I was talking to a new-mama friend of mine the other day and she was asking for some advice. I figured if she had this concern then you might too. She had finally reached a good sleep-through-the night routine with her 6 month old baby, and it’s been good for a while now. But lately she’s been waking up crying. And don’t we know this could be due to a slew of reasons… teething pain, mental leaps, growing pains, food sensitivity… goodness, it could be all of those things and maybe some we’ll never even know about!
Basically, the predicament was: I’m concerned that if I go in to comfort her she’ll get back in the habit of waking up in the middle of the night to nurse, and we were past this!
I get this so much. You were finally starting to believe that you would indeed sleep through the night again. In the newborn stages I remember wondering if I would ever sleep all the way through the night, if I would ever be able to function on full steam again. Then, over several months, things start to change, your baby starts to sleep longer at night, you get 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep and you wake up convinced you can conquer the entire world today! And then, that starts to become the norm! Can I get a woop woop!!?
THEN—— your beautiful, blissful, sleepy dreams come crashing down. Your baby is waking up not just once randomly, but nightly. What is going on?! So you get online and read up on it. You find out there are many potential reasons for your baby to be waking up now. You read something from this source that says to let them cry it out, you read something from that source that says to go in and comfort but not too much or the sleep routine will regress, your mom warns you not to go in… By this point, you don’t know which way is up or what is right.
The advice I gave my friend is purely opinion based, I told her not to be too fearful of spoiling your baby. This is my opinion, it’s not the “right” answer for everyone (no such thing as a right answer when it comes to parenting… it’s what’s right for you and your child). I did things with both of my boys that I was warned not to do because he will become too dependent on me. But I have discovered that babyhood is truly an ever changing, always progressing phase. Like a rainbow on a bubble- moving and flowing, the colors are changing but you can’t see exactly where. You can see it happening but at the same time you can’t.
Babies and children are out of each phase before we know it, and out of babyhood altogether in the blink of an eye. It is so important for me to be available to my children (baby or otherwise) to meet their physical and emotional needs; whatever stage they’re in. I mean, that is the definition of the baby-mother relationship, right? If a baby can’t cry and be comforted… who can?? I find it kind of comical that people warn against coddling your baby. Holding your child and being with him is a wonderful way to build a strong bond with him— let your little one know that you’re there for them, that they can count on you. There is a difference between loving and spoiling.
That being said, I of course, do believe there is a time for babies to learn to comfort themselves. You’ll learn and discover when these times are appropriate for your child— you will. But in the mean time, don’t be afraid of being your baby’s mommy. I don’t think you’ll look back and regret the quiet, sweet, sleepy times you chose to spend with your baby in the middle of the night, helping her through the pain or growth she’s going through. And I don’t think you’ll regret the times you chose to spend with her in the middle of the night that were not so sweet and sleepy; those times were loud and stressful and worrisome; but you know that’s when your sweet child needed you the most and you were there.
Embrace the phase, my friend, you’re doing an amazing job. ❤