Yes it is an art! But thankfully, it’s not something that can’t be learnt. When Vevina was born, she used to sleep all the time. I thought alright this is easy! It was so cute. She used to sleep in the middle of a feed and we had to rub her feet or ears to try to get her to complete a stomachful.
But then she grew up a little and realized sleep is a waste of time! So then came in the sleep-expert My Mom or her Ammama. She sang songs, rocked her, carried her, and swung her. She did everything and anything that could lull her into a slumber. Finally they settled into a pattern. First there would be some nursery rhymes, then swinging in the arms lightly and gently shushing her. Then came the toughest part. Putting her in the crib!
Sometimes even after half an hour of holding her, when ammama put her down, she would open her eyes wide and give a cherubic victory smile! Aaah! At such times patience is a virtue! I would nearly breakdown but mom would just smile and pick her up again for the same drill.
As time passed, I started to mimic mom and sometimes even succeeded. But most of the times gave up teary eyed and frustrated.
To get her to know the difference between day and night, we always made her nap in bright natural light and never muted any noises around. In the night, we made sure that the bedroom had no noise at all and only a soothing night light was on. She, from 6 months on, only got up once night for a feeding and would go down immediately.
At 12 months, since I have been practicing and well now no-one else can get her to sleep! I was proud of my achievement.
Well, mostly it’s thanks to the strict timings I try to maintain for her sleeps. So she kind of knows what’s coming when I start the sleep routine. Makes it whole load easier. She is down to sleep in about 10-20 minutes even on a bad day! She still sleeps at 1 in the afternoon and 8 in the night. I schedule everything around her naptimes as far as possible.
So much into her system are these sleeping timings that she slept through the engagement and henna ceremonies of her Aunt (though didn’t miss the main parts!)
The art was being practiced by her baba (father) as well. And when (very rarely :P) He managed to get her to sleep, his smile is so wide and proud that it looks like he achieved a 10/10 on a game review rather than getting his girl to sleep!
Then came lots of concerns from all round that I was wrong on my part to rock her to sleep still. She will never learn to sleep on her own, the Wiseman said. I still persisted the rocking till she was about a year and a half old. I started with rocking and then when she was half-asleep I would put her into her own cot. I would hold her hand till she fell asleep.
Her cot was next to ours and so she would jump in the middle of the night, whenever her sleep was disturbed and sleep in the middle. I let her do it, mostly because who doesn’t like a baby cuddled next to you. But then I gradually put her back in her bed after she slept again. After one month of doing so, now she sleeps throughout the night in her own cot and if she wakes up, all she needs is a little reassurance that someone is there around her.
I am in no hurry to move her out of our bedroom into her own room. I think that has one more year to go. She naps in her own room and has no problems doing so. So I am sure the transition won’t be so hard.
All I have learnt is routine is a mother’s best friend. Babies hate surprises unlike the adults. That is true for sleep patterns too. A baby with less sleep is a cranky baby to handle.
Aah! A sleeping baby is so adorable! While she sleeps as I write, I am all love for her! Her eyes are moving and I see a small smile. I wonder what she dreams of. As much adorable she is, I hope she doesn’t wake up for another hour! 😛 Fingers crossed!
There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
An erstwhile Quality Analyst, Sirisha Achanta, is now a full time mommy to an adorable 2 year old girl and a part time writer. 🙂 She loves to dance, dream and read a lot!