When I was pregnant, and even before, I held smug views on baby sleep. First of all, I was convinced MY baby would have no trouble falling asleep because it would be so cocooned in love and warmth that it would happily nap off whenever she felt like it. I also pronounced myself clearly against dummies, white noise machines and all the other stuff that promises a "sound sleeping experience" for baby.
While my views on sleeping aids for babies still uphold essentially, I must concede I have a more open attitude towards them now. If there is one thing I have learnt as a new mother: Do not, under any circumstance, underestimate constant sleep deprivation. Lily is, generally, a good-ish sleeper. She's not a crier and usually slumbers off soundly on my boob. However, with her being increasingly interested in EVERYTHING ELSE but my boobs, this also becomes trickier at night.
During the day, she doesn't sleep more than 30 minutes in a row, which is driving me nuts. Also, I struggle to put her down. The last weeks, I have lain down with her in bed and nursed her, but as her nursing intervals become increasingly longer, that isn't the only go-to move anymore. Also, I don't always want to lie in bed with her all the time.
The only way she falls asleep without me being close or sucking my breast is in her pram. There she nods off gently and without any aid but the rocking of the pram - a dream sleep-in, which I wish she'd do in bed. Which is why I've recently thought, "Hey, what if only there were a bed that could rock?" Turns out, there is such a thing and while I didn't want a rocking crib, I'm starting to regret that now because I wonder if she could fall asleep in her rocking crib by herself during the day, so let's keep that in mind for baby number two, shall we?
Lily also doesn't take a pacifier. We've tried three months in when I was increasingly weary of being her human dummy, but to no avail. She simply doesn't like it (and we've tried various types). One part of me, the not-completely-knackered part, is happy she doesn't take it because it means we don't have to wean her off; however, my dominant completely-knackered part just wishes I could pop the pacifier in and she'd be sound asleep - as if!
There even was a point where I thought I could record my humming and just play it in a loop so she'd be tricked into believing I was still there, but then again, I don't think she's so stupid, and so I'd also have to fill a massive bag with rice, make it smell like me, add something that resembles breathing and occasionally caresses her head - and I think we all agree that would take it a bit far.
I feel like sleeping is a huge issue, regardless what you do. Whether you "sleep-train" them (against which I am clearly opposed, you can read about our sleep habits here), have them in bed with you, carry them around, or insist they sleep in their own bed during the day - sleep seems to be something to deal with for every family. So, in the end, I am glad she sleeps with us because she's at least cosy and falls asleep knowing she is loved.
Yesterday I was a little annoyed because I had to be in bed with her so long, then she threw up above all and I put her in the baby balcony to change the bedding and left her there for a while. Eventually, so tired and alone, she started wailing like she hardly ever does - a heart-breaking, angry and desperate screech which makes her head go red like a tomato. It took me twenty minutes of non-stop rocking and hugging to calm her down (serves me right) and eventually she clocked off on my shoulder, completely wet from the tears and sweat (I kind of have to cry just writing this).
In this moment, it became crystal-clear that I could never sleep-train and am glad she's with us for the night. How anyone could listen to such desperate wails and NOT take their child up is beyond my comprehension. I deem it to be cruel and demeaning - and utterly detached from natural motherly feelings. So, even if it sometimes frustrates me and I am warming towards the idea of some sleeping aids for the day naps, there is no other way for me than cuddling and rocking my baby to sleep.
And I am sure there will come the days when I will cry after the time she only fell asleep snuggled up with me - but this short cry of desperation still had to be, I hope you understand :-)