Baby sleep is different for every single family. Whilst a few families may indeed find that ‘drowsy but awake’ works for their baby, that’s simply a function of their temperament, not of the parent’s skill nor of their baby being ‘better at sleeping’. Some babies need to be rocked to sleep, some need to be nursed to sleep, some need to be worn to sleep, some need to be walked to sleep, some need to be laid down drowsy but awake. And there are plenty of other options, too. Sure, one may be more convenient than the others for our busy, busy lives, but that doesn’t mean it’s superior. In fact, considering the fact that infant development benefits from physical contact, nursing and movement, it would be easier to argue that soothing to sleep is actually the superior option (I’m not here to argue that, though).
What we really should be aiming for is to find a strategy that works for our unique little babies and for us, that helps them fall asleep happily, feeling secure, loved and respected.
Because in the long term, it’s not our convenience that will set them in good stead, it’s not cookie-cutter perfection and it’s not meeting up to the unrealistic expectations of society. It’s the fact that they’ve built a happy, healthy relationship with sleep, whilst feeling seen, heard and loved for who they actually are.
Hayley Bukhamsin is founder of The Gentle Mama (Instagram, Facebook), and creator of Happy Healthy Sleep, the online baby sleep course with no sleep training. She is a certified Infant Sleep Educator, specialising in supporting parents to achieve healthier and happier sleep, balance for the whole family, and confidence in their instincts. Her primary motivation is to empower parents to cut through the clutter of confusing advice in order to listen to their own intuition and their babies’ communications.
Whilst Hayley‘s clients come from all over the world, she currently lives with her husband and two daughters in Dubai, UAE. It wasn‘t until the birth of her first daughter that she discovered her true passions: attachment parenting, gentle parenting and, above all, healthy infant sleep.
For the last 6 years, Hayley has pursued this passion actively, building an attachment parenting community within the UAE, blogging about her parenting experiences, founding The Gentle Mama, creating Happy Healthy Sleep eCourse and writing for national and international titles including The Natural Parent Magazine.