Kim Hong from Fleishman Hillard sent me a Pampers Golden Sleep Kit recently. It contained:
- Golden Sleep Guide
- Fairy fabric conditioner
- Golden Sleep ‘Taggies’ sleep comforter
- Golden Sleep CD of lullabies
- £1 Pampers vouchers
If you want a chance to win a kit of your own, you can fill out a 5-minute survey. There is also an opportunity to go on board the Golden Sleep Train, which you’ll find at:
- Westfield Shopping Centre, London (this weekend)
- Trafford Shopping Centre, Manchester (Saturday and Sunday 16-17 August)
- Silverburn Shopping Centre, Glasgow (Saturday and Sunday 22-23 August).
So… this kit got me thinking about sleep issues and how we will help Eleanor to sleep. The booklet has a bunch of tips, most of which made me nod and say ‘Yes, that’s a good idea.’ and almost none of which we did with Rosemary. The one that got me in particular was:
Babies should be helped to learn how to fall asleep alone. If a baby can do this at at naps and bedtime, it will help them to go back to sleep after waking during the night (self-soothing).
Yeah. We didn’t do that. And, as we had been warned by most people, from health visitors, to grandparents, to friends, we had issues for a long time. Rosemary nursed to sleep almost exclusively. It took a concerted effort on Chris’ part to get her to go to sleep in the evening without mummy milk. Unless she fell asleep in her buggy, she pretty much never went down for a nap without it and gave up her afternoon nap at the same time as she stopped having milk. And she has only just started regularly sleeping through the night and still has some nights where she’ll wake a few times.
I didn’t really mind it for the first year, as I am of the opinion that there’s nothing wrong with comforting a baby, however they need it. I dislike people saying you’re spoiling a baby by letting her nap on you or people talking about using your nipples as dummies (ahem, it’s the other way round; the dummies are nipple substitutes). But after a year, it did get a bit annoying and also somewhat constricting – not really possible to go out for a drink with friends, for example, unless it was for about two hours before bedtime (which wasn’t until 10pm in those days).
So, the plan is to try to do better for Eleanor (and me – let’s face it) and help her learn to fall asleep herself, as well as accustoming her to sleeping among lots of noise (well, she’ll have to really, with a little sister as energetic as Rosemary).
But there’s a problem. The closer I get to holding her in my arms, the further removed I get from this plan and the closer I get to my needs and desires to provide comfort in whatever way she needs it, even if that means nursing to sleep. And, well, you know, nursing to sleep has some great benefits, especially in the middle of the night. You produce this great hormone that not only helps the baby go back to sleep, but also helps you get back to sleep. Fantastic. I didn’t really mind being woken up a couple of times a night when I knew I would be able to get back to sleep really easily. It’s really easy to comfort your baby by sticking a boob in her mouth. She was pretty fine with all her jabs, because the second it was over she had a breastfeed, and often went to sleep. Don’t know how she’ll cope with the next lot – chocolate probably. And I’m remembering how lovely it was to have her fall asleep on me, or next to me if we were having a lie-down feed. It was a beautiful feeling to be able to give her the peace of dropping off to sleep.
Hopefully Chris will be able to remind me about all the things I disliked to about nursing to sleep. I’m sure there were plenty.
So… what do you think? Train them up for self-soothing as early as possible? Nurse to sleep as much as possible?