One cannot imagine the importance of sleep until he/she is deprived of it. First time parents know exactly what I’m saying here. The first six months following the birth of my daughter, I was totally sleep deprived and nothing seemed enjoyable anymore. I was so tired all the time. Everyday I secretly prayed for my baby to sleep at night so that we could both be happy and healthy. I continuously told myself one day she would just start to sleep by herself. I never heard about self-settling, never heard about sleep props, never heard about growth spurts and couldn’t even imagine of her being able to put herself to sleep.
Then we discovered Ngala (an organisation in Western Australia), which helps parents whose babies have sleep issues, among others. I learnt how sleep patterns vary according to baby’s age, about sleep schedules, sleep routines and the whole lot! I started to read extensively about ‘sleep’ and with some advice from a friend and the help of my husband, we managed to train our baby to self settle. Some research and organisations support using self-settling techniques, particularly after three to four months old, when baby has developed the circadian rhythm. On the other hand, there is also research that totally condemn it (Read about what Sarah Ockwell-Smith has to say). I believe it’s up to the parents to decide what works best for their baby as each baby is different. Some babies do not even need to be taught self-settling techniques, some take quite long to learn it and some would start to do it straight away.
Although she could self soothe, it took my baby almost 19 months to start to sleep through the night. I could only have a decent night sleep after 19 months following her birth! That may seem surreal to some while I’m certain that even after 19 months many babies (and parents) still wake up at night. It will definitely help parents to read about self-settling techniques, sleep props and growth spurts. There are numerous websites out there but I can suggest some I have used and which I still go back to.
The secret of Good Sleepers PDF from Ngala
Raising Children website
Baby Centre Australia website
To this date however I still wonder if I have done the right thing. Would you recommend using self-settling techniques?