The gift of sleep


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It’s been almost 7 years since I brought home my first newborn.  I was a typical first time mother back then, worse maybe.  I documented every single nap, feeding, poop and bath in a notebook specially designed for recording baby poops that cost me twice as much as a regular notebook and I recorded them for an entire YEAR!  I basically had no idea what I was doing and the things that I thought were SO important were not nearly as important as I thought they were.

One thing that has always been important to me is sleep.  I really enjoy it, and always have, not just since becoming a SAHM.  I knew that bringing a new person into my life meant that they were going to have to love sleep also because this relationship wasn’t going to work if they were constantly disturbing my sleep (my husband can vouch for this).

The good news is, my first child got the memo.  He was a great sleeper right from the beginning.  By 2 weeks he was sleeping 6 hours straight at night and by 6 months he was sleeping from 8 pm to 8 am and didn’t put up a fuss at bedtime.  But I also enforced a strict routine right from the start in order to make that happen.  Because, like I said, sleep is very important to me. 

By the time baby number 2 came along, I was convinced that I was a pro at this.  I jumped right into the routine and didn’t think twice about it.  But she was different.  She didn’t like sleep. She didn’t like the “routine.” And she definitely didn’t like being left alone at bedtime.  In fact, all she liked to do was cry.  So we had to make some adjustments and trying to figure out what worked for her was tiring and tough.  But since sleep was still so very important to me, I didn’t give up.  I didn’t give in.  I was battling some pretty heavy post-partum depression and when she was 6 months old we moved 9 hours away which was not easy on anyone.  So her “routine” didn’t start until she was closer to a year but eventually, she slept.  She still goes through phases of sleep walking, sleep talking, night terrors and she leads the board for the most bedtime excuses each night.  But… she sleeps.

Number three, thankfully, also loved sleep.  Her routine was much more relaxed.  Remember what I said about realizing what’s important?  By the third one, I did.  I cut out all the stuff that didn’t seem to make a difference and just stuck to the basics.  Out of all three children, she probably loves sleep the most.  She actually waves goodbye to me from her crib when I tuck her in at bedtime and it feels like a giant pat on the back.

So while the first time was strict, the second time was tough and the third time was relaxed, they’re all great sleepers now, despite their different personalities and preferences and dispositions.

I feel like I can take credit for that because it’s not about one magic method, it’s about a mentality – a positive mentality towards sleep and all things related… it’s not something to dread.

It’s why I felt so compelled to start my blog off with information on sleep training. Parenting is a world of unknowns and second guesses.  Of conflicting advice and regrets.  I can say with great confidence that I do not, nor will I ever, regret sleep training my children.  

Sleep is wonderful.  It has an amazing way of resetting your soul.  It’s so important.  It’s comfortable and cozy and refreshing.  There was no better gift I could have given to my children than the gift of a great night’s sleep.

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Author: Vanessa Rapisarda

Stay at home mother of three, aspiring writer & parenting blogger