Have you ever heard of the book by Joanna Harrison called “When Mom Turned into a Monster?” Well, neither had I until my son brought it home from the school library one day. When we read it I realized that is was the biography of my life! My kids loved the book (probably because they thought is was about our family) and to this day, they even like to play a game they call, “mommy monster”, inspired by this embarrassingly authentic portrayal of our life.
Before kids, I never would have imagined that the lack of sleep I’d experience from having four kids in 5 years would turn me into a monster, but it has. And, it’s only now that I’m actually starting to get sleep again that I realize sleep deprivation was the cause of my bi-polar behavior.
While nursing my youngest, I sometimes looked at my wedding photo and reflected on how nice I once was and found myself questioning what happened? The removal of sleep from my life is what happened!
But, enough about how much sleep I’m not getting. What about the kids? How do you get your infants and toddlers to sleep? Well, I’m not sure what to tell you except that stressing over the right method is certainly not going to help them sleep any better. I tried that. I didn't work. I think I tried just about everything I could to get them to sleep, except for co-sleeping, and that’s only because I’d frequently have nightmares that somehow my infant was in the bed, under the covers, by my feet. I’d wake my husband up in a panic, throw the covers off the bed, and demand that he make sure our son was in his own crib. Needless to say, the hubs wasn’t too happy about that…
What can I tell you? Know yourself and try your best to pay attention to your child’s needs. By that I mean, if you’re not an organized person then it’s not too likely you’ll be getting your child on a regimented feeding schedule. If you are an organized person, then you’re not going to do the whole feed them whenever their hungry method. Each child is unique and has their own unique needs. There’s no one set way.
You have to establish a routine that will help you maintain some sanity. And, stop comparing your children to others kids. My kids never slept through the night until they were each over a year old. I know of so many babies who sleep through the night by 3 or 4 months. I have no idea how that’s even possible, considering I was still up 4 times a night with each of them at that point.
But, what I do know is that all four of my kids (the youngest is 21 months and the oldest is 6) now sleep really well and they all sleep through the night. In fact, my 6-year-old son sleeps so soundly that he doesn’t even wake up when he wets the bed…..now, that’s a topic I could use some advice on!
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.