obviously tired, he wouldn’t nurse for me than a few seconds at a time, and he adamantly refused to lay down. Giving up, I started messaging my husband and just laid quietly while my baby proceeded to climb all over the bed and me, babbling away in the process. After a few minutes, he crawled over to me and laid his head straight down on my hand. It became apparent that he had simply laid down and fallen asleep! This 10 month old baby, who has shared my bed for nearly every nap and night since birth, who has been breastfed on demand around the clock, who has used me as a pacifier (and sometimes an artificial one, too), who has been rocked and patted for countless hours, who has never been put to bed without first showing the signs of sleepiness…this baby had simply stopped playing, came to his safe place (me!), and fell asleep. Words cannot express the level of satisfaction and pride I had in myself at that moment. Those 10 months of giving him exactly what he communicated that he needed have finally paid off. I can now see the beauty in the madness. And it has strengthened my resolve even more!
P.S. I’m currently nursing him, as he woke after about 45 min and cried out for me. He fell back to sleep straight away and is contentedly using me as a pacifier. 😉