I thought it would be a great post to write about how I settle my son to get him to sleep, especially at the moment with one of his ears still being infected. It is a challenge at the best of times, although I have heard of parents with the "perfect" babies, and then I have heard of these parents having the terrible sleeper when those of us are finally having the good sleeper.
I find it interesting as parents how there seems to be a group of parents who like to put a little bit more icing on the cake when it comes to how their children sleep. I know I have been a victim of this from time to time, as I did not want anyone to judge me as a mum with the way that my child sleeps. I, however learnt with my first child that it is best to share your experiences, and really does it matter how your child sleeps, is it really a reflection of you as a parent, and does it make them horrible little people just because they are not the "perfect" sleeper? The answer to this, is of course no!
With Taj I took a different approach to settling him to sleep. I went out and bought a bassinet that rocked, so I could leave him in his bed and rock him to sleep, without having to cuddle him to sleep. I then stopped rocking so he would not get used to the movement and before I knew it he was too big for the bassinet and he was upgraded to the cot. He was a baby that I could feed, put in his sleep bag, wrap him up (yes he still loved to be wrapped, and probably still would be today if I did not stop it a week ago), and then put him in his cot on his side and he would go to sleep with not much fuss. Then bring on the ear infections almost 3 months ago and he is a different sleeper and I have a whole different approach to settling him.
Well, I have tried everything, to buying him a dummy; yes I know some of you are probably wondering why I would do that when he is 15 months old and he has never had a dummy before. But, when you see your child in pain when they have to lay down, and all they are doing is sucking on their sleep bag to go to sleep, you too would try anything to make them comfortable. Also I bought the dummy due to him ruining 2 sleep bags from sucking on them and me trying to introduce another means of him settling himself. He never took to the dummy, although I only tried once and from that one try I found it was not going to help him; he was more interested in sucking the handle!
I also bought him two new sleep bags, bonds bags, which do not have the zip down the front to stop him from breaking anymore zips from sucking on them. I made the wrong choice as he liked the zip and I had just taken away his way of settling himself to sleep. The bonds sleep bags are now being used by Keely for her babies! Taj also received his first doll this week (I love boys to have dolls too and trust me with an older sister there is no escaping a boys fascination with a doll).... Taj loves pointing and naming all the parts to his own face and now he does it to his new doll.
It was not long into my experimenting with new settling techniques that I rushed out to buy Taj a new grobag, which have changed since I bought them for my daughter, the zips are a lot stronger and the price is a lot stronger too! Taj now has his settling tool back, along with lots of cuddles with mum and he is enjoying falling asleep on my chest, while sucking his sleep bag of course! From having his latest ear infection, with one ear still infected we have gone from self settling with his sleep bag firmly in his mouth, to sleeping upright on my chest.
He is happy, so I am happy and speaking from experience with my daughter they grow out of needing you, and I am going to cherish this time for as long as he needs it. He won't be doing it when he is 21 and if he is anything like his sister, he will stop needing cuddles or in my daughter's case holding my hand, by the time he is two and a half. They change so much with their personalities, with every milestone and with their sleeping. If it is not an ear infection, it is a new tooth, or night terrors, a cold, growing pains or bed wetting. A number of things can wake your baby or child and I guess from being a parent I have learnt to go with the flow, they won't wake forever and those cuddles they give you are something to hold on to!