I cuddle my children to sleep. I hold them until they fall asleep and then I give them a kiss and put them gently into bed. And as long as they want me to I’m going to carry on doing it.
When Toby was a baby I read all the books, all the advice, about how you should put your baby in bed in that elusive ‘sleepy but awake’ state. As it turned out from a few months old I could put Toby into bed wide awake, say ‘sleepy time now Toby’, shut the door and leave him to happily go to sleep by himself.
Somewhere along the line though that changed. He would happily go in his cot but start screaming as soon as we tried to leave the room. It was about the same time that he started refusing to let his daddy put him to bed and so I always had to do it. I lost count of the number of hours I spent, heavily pregnant, sat on his bedroom floor, slowly inching towards the door as he fell asleep before I could eventually make it out of the room. In that stage no amount of cuddling seemed to help – he wouldn’t fall asleep on me but wouldn’t fall asleep without me there either. This happened in the middle of the night too and I spent quite a lot of time sleeping on his bedroom floor too.
And then when Toby was two we decided that his nap had to go. About the same time he also stopped having a bottle at bedtime. And without a nap he would get ready for bed, sit on my knee and quite often before I had even got to the end of Somewhere over the Rainbow (my bedtime song of choice) he would be fast asleep. When he was two and a half he moved from his cot to a bed and for some reason I decided I should be putting in him bed awake rather than cuddling him to sleep but after a couple of nights when we were back to the sitting on the bedroom floor until he fell asleep routine I suddenly thought ‘why I am doing this?’ Toby is happiest falling asleep on my lap, it makes absolutely no difference to whether or not he will wake up in the night or not, so why am I putting us both through this? Just because that’s what the ‘experts’ tell me I should be doing.
So now we’re back to our bedtime cuddles. Usually I do it but Toby is happy for his daddy to put him to bed these days too. And I will keep on cuddling Toby to sleep for as long as he wants me too but I fear our days are numbered. Some nights Toby decides he wants to get in bed to fall asleep, although for now he still wants one of us to sit in the chair until he does. I guess those nights will become more frequent and one day he won’t want bedtime cuddles at all.
But I’ll still have Gabe. I can count on one hand the number of times he’s been put in bed awake and gone to sleep by himself. In the very early days he would fall asleep after feeding and I couldn’t put him down straight away because he was very likely to be sick. We moved onto bottles and he would still often fall asleep while feeding or straight after but would need to be held for a while before he could safely be put down. And now, we have to wait until he’s fast asleep before trying the tricky manoeuvre of getting him in bed, on his tummy, without him waking up. Because if he does wake up then you usually have to pick him up and settle him all over again. It’s not always ideal but I know it won’t last forever.
One day neither of my boys will want me to cuddle them to sleep so no one is going to make me stop until they decide they’re ready to go to sleep by themselves.
Do you cuddle your children to sleep or do they go to sleep by themselves? I’d love to know if my experience is similar to other people’s. Also, you should consider getting the best baby mattress for your child. There a good chance that it can help them fall asleep and stay asleep longer.