Honest mum · sleep

I need to cuddle my toddler to sleep

Lay her down in her bed and leave the room. She will cry. But, if she’s been fed, she’s dry and warm then she’s fine. Turn the monitor off if you have to, she’ll give up and go to sleep eventually. This is the advice I have been given countless times throughout the 13 months of Edie’s life, the earliest being when she was 4 months old.

I’d consider myself a very gentle mum, completely lead by her and her ever changing wants and needs, so of course I took this advice and thought in my head they can shove it! I appreciate that I’m very lucky! Unless there is a problem like teething, Edie is a great and consistent, 12 hour sleeper (sorry guys!) She self-weaned through the night at 9 months and can happily get herself to sleep most of the time. Other times, she makes it very clear that she is shocked and appalled at me walking out of her bedroom.

But actually, I’m not here to talk about Edie needing me to cuddle her to sleep, I know she can fall asleep on her own. She might shout and show her annoyance, but she can do it. Just like if she wakes in the night, she gets herself back to sleep easy peasy.

Me, however… I’m the one that needs to cuddle her to sleep. Since my maternity leave ended, I’ve had a serious case of mum guilt. Even though she’s happy and waves me off as I go, it breaks my heart leaving her. So when it comes to bed time… I don’t want to leave her. I want to soak her in and stare at her. She’s such a busy little kiddo these days and always on the move, so those sweet moments when her head is nuzzled into my chest and her eyes get heavier and heavier, it’s just beautiful.

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I sit in our rocking chair, in the dark and the only sound is her breathing. I cuddle her tight and all of the stresses of the day, just melt away. Once she’s asleep… I just sit there, often for quite a while! When things are tough at work, I look forward to that time when it’s just us. She goes to sleep feeling cosy, loved and safe… I don’t understand how that could ever be seen as a negative thing? I say you can never spoil a child with too much love.

I’ve always stuck to the idea of doing things that I wouldn’t mind doing long term… would I still want to be standing and bouncing a 3 year old to sleep? Umm…No and neither would my back! So that was a comfort Edie never got used to. If she still wanted a mumma cuddle to relax her and help her to drift off to the land of nod when she’s 3, I wouldn’t hesitate!

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Mums are often given a really hard time because their baby isn’t doing what they’re “supposed” to be doing.
“Her baby won’t take a bottle,”  “he’s still fed to sleep,”  “she’s not in her own room yet!” The wonderful mum Giovanna Fletcher released a book “Happy Mum, Happy Baby” and that’s just it… you never hear “mum and baby love breastfeeding, so they don’t plan on stopping soon”, “we all love bed sharing, it makes us happy.” Instead, we’re lead to believe we’re doing something wrong by following our heart and doing what makes us and our baby happy.

So, remember this… You know your baby best. Not the doctor, not your friend who also has a child and definitely not google.

Just do you mumma, everything will always work out eventually. I know there will come a time when Edie won’t want me to cuddle her to sleep and it will sting! So until then, I’m going to enjoy every one I can get.

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9 thoughts on “I need to cuddle my toddler to sleep

  1. This is a sweet post. I still cuddle with my 4 year old as he falls asleep. I don’t mind at all. He is my 10th child, and I know that they grow so quickly. All of my older kids do not “need” me to cuddle with them as they fall asleep, so I know that I won’t be doing this with my youngest for much longer. But for now, he still needs me (wants me) to cuddle with him as he falls asleep. And I love it. Good for you, mama for just “doing you” — everyone has an opinion on what is “right” — but really, there is no “right” way except for what’s right for you and your child.

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  2. This is such a lovely post! It almost made me cry! I stay at home with my little ones, and don’t appreciate sometimes how hard it is for working mums when they have to leave their children. And reading this has made me think that because I do stay at home, I’m perhaps not drinking in the wonderful times as much as I should. They sometimes just become part of the day, and that’s not good!
    I breastfed, bed shared and followed what my babies needed from me, and thankfully not what my mother-in-law (!) and netmums advised, and like you, I’d always pass this sentiment onto mums. As you say, you can never spoil with love. x

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