Sleep: the disclaimer. (post one of three)


I am not an expert on baby sleep. On your baby’s sleep, anyway. Hell, I’m only an expert on my own babies’ sleep most of the time; I’m not batting 100%. I just wanted to get that out there, lest you think I am all hopped up on myself. I’m writing about sleep because a few people have asked me to, and I’m writing as I watch my two bubsies cough and sneeze their way through naptime.

I guess I am specifically writing about ‘baby led sleep.’ This is in contrast to ‘parent led sleep’, where the goal is to make a baby fit in with an adult’s schedule, usually long before that baby may be developmentally ready to do so. I’m not judging you if you’ve got your kid on a routine – heck, mine are both on a routine now, but it is one that developed over a long period of time and was baby led all the way.

When we brought the babies home from the hospital, it was never in our minds to let them cry. I think whatever your views on babies and sleep are, most people agree that newborns need to be attended to whatever time of day or night it may be. The thing is, TMD and myself believe this extends beyond the newborn period.

During the day, a baby might cry because it is hungry, windy, hurting, etc. I don’t think that just because the clock ticks over to 7 pm that suddenly those cries are just whining, begging to be spoiled, or without reason. We made the decision to not let either baby cry – and while there were times when they were younger that I was sorely tempted to change my mind, those were usually occasions where I was trying to force my own agenda on Snort and Coconut.

In reality, it is easier on me – and them – to meet their needs. Even at midnight. Or four am. (Though TMD will write about the whole 4 am business!)

Every stage of the way, I have let the babies determine their sleep. This is in line with our feeding philosophies. We have trusted the babies, and by choosing to trust them, it has made our household a (mostly) peaceful, contented, good eater & sleeper house.

In terms of going down easily for a nap or bedtime – sure, my babies do that now. But we do think  that every child is different, and everyone will be developmentally ready to hit different stages at different ages.

This means that over the course of their lives, they have slept in arms, in slings, in cots, on the couch, in prams, in bouncers, in the family bed.  A lot has been trial and error. I have responded and adapted in line with their own developing and changing needs, and it has served me – and most importantly, them – well.

I know some people might think, ‘Yeah, but I’ve got a life.’ They want their kids eating and sleeping on a schedule, and I can understand that longing. I felt it myself before.

All I can say is that I have chosen to follow their own rhythms through the days. My babies turn sixteen months tomorrow, and we have been on an excellent routine for months now. Things are predictable, they make sense, they work for all of us. My babies are flexible as well, so if something is wonky it’s usually quickly resolved by the babies getting back into their natural rhythms.

Our typical day is:

playgroup/storytime/playing at home – snack included!
big ol’ nap
playing/etc – snack included
bedtime routine (TMD’s post will cover this)

On a normal day, these things tend to happen at the exact same time every day. This was not planned, it’s just the way things work out, especially once you have mealtimes as a sort of framework.

I know you didn’t ask about our whole daytime routine, so in the next posts on this topic (not promising they will be the NEXT posts in the blog, in you get what I mean!) I’ll talk about how we managed to have a household where we have survived having two babies sleeping with gusto – no crying needed.


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