I know that many people say that if you start rocking your baby to sleep he/she is going to need you to rock them always to sleep. This is true. If you start a pattern your child is going to expect that and want that as part of their routine. When my son was about 5 months old he was a little harder to put down to sleep. We were still swaddling him, but he just wanted that extra comfort before bed. Over the course of about 9 months we rocked him to sleep every nap and every night and even some nights when he woke up. There were nights when we would rock him and think he was asleep only to put him down and have him pop right back up. Those were the hardest times. I remember rocking in the glider for hours crying hoping that he would be asleep when I put him down.
So why would I do it all over again with my daughter? I believe that babies, children need their parents. I knew that he wouldn’t go to kindergarten wanting me to rock him to sleep, and I tried to keep in my mind those nights that one day I will miss rocking him to sleep. Well that day has come and gone. At about 15 months old he decided that he didn’t need us to rock him to sleep, that a book and hand holding was just fine for him. That routine only lasted about 3 months, because he wanted to be in a big boy bed. We followed his lead and lay down with him to read him a book and say prayers.
Now at almost 21 months on some nights he even kisses and hugs us good night and proceeds to tell us “Night”. He is telling us that he doesn’t want us to lay with him, that he can go to sleep on his own. I remember that first night he did that, I was crushed! I wasn’t ready for him not to “need” me in that way, but I realized that he will always need me in some way, just not that one. Even today, there are some nights where he wants me to lay next to him until he falls asleep. On those nights I know to cherish them. I am glad that my daughter is getting to the age where she loves us to rock her to sleep. Is it time-consuming? Yes. It isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but I try to enjoy it while I still have my babies.
Ashley- Sept 2012