I'm starting to understand that, as a mom, you have to celebrate victories no matter how small they may seem. You never know if the rest of your day will be tough or fantastic when it comes to the unpredictability of your child, so celebrate those little moments of happiness and triumph while you can!
I've made no secret of the struggles I've had with Baby Knives, especially over the past two months. Part of that is because it helps me to write about it, it's part of how I've always processed good news, bad news and my internal feelings. The other part is that I want other moms to know that its ok to not love every aspect of being a parent 100% of the time. But most importantly that its ok to talk about it and to ask for help!
The hardest part of being a first time parent, for me, is not knowing if what I'm doing is what's best for Baby Knives. Beyond the basics of knowing she's fed and clothed and getting (some) sleep, it's so hard to know if what I'm trying to do is working and is in her best interest. Especially when it comes to sleep! There is so much advice out there, so many books and opinions...it's a lot of trial and error. But after talking to my mom, some of my close friends, my mother-in-law, my sister and my fantastic sisters-in-law (all of whom have been here before!), the most important thing that came across is to trust your instincts.
Sleep training is all well and good, and yes - babies need to learn how to soothe themselves back to sleep - but trust your instincts. If the rigidity of checking on Baby Knives after she's been fussing for 5 minutes, then 15 minutes, then 30 minutes until she calms herself down and goes back to sleep isn't working or makes me upset, then I can check on her in different intervals! No one is grading me on how well I follow instructions. Listening to your baby and yourself and making a plan...but also being flexible to what she seems to need makes so much more sense to me.
So, armed with that sage wisdom, my husband and I came up with a plan for naptimes. We will try to keep her up for about an hour and a half (totally doable for her age), then at naptime we'll go ahead and give her a pacifier and rock her for 5-10 minutes before putting her in her crib to sleep. If she fusses, we'll check on her in 5 minutes and give her the pacifier back. If she still is fussing, we'll check on her in 15 minute intervals after that, staying in her room no longer than 30 seconds talking to her and soothing her but not picking her up.
Has it been difficult? Kind of...but nowhere near as hard as the past few months have been when I've been struggling to get her to sleep without a plan and just crying and feeling like I'm failing. I have a plan and she will learn how to sleep, we just have to stick with it. So far it seems to be working pretty well and last night she actually slept through the night for the first time! Her nighttime sleep has never been a problem, so that was just an added bonus.
And so, all that to say, I am celebrating a small victory today when it took less than 10 minutes for Baby Knives to soothe herself back to sleep after she woke up fussing from her nap! Wooohooo!