The more I read about sleep, the more confused I get. I don’t know how any new mother with sleepless nights is able to decipher all the information available on the internet, books, parenting experts forums, and other unwanted parental advice.
When I was a new parent, I had read information on the Cry-It-Out method from a certain best-selling parenting expert, and after 1 week, I felt that I had failed as a mother.I couldn’t follow the book because life happens. Then I switched to the more sensible book, The Baby Whisperer, that just gave me a routine that I could follow, E-A-S-Y. Eat. Activity, Sleep, and You Time. I had a baby who had colic, and I couldn’t get the baby to sleep. On top of that I had a maternity nurse who insisted that I had not enough breast milk, and proceeded to pump my child with formula. Again, another person who made me feel like a failure that I didn’t have sufficient breast milk. This is one of the reasons I started the blog to say that no one should make us feel like failures as parents. It is already a tough journey and most of us are trying our best.
7-years on, and 4 children later, I am a little wiser but I always feel for first time mums and most don’t know whose advice to take. There are plenty of parenting experts who now come to town, with different advice. With most of these parent experts that I have met, I have taken information suitable for my family. That’s when I realised that all it comes down to is what works for your family.
Whilst, many friends claim that Cry-It-Out is amazing, and it has worked wonders, it didn’t work for all 4 of my children. It would work for a while but I soon found that when we entered a new milestone in their development that could create set backs for their sleep. Same method, different children was evidence to me that there isn’t a one for all method. We treat and deal with teenagers in different ways according to their personalities so why not babies too?
Then, a life changing meeting took place. I met Julie Mallon, who showed me a softer, slower way that still achieved the same results, and now all 4 of my children sleep better and they are less stressed out at bedtime – I can now easily put four children to bed at the same time with no tears on my own. Julie has taken the stress out of bedtime, and I can read stories to all four children and turn off the lights with them in their own beds. She models her method on the parenting style and child. She explains things clearly, and gives a tailored made method to suit my family and each of my children’s personalities.
Also, Julie didn’t criticise my when I told her that one night I had to hold the baby upright to sleep because he was too congested from an awful cold. She, in fact, praised me that I was using my mother’s instinct to comfort a sick child. The next night, my baby boy happily slept on his own again.
I think the Cry-It-Out method works for some families, and I agree to a certain extent that children should cry, and we can’t teach babies that we will run to every whimper, but crying for 3 – 4 hours is totally against my instincts as a mother. Julie understood that about me and taught me how to teach my children how to sleep. She explained that it is one of the essential skills our children need to learn, not to sleep by force or control but that they can ‘learn to sleep’, and this method will be important throughout their adult life. Julie went on to explain that this can take weeks but she taught me to do it at the children’s pace. Most methods promise sleep in 3 – 5 days, and as a mother I can see how wrong that is now. Children take weeks and months to learn to walk, and years to write but as mothers we want them to learn to sleep in less than a week.
The biggest challenge was my daughter, and she wanted only me to put her to bed which meant always missing time with her brothers at bedtime. I can’t tell you how happy I am that after a month, I can turn off her lights, and she sleeps happily with no fear. She has the skill to put herself to bed. It has been a blessing to find Julie to change our family bedtime dynamics and I couldn’t recommend her more.
Please read our Q&A with Julie here.
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