There is more than one “right way” to do most things. However, what your “right way” may not be another momma’s “right way.” It’s time to stop judging mommas for their choices and start appreciating our different approaches. Your parental passions and convictions may not match up with others and that is OK. Let go of selling your mommy views and avoid pressuring other mommas to see it your way. Embrace their journey as well as your own even if you don’t understand your differences. Too often I witness mom shaming and blaming mostly because mommas and sometimes even professionals tend to believe that their way is the only way. That is not OK, and more importantly, it is not true.
Believe me, there are many approaches to newborns that work and I have been blessed to see this first hand with many families. I can honestly say that not one family has had the same approach to a lot of different hot topics, but one common goal during those first few months of life; how to get the baby to sleep!
Choosing to help your baby learn to independently sleep at an early age does a lot of good for the entire family, achieving the ultimate goal of nighttime bliss for everyone. Teaching your baby sleep rhythms early and independently leads to happy, confident babies that sleep through the night sooner rather than later (and better-rested parents!). When we learn the tools to teach our babies how to sleep, you will be surprised at how early they will do this on their own if we give them the opportunity to learn. Imagine a baby that you can soothe to sleep, kiss goodnight, lay down in their sleep space as they drift off to sleep and stay asleep! With practice and as they get older, they will go down happy and wake up happy on their own. It takes work in the beginning of their sweet little life, but the return on the investment will be well worth your time. When you work on independent sleep rhythms you encourage confident sleepers that actually look forward to going to bed.
Choosing co-sleeping can lead baby down a road of only wanting to be in the family bed. If that is something you are OK with you, then go for it. However, I think it’s important for parents out there to know what you are getting into before you start. Those books you read about co-sleeping and attachment parenting don’t tell you that your toddler will protest in the biggest way if you try to transition them into their room after they have been sleeping with you for a year. Once the baby establishes the family bed as their own, it will be deemed just that. Thus, baby will sleep with you longer than you may have originally planned.
Does this mean they will sleep with you forever? No, it just means you might be in it for the long haul if you choose this method, it can make transitioning to their bed a bigger process as baby gets older and develops more of an opinion. Co-sleeping is sweet in the beginning, but for some families, it can become overwhelming when you are unable to move your baby into their room. All that being said, a lot of families love this time with their child and prefer co-sleeping as their method of choice.
Having a healthy balance of both ways can give parents the time they crave with their baby until they are a little older and more substantial. There is a time window you can share your bedroom with your baby while everyone is healing, learning to feed and practicing sleep rhythms. Having a co-sleeper, bassinet, or place for you to put your baby after a feed is ideal until you choose to move the baby to their own room around 6-12 weeks. The older the baby gets, the harder it is to move them without a fuss. The same goes for their room as does the family bed. If they are in their room and in their bed they will establish their room as their sleep space.
At the end of the day, choose a method you and the rest of your family can live with and a method that will allow every member of the family one of the most important things life has to offer, sleep.o