Like many first time moms I fell into the trap of parenting Willow to sleep. And I procrastinated about putting a stop to it because I secretly enjoy that she needs me to sleep and love cuddling up to a warm bundle in the quiet hours (who wouldn’t right?).
Anyway I have now found myself in the unenviable position of having to correct my mistakes and teach Willow how to sleep on her own. She is almost a year old and I would rather not have sleep issues hanging around in the toddler years if it can be helped. So we have started a gentle form of sleep training.
Willow doesn’t nurse to sleep any more unless its a midnight feed and the frequency of those is finally starting to decrease! However, she does need to be bounced to sleep on the exercise ball. The ball was a godsend in the early days – the baby would fall asleep in a snap, difficult winds would come right out. I loved it and would still recommend first time moms get one.
But as she has gotten older (and bigger!) it has been more difficult to get her to sleep while using it. At first it was because of teething and then the sleep regression and now I just think she’s uncomfortable.
I finally figured out the other day (I blame sleep deprivation) that it has become a crutch for me and not her. It was a real light bulb moment let me tell you! I had never before considered that I may be the problem. I would sit and bounce for ages and desperately think ‘Why are you NOT sleeping!!!’ I would try other methods of getting her down and at the first sign of difficulty I would give up and revert to the ball.
Well, no more! The ball has been banned in this house. I have had it deflated to remove the temptation of using it and its been packed away. And guess what? For the past three nights I have put Willow down to sleep without it! Hear the angels sing!
Our sleep is by no means perfect, but I finally feel as though we are moving in the right direction! My subtle little changes are starting to take effect and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just hope its not a train!