Dear Mama of the extremely wakeful baby,

Dear Mama of the extremely wakeful baby,

I know you are tired. Scrap that, I know you are weary to your very core, but can I tell you something? You are one hell of a mum. 

I know you dream of the time you get more than a couple of hours sleep at a time, but can I tell you something? You are rocking this mothering gig.

I know you feel miserable some days and it’s hard to hold back the tears, but can I tell you something? Your baby appreciates your commitment.

I know you find it hard to talk about what’s going on. I know you feel fragile and often times, when you do open up, people just want to ‘fix’ your baby’s sleep and suggest things that don’t sit well in your heart, but can I tell you something? You don’t have to pay them any heed. You know your baby. Follow them and your heart.

I know you will go through painful patches of anxiety and doubt as you watch other people with their babies and see how easily sleep seems to come. But can I tell you something? If your baby were theirs, they’d be struggling just as much as you are.

I know you regularly question yourself and worry that maybe it is something you’ve done that has created this wakeful pattern, but can I tell you something? It’s not. You are simply responding to the unique person you’ve created who happens to have an intense need for comfort day and night.

I know you wonder if it will ever end, but can I tell you something? It will. I can’t tell you exactly when but it will, once that tiny person of yours is ready. Our clever little people are biologically designed to grow more independent with sleep in time.

I know you wonder some days if you can go on much longer like this, but can I tell you something? It’s okay to ask for and accept help. We were never meant to do this alone. You matter too and doing what you need to keep you chugging is vital if you are going to be able to keep meeting the needs of your baby.

I know you may be desperate to try something new, but can I tell you something? Be careful who you turn to because not all support is created equal and not all support has both your best interest and that of your child in mind. Ask questions, trust your gut and follow your heart. Don’t be afraid to walk away and look for a more suitable alternative, because they are out there.

I know you think you aren’t doing very well, like a wakeful child is somehow a signal of failure, but can I tell you something? I now know sooooooo many mamas who have had wakeful babies and each one of them is stronger, more compassionate, intensely proud and endlessly grateful for the experience and lessons that baby brought to their family.

Mother of the wakeful baby, it’s time to give the guilt and the doubt a break. If you feel like shit today, feel it. But after you’ve had a big cry and a nice hot shower or a yummy cuppa and vent to a trusted friend, look at that perfect human you’ve made and think of all that is right about them. It may be their winning smile, it may be the way their fingers curl around yours, it may be the sweet milky breath, it may be their contagious chuckle, it may be their chubby arms reaching desperately for you or clinging to your neck.

They are sensationally in love with you. They couldn’t be where they are without your tender loving, time and patience.

It really is okay tired mummy. You aren’t doing anything wrong.

Chin up, shoulders down, deep breath in.

You can do it xxx
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Why I personally disagree with Controlled Crying in all its names and forms 

Why I personally disagree with Controlled Crying in all its names and forms 

This post is not written to upset, offend or judge anyone else’s parenting decisions. You do you and I’ll do me is a great way to look at all things parenting because we are all unique individuals raising unique individuals in our own unique circumstances.  

I am writing this because I was inboxed the question, ‘how would you explain why you are against controlled crying with your own child to family members who have used it with their kids?’

Hmmm tough one. Like all topics parenting, it’s not hard to find a sore spot for people. Thing is, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be talked about. Just because we may come at things from different angles does not make the topic taboo in my book. I love hearing why people parent the way they do. I find it fascinating. Some things I hear I know are not for me and mine and others sit just nicely in my heart. So I think the only way to talk about it and still be fair to all parties is to tell the truth. Explain your thoughts, beliefs and reasoning and the other people can choose to take it as intended- you talking about you and your family choices or they can get up in arms, block you out, get offended and fill with misunderstood rage. It’s really up to them.

So here’s my answer as to why I personally disagree with controlled crying.

  1.   I tried it and it went against every motherly instinct in my body. At sleep school with my first, they did ‘responsive settling’ … To me, though others will argue it’s not, this was just a trussed up version of controlled crying. Seriously, if this was the softer, gentler version then heaven forbid I ever tried true controlled crying because it was awful. Awful for me and also awful for my baby.  
  2. I know better so I do better. Since my time at sleep school, I have learned a lot. I now know the effects of raised cortisol and stress hormones. I now know what is normal infant sleep behaviour. I now know that it’s okay to continue to help my baby to sleep. I now know that my baby does not need to be taught to self settle as he will learn to in his own time (and it may take years to fully develop). I now know that catnapping is normal and not a sleep problem.  
  3.  Trust. For me, I want my babies to know that if they need their mum they have me. No strings or conditions attached be it day or night as many times as they require as long as they require. The end.  
  4. Babies wake and need help to sleep for soooooo many reasons. I would never want to train my baby not to call out for me if they need me.  
  5. I know how to get the best quality sleep and rest I can and what to do when sleep deprivation gets the better of me and none of it involves changing the perfectly normal behaviour of my baby and everything to do with me and helping myself.  
  6. Babies who wake in an extreme fashion (mine did every 20-40mins around the clock for a few months) tend to be even more sensitive and even more in need of extra responsiveness and parental help. Being left to cry (however controlled) is not what these sensitive, intense, busy brained babies need in my opinion.  
  7. Time actually flies. I know, I know. Sometimes it seems like it’s forever but it truly goes in the blink of an eye. The weary days will end. All on their own. No crying. No broken trust. No training required.  
  8. I found being sleep deprived and fighting against my baby led me down the path to PND while being sleep deprived while accepting my baby as he was helped me recover.  
  9. Controlled Crying in all its forms does not fit my my criteria for making parenting decisions (thank you Pinky McKay) 
  • Is it safe? Nope. The science says its not.  
  • Is it respectful? Nope. I don’t believe Controlled Crying respects normal infant behaviour.  
  • Does it feel right? Absolutely not. It felt all sorts of wrong.  

So there you have it. This is why I don’t think this is an appropriate technique for my babies and therefore why I would never advocate it to others.

If you are facing pressure to go down this path, read up on the research, look at gentler options if you want to try something but don’t for one moment feel like this is something you HAVE to do. It’s not. Your family. Your choice.

And for some expert information on this topic-

Evolutionary Parenting-

Sarah Ockwell- Smith

Pinky McKay


La Leche League

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