In the midst of all the commotion and the beautiful chaos during the vacation, the twins started sleeping on their own. Hurrayyy!
When all my five were still babies, they used to either sleep directly after being breast fed, or by the usage of a pacifier. Some of my babies used to doze off by pushing the stroller. Each one of them had their own preference, and I usually followed what made them comfortable and secure. Dahlia for example, would want me to sit next to her as she would coo or hymn until she became tired and sleepy.
Like all first babies, my first son used to sleep in a very quiet surrounding and we used get annoyed if there was any noise. Reaching number five, we are at a stage where we might even turn on the light as they sleep and they would not even feel it!
With my five kiddos my mothering instincts grew and matured. I became more aware of their needs and understood their attachment to me. For me it was a simple understanding I had with my children; if they need me, I am available both physically and emotionally. I realized that they will not sleep with me for a very long time, so why not take advantage of those cherishing moments as long as they last.
One of the main successful methods for babies to sleep well is establishing a fixed routine. Otherwise, things get complicated and babies get horribly tired. Some parents are lucky enough to have their babies sleep throughout the night. On the other hand, not all babies do, and many parents get drenched by the time their little ones are settled into a fixed routine. However I have some good news for you dear mamas. Recent studies show that babies who do wake up a lot are highly associated with higher levels of intelligence and better mental health’ (Fleming professor of infant and developmental psychology, Buzzfeed.com)
I also learned, through my experience, that it takes some time for them to really understand and learn to sleep alone. However, I did not force it on any of them by applying “sleep training” or “controlled crying” methods. A 2011 study showed that those approaches increase the level of stress in the babies even if they eventually learn to stop crying. It did take a lot of energy and time from me and my husband, but in the end we succeeded in having them sleep on their own.(http://www.earlyhumandevelopment.com/article/S0378-3782(11)00270-2/abstract)
Just two days after we came back from our trip to Lebanon, I was busy with the other boys tending to their scholastic duties. The twins were tired and I could not be present with them to follow in their habitual sleeping routines. So I gently put each one of them in their beds, saying, ‘Mommy is busy, and you need to sleep alone.’ I came back after five minutes to check on them to find both soundly asleep. Hurray again!
Even better, last night, Raphy held my hand and took me to his bed so I can tuck him in. Now that is even a bigger success! The cherry on top is that they both stopped waking up at night after mastering the skill of sleeping independently.
As a new mother, it is natural to try different techniques and means, especially if you are having a hard time with sleeping. But like all parenting issues, the main fruitful key is having true patience, or applying what we learn with serenity.
There are many handy tips that moms can surf on the net. At first babies spend most of their days sleeping; as they grow naps should be reduced. For example, once the baby is around 16 months old one nap per day is sufficient, and it is always better to have it done before 4:00 pm. Otherwise, the baby will not be able to sleep early at night. In addition, if the baby fails to sleep at that time it is OK to have her/him nap for ten minutes and wake them up.
As per Fleming, many years ago and in many African countries nowadays babies spend most of their times carried around their mommy’s waist. Babies crave personal contact and feel stressed if they do not get it. The whole idea of having the babies sleep all night in their own cots is a recent 20th century idea. This also explains why the rate of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) has increased.
In our modern lives we want everything to be perfectly organised, but the reality of parenting proves otherwise. If we grab that amazing chance of being parents where we could comprehend and appreciate their needs, we would relish those moments. I came to the conclusion that things get settled at their own time. For some it might take less than others, it is OK if yours need more time. Just go with their flow and enjoy them!