My Toddler Still Does Not Sleep All Night, Or On Her Own.

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Someone once asked me how it was going with my daughter. They were referring to her sleeping habits. I said it was the same: she never sleeps all night, I co-sleep with her still, and I have to lay down with her at night to get her to sleep. Their response “well you ruined her. You did this to yourself. She’s spoiled now.” And they turned and walked away.

I will never understand their response. How have I ruined my daughter? How is she spoiled because she knows she is loved and safe and I will be there no matter when she needs me?

Here’s the thing: my daughters sleep habits suck. They really suck. They have since the day she was born. And yes I am serious, right form day one.  I have talked about my daughters sleep issues multiple times. And at this rate I will continue to.

I am a mother, 24/7 I am a mother. If my child needs me in the middle of the night, I will be there. If I need to lay down with my child for 20 minutes, 30 mixtures or over an hour until she falls asleep I will. Because it is what she needs, and honestly, its the least I can do. Is taking an hour out of my day to lay in a bed with my toddler really such a horrible thing?

I have not ruined my daughter. I have not spoiled my daughter. I have loved my daughter and been there for her when she needs me. Her needs just tend to be a little bit different from other kids needs. My daughters issue is sleep. I don’t know why, all I know is that she needs me during that time and I will be there.

Kids grow up way too fast. My two little itty bitty boys are about to be 11 and 10 years old. I don’t know how this happened. My daughter is about to turn 3. Again, this seems impossible. She won’t need me forever, not like this, so while she does need me like this, I will be there. Just like my boys needs have changed since they were babies, my daughters needs will change as well.

Sleep is hit or miss now. Sleep is strange. Sleep is a crowded bed with too many people shoved in together. Sleep sometimes causes me to wake up with random bruises and scratches. Sleep is also a magical thing when I get to cuddle my daughter, feel her fall asleep in my arms, watch her sleep – she always looks so peaceful. When I go into my daughters room in the middle of the night and hold her in my arms and can instantly feel her little body relax and calm, it makes it all worth it.

My kids needs will change as they grow. I used to have to sleep with my son as he suffered through a few weeks of night terrors, now I’m lucky if I can get a hug out of him in public when he’s near his friends. Oh, and he now sleeps perfectly fine on his own.
My daughter? She will soon grow out of this, she already has started and will continue to learn how to calm herself and sleep on her own. Until she can do it fully on her own, I will be there for her.

I will be there for my kids in any way I can when they need me. I’m a mother, its part of my job.

~ Michelle

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I Never Thought I Would Co-Sleep, Then I Had My Daughter

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When I had my boys, just 13 months apart sleep was very very important! Thankfully my boys were born with a love for sleep. Sleeping 12 hours a night at 2 months old, and 4 hour naps. It was bliss. Pure bliss. I love sleep, and I was over the moon excited that my boys did too. It made parenting two babies 13 months apart so much easier. I swear it was the only way I survived 3 years straight of teething, back to back terrible twos, and everything else my boys did!

Fast forward to my daughter. She didn’t get my sleeping gene. I learned this on her very first day. She was awake, wide awake, following noises and such for hours at a time. I never even got a good look at my boys eyes for the first few days, but her… oh she was awake, wide awake. When she was just a month old she could go all day, ALL DAY, with no nap and still be wide awake and happy. She just didn’t need sleep.

From day one she hated sleeping on her own. We thought maybe she was cold and would heat up her bed with a hot water bottle, warm blankets from the dryer, an extra heater in the room. Nothing worked. We tried rocking her to sleep, I would breastfeeding her to sleep, music while she slept, no music, lights on, night light, pitch black, bedtime bath stuff, car rides, putting her in her swing, and anything else we could think of. I re-read every sleeping and parenting book I could.

We managed to get her to sleep for a few hours at a time on her own, but she never slept all night and never on her own.

Fast forward again, my daughter is 2 and half now. And you may have guess she still sucks at sleeping. She can be up all day, playing outside all day with her brothers and cousins, and guess what?! She will still stay up till 11pm! The girl doesn’t like sleep. (I’m starting to wonder if she is even human).

So 2 and half years later and guess what we do? We co-sleep. If you can call it that. We lay with her till she falls asleep, because after 2 and half years this is what works. And no, letting her “cry it out” is not an option. After she is asleep whoever is with her sneaks out and sometimes a miracle happens and she sleeps all night, but 90% of the time she gets up, and I go in there and she’s right back to sleep and we both sleep soundly the rest of the night.

This is what we do because it works for us. This is what we do because it is what our daughter needs us to do. I don’t stop being a mom at night. IF my kids need me, I’m there for them. Do I wish all my kids slept all night on their own, in the their own beds? Yes of course. Does it happen? No. Does life go on? Yes. Will we all survive? Yes. Will this eventually be a thing of the past? Yes.

Sometimes co-sleeping isn’t even a thought, like with my boys, and sometimes co-sleeping is the only way to survive. One day, maybe one day soon, maybe in a year or more, my daughter won’t need me like this. One day she will be able to go to sleep on her own and sleep all night. One day I will miss this. Kids grow up too fast to stress about where I lay my head at night.

Never will I think a parent is crazy when they say they co-sleep. Sometimes its a last ditch effort just so they can function on some what normal level.

~ Michelle