Our sleeping journey, mommy and Khaleeli - Part 1
My bambam :*
A few posts ago, I have mentioned about how Khaleeli is not yet sleeping very well through the night.
The same case happened with Bella when she was around the same age, up to the point that I had to invest in a sleep training book to help us sleep better.
The difference between my 2 little munchkins is that the brother is more clingy compared to the sister. He cries a lot more, and he is more persistent. So, I have some reservations when it comes to sleep training him using the same method we used on Bella.
Before I gave birth to Khaleeli, I was planning to not make him get too attached to nursing when it comes to falling asleep. Learning from my previous experience, I was confident that I could make it happen.
Alas, everything went down the drain. Next thing I know, I realized that he was already too attached to it. I thought that I did all I could to not let him fall into this attachment, but apparently I failed.
One day, I bumped into Sarah Ong from Sleep Champ Baby. After a short chat I realized, hey, this is exactly the person that I need to talk to resolve my problems with my baby’s sleep. After our first encounter, we set another date and time and I met her for a 90 minutes personal consultation.
I was excited and curious to know about her method, and she also told me that it does not involve letting baby cry it all out alone.
Any mom would welcome that (we all know how heartbreaking it is to leave baby to cry right?)
I am glad that I agreed for the consultation. It was some kind of a revelation! Haha.
Since every mother and baby's circumstances are different, Sarah asked me to fill in a set of questionnaires for her to understand our history and situation, before the consultation. Her advices was then tailored to our needs.
So Sarah's concept revolves around Aware Parenting, a parenting style that I would personally define as "natural" or "fitrah". It involves the parent to participate and listen to the emotional needs of the baby - specifically in crying.
Parents are encouraged to be there and support them as they go through the process of "embracing" the emotion, rather than trying to teach baby to numb their feelings (most of the time by offering a distraction - in my case, by nursing).
In the context of sleeping, the essence is that baby needs to be relaxed and free from resentment and pent-up feelings (from bad early days memories/stress or from daily issues) in order for him to unwind and sleep peacefully. Certainly there will be some form of crying for the first few times, but the difference is in the way we handle it.
Made a lot of sense to me. Even adults have problem sleeping when we are too engrossed with daily problems or resentments right?
So, the night after the consultation I decided to just give it a try. I was not very hopeful though, and I tried not to take it too hard on Khaleeli or myself.
After our usual bedtime routine, I nursed Khaleeli and started talking to him about the sleeping plan. Said that he should not sleep on the breast tonight, that we should try to help him sleep on his own. Said that I would be there to with him, like "OK takpe, adik tidur k, Mommy cuddle adik and teman adik tidur".
To my surprise, he let me unlatch him, and then he started to drift to sleep after fussing for some time. He fell asleep not long after.
Well, of course he woke up again after 2 hours. I tried not to nurse him immediately, instead I set a limit to myself of how long to let him ease off by crying. He cried. A lot.
I took turns with hubby.
After half an hour - we stopped and I nursed him again (the crying was reduced to a whining, and less intense). Said to him that it is OK, I'll nurse you now. "Adik minum dulu k, nanti cuba tidur lagi".
I unlatched him when he was about to sleep, and I just let him drift-off.
He slept a bit better after that..I think he went on for 3-4 hours and woke up around 4 am. Was too tired to let him cry and all, so I just nursed him back to sleep.
The second night, I tried again.
The crying was lesser! He still cried, but he let me in with cuddles and hugs, then he fell asleep on his own.
He slept for a good 3 hours, awaken, nursed, and then I unlatched and let him fall asleep on his own again.
This time he went on and slept for a good 4 hours!
He woke up and asked to nurse again, so I did, and then he wanted to play. Adoi.
Thankfully hubby volunteered to supervise and then he fell asleep with the father.
So here we are, on night 3.
Just now, I did the same thing too. A lot less of crying, and he seems more comfortable to let himself unwind and fall to sleep.
I definitely see improvements. They are small, but nevertheless significant.
I think I am loving this idea. And the best thing is, it is OK for me to take it easy. It means that it is OK if I decide to stop and just let him nurse, and it is OK if we want to just stop and try again next time.
Compared to the previous method, this one is more "natural", like I mentioned before.
Let's see how he sleeps tonight. I will be writing again in Part 2, hopefully, with more improvements :)
Footnote : As parents, we all deserve a good sleep. I don’t know why if people say that I am selfish for wanting it so much, but I know that I am a darn better mom when I get my sleep.
As for the kids, they need it as much as we need it too. Who would like it if they could not sleep and unwind at night? Even babies know that they need it.
So this whole sleep thing is actually essential for the whole family to function well. It’s a biological need, as simple as that :)