Let’s picture this…. as a parent subscribing to either respectful parenting or attachment parenting values you’ve been trying hard to coax your little one to sleep all this time in the most gentle way possible….next thing you know you’re rocking, bouncing, coaxing your 20kg toddler to go to sleep and you start thinking maybe he is hungry….maybe he wants to feed….but you’re resentful to him, to your husband…
However, all this rocking and bouncing worked previously so why isn’t it working now? How do i even start?
First of all, we need to understand that over eating as an adult is not healthy, right? So over eating as a toddler and milk feeding 24/7 without a break doesn’t give their digestive system the rest that is good for them either!
How can we marry the two together? To be the gentle parent we wished to become? Be respectful to developmentally appropriate boundaries but at the same time help your little one through sleep training?
Here are some ways:
- Ensure full feeds are happening in the day
- If your little one is a baby and is only having milk, ensuring good full feeds are happening during the day will ensure that they are being well fed and not requiring as much or any feeds at night (depending little one’s age and growth of course!)
- If your little one is a toddler or pre-schooler, it is safe to say that they don’t need the night feeds at night! (do check with your paediatrician though) Ensure they have great nutritious meals throughout the day and supplement it with milk if you wish during meal times.
- Practise and implement a healthy routine throughout the day
- Our babies can’t tell time yet so it’s up to us to guide their natural body clock to be more in line with the normal circadian rhythm of day and night
- Having a routine will allow your babies to have a clear expectation of is happening next and will feel safe, secure and nurtured in knowing that mum/dad knows best and is in control!
- Start introducing developmentally appropriate boundaries day and night
- Most of the time we worry about night sleep because that’s when we as parents wind down and are tired too! However, it is just as important to give our little ones healthy, age-appropriate boundaries even during the day just so that they know that we as parents and care givers are in control and they can sit back, relax and be kids! This way, they are less likely to dig into their need for control and allow us to steer the ship confidently and calmly during the day AND night!
So in conclusion, attachment or even respectful parenting doesn’t mean we give in to our little one’s every cry or whim but we step back, assess and determine what are healthy boundaries we want to set for our little ones and in no time we will be getting our peaceful household and nights back!