Sleep Trainer or charlatan?

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What is a Sleep Trainer? The wording is slightly off putting, I think. How can we train a child? Like we train a pet? And if we can ‘train’ our children to sleep without any negatives and experts have the answers, why don’t we all know the secrets?  Why isn’t it working for everyone?

I am in a privileged position… don’t worry, I’m not going to say that I have babies that sleep, because unfortunately I don’t… but to meet many new parents on a regular basis as part of my baby massage classes. I have heard many sleep woes; as well as stories of babies who do sleep for most of the night and have done so from as young as 6 weeks (the holy grail, I am owed a baby like this I think).

Two clever women have told me two pieces of advice which to me seem to be contrary to there being any sort of ‘sleep expert’. The first was a Doctor who was taught if there are lots of different products on the market for a problem, it generally means that they haven’t found something that actually works. Like teething, some people use necklaces, some use gel, some use powder, some use Calpol, while others use teethers. Yet, so many babies struggle with teething and I am yet to meet a parent who has found the complete solution, or at least a solution that works for multiple babies. The other fab piece of advice was from a fellow mum; she was very to the point and just said “you either have a baby that sleeps or you don’t”.  There is nothing you can do about it, it’s just the way it is. I like this explanation, but it would be pretty much the opposite to ‘experts’ selling a myth, service that will get your baby sleeping.

Yet, what if they are on to something? why can they not agree on one method? does ‘cry it out’ really work and have no lasting impact on the baby?, or are the critics right and it does in fact just teach a baby if they cry no one will come. Is the more gentle approach of going in and out of the room multiple times, just laying baby back down until they sleep, the way forward? Or is this not prolonging the upset and showing baby that it’s a battle of wills? Does letting them sleep in your bed mean that you will have problems later? Is feeding them to sleep a comforting way of helping them drift off, or creating bad habits?

The point is no one knows, and certainly not everyone agrees. We all have our methods that work for us, or if not work, ease the challenge slightly at night. We all find our way of getting as much sleep as we can.

One thing I do know for sure, it does not last forever and I don’t know any 15-year olds who are left to cry/fed to sleep/ sleep in their parents bed or need their mum to repeatedly lay them back down when they wake at night. So Sleep Trainers, perhaps we need to let nature take its course and rather than train our babies to sleep, perhaps we need to train us parents to accept the facts. Some babies sleep, some don’t, they will get there in their own time and it’s not because of anything you are doing that’s right or wrong, it’s just the way it is.

What do you think?

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Sometimes nice girls do pick their nose!

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Sometimes nice little girls do, in fact, pick their nose. These same nice, little girls also burp, run, laugh loudly, throw balls. They play rough and tumble, play with mud, play with cars, play with dolls. They climb, fall, jump, balance, shout, rage, dance.

These ‘nice’ girls do all the things that all girls, and boys, nice, or otherwise, do all the time.

As they say…. Girls will be girls!

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Today I didn’t enjoy being a mum

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That sounds awful doesn’t it! But it’s true.

The moment I opened my eyes my daughter was asking the same thing she asks every day and suddenly it felt like Groundhog Day. I immediately felt irritated that every single morning we have the same moany requests.

The morning was filled with meltdowns and tantrums about the slightest thing (the children, not me, although I would have liked to join in). We had a playdate with my friend but the children decided to take it in turns in clinging on to me and crying or fussing about everything. They want the “blue plate”, or “2 yogurts”, or lunch 10 minutes ago, or no lunch. Nothing I was doing was right. Not helped by the fact that I don’t feel 100% myself after a few days of having the flu. I couldn’t talk to my friend at all, and could tell you nothing about what she has been doing in the last few weeks because I couldn’t think straight with all the crying and moaning.

Cleaning the floor for the sixth time in 4 hours; I felt trapped in my own life. Is this it? What am I doing? Why did I think staying home with my children is a good idea? There seems no escape and I’m not sure I even like doing it. If I was offered an ‘exit card’, would I take it? Right in that moment maybe I would have.

I envied those at work and wondered if working outside of the house (more than the few hours I run baby massage sessions) was the way forward. The ticket to time away and time to breathe without being clung on to, cried at, moaned at, demanded to.

What could I do? Scream maybe? Shout perhaps? I chose cry. I say chose, that’s not really true, crying chose me and I had no choice. I sat and sobbed. My children were stunned. My nearly 3-year-old climbed onto my lap and said “why are you sad mummy?”. I explained that I had had enough and she just sat and hugged me. She hugged me like a comforting adult, and then dried my tears with a wet wipe.

My daughter comforted me, whilst my baby son tried playing peekaboo. Right then I remembered! That was it, that was why I love being a mum. In that moment, the love she was able to show me reminded me why I do it and why I love it. However, upset, infuriated, cross or overwhelmed I feel we have an unconditional love, we are a family and we look after each other. Those we love are the ones that can push us to the edge, yet they are also the ones that can pull us back as quickly.

*If you enjoyed reading this please do share it with your friends, and check out my Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/rootsandwingsparenting/ I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences so pop by and say hi🙂

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