Babies are designed to be dependent beings, they are meant to wake at night. In fact, waking to express their needs to us is a protective mechanism to make sure they are safe and that their needs are being met throughout the night – this is how we can be sure they are not overheating or that their nutritional needs are being met for example. Babies thrive off contact and connection; we shouldn’t be led to believe that we should be depriving them of this just so that they will sleep all night.
So how would you feel about your child’s sleep if you let go of all of the societal pressure and expectations that have been placed on parents?
Could you trust yourself to follow your instincts and support your baby or toddler in a way that feels right to you (the most important person in their world)?
In no way do we think that as a parent, you need permission from ANYONE on how to support your child with sleep in a way that feels right to you, but still, for those of you who need to hear it…. You have permission to nurse to sleep, bed share, hold, rock and respond to your child as much as your heart wants to.
Forget about the societal pressures, judgements and expectations. Follow your heart and do what feels right for you and your family. If what you are doing feels good in your heart, there is absolutely no reason to change a single thing. This is your own parenting journey. It is okay to keep the things you love, the things you enjoy and cherish.
You do not need to feel shame or hide what you are doing just because it isn’t what society tells you that you should be doing. You do not need to worry that something is wrong with your baby because they need support to sleep or are not yet sleeping through the night. It is important to tune what is developmentally normal and healthy instead.
Your success as a parent is in no way indicated by the sleeping patterns of your child, whether they line up with society’s expectations or not. We really need to stop using sleep as a marker for parental success.
Instead, we need to focus on meeting our children’s needs, building our connection with them to be stronger each day and letting go of external pressure.
If you are looking for a community that is working to move past societal norms and expectations to parent by following their instincts - join us in our Virtual Mama Group once a week. We have created a safe place for like-minded mamas to talk about sleep and other aspects of parenting that go beyond the current societal norms!
Originally published here.
Elli and Sarah are Certified Sleep & Well-Being Specialists who support families to get more sleep without the use of any sleep training through one-on-one support and self-paced, online courses. They believe in empowering parents to make decisions that feel right in their heart and work for their entire family. Learn more about Elli and Sarah on the My Connected Motherhood Facebook or Instagram accounts or at www.myconnectedmotherhood.com.