When it comes to what’s best for your baby, experts know best. No. Not you. You’re just the mum. Clearly you know nothing.
Viral: The Truth Of Co-Sleeping Vs Cry-It-Out
And when it comes to children and sleep, the experts like to remind us over and over again that co-sleeping is out.
One Aussie mum has dared to challenge the experts in an honest and heartwarming post about why co-sleeping isn’t always such a bad idea. Despite the countless studies and experts’ opinions on why children need to go through sleep training, Brisbane mum-of-three, Peta Tuck is calling bullsh*t.
Because sometimes a mother’s instinct wins. And sometimes these experts need to kindly step back and stop filling our already guilty-minds with their judgemental rubbish.
Sharing again because, well, it needs to be heard more often!
I saw a post tonight published by our main stream media.
A post, yet again dividing us as Mothers & Parents.
A post which I find hard to stomach.
It went a little something like this. “Research has shown that having a baby sleep with you will decrease their ability to self soothe. Increase tantrums & childhood obesity”
Umm, yep. Please shut up.
I find this extremely hard to believe, what research? Show me it? Show me the evidence? Show me the sample size & all the other variables to go with it.
It is in our DNA to be with our children. They cry for a reason, to communicate their needs. They don’t need to learn to self settle at 6 weeks, 6 months or 16 months.
When did having a baby sleep through the night become the defining thing for successful parenting?
I was one of those young impressionable first time Mothers who thought I knew it all. Who thought a baby sleeping through the night meant I was a great Mum, forgetting the tears we both shed to get there. I think the ‘self settling’ experience lasted only a few short months for us, I just couldn’t continue.
My baby girl was waking for a reason, she was communicating to me. So I FINALLY listened to my instincts & not everyone around me telling me what I should be doing.
I started bringing her into bed with us, it was the best decision ever.
I do though feel those few months of soul crushing self soothing caused many issues with the bonding between my daughter and I. It shatters me thinking about it.
The thing is, not only do I STRONGLY disagree with their click bait title and their reporting of infant sleeping….Mothers don’t want to hear this.
They don’t want to be judged for their decisions. They don’t want to be told that the choice they have made for their family is ‘wrong’ or not ‘mainstream’! The want to feel supported no matter their parenting style.
Self soothe, co sleep, formula fed or breast fed…I don’t care whatever your choice is, do it because you are informed, it fits your family’s needs and most importantly you are supported in those choices!
Remember, you are perfectly imperfect.
Mum takes on co-sleeping debate… and wins
Peta Tuck, a doula and mum to three children (aged five, three and two), has dared to go where many mums go, but usually don’t like to broadcast – into the beds with their children. Peta shares a photo co-sleeping photo with a very powerful message about why it’s okay to sometimes trust your instincts (and ignore the experts).
As Peta writes, “I saw a post tonight published by our mainstream media. A post, yet again dividing us as mothers and parents. It went a little something like this: ‘Research has shown that having a baby sleep with you will decrease their ability to self soothe [and] increase tantrums and childhood obesity.
“Umm, yep. Please shut up… It is in our DNA to be with our children. They cry for a reason, to communicate their needs. They don’t need to learn to self settle at 6 weeks, 6 months or 16 months. When did having a baby sleep through the night become the defining thing for successful parenting?”
On behalf of all mothers (co-sleeping or not), please shut up
“Self soothe, co sleep, formula fed or breast fed…I don’t care whatever your choice is, do it because you are informed, it fits your family’s needs and most importantly you are supported in those choices!,’ Peta writes. “Remember, you are perfectly imperfect.”
Her stirring words are hitting the mark with mamas everywhere. We highly doubt choosing to co-sleep will cause our kids to be fat later in life (unless they’re sharing the bed with a box of doughnuts). And we’re pretty sure choosing to co-sleep doesn’t make us bad mums either.
This is normal for our family. This is how our nights usually look, all our little minions filling the jigsaw puzzle of our bed.
This was actually taken a few weeks back after I had a blissful dinner with an awesome friend. I walked in the door, actually I broke in & jumped through the window because my husband didn’t dare move to wake the kids. 😂😂. Nonetheless my heart filled with so much love when I saw this.
See, we do this parenting thing our way. Not what the books tell us or the media or anyone else. We do what feels best for us & our kids!
Do we wish they would happily put themselves to bed with no fuss, yep, most nights at some point we do. Do we wish our bed could be just ours again, yep, sometimes.
But, we own our chaotic crazy family ways and rock it like no other…even when my husband curses because he can’t move under all the children laying on him whilst Mumma is out ❤️😂 Own your parenting choices because they are yours, no one else’s!
“Young babies are not biologically programmed to sleep through at a certain age. It’s based on individual development with many factors affecting it,” Peta tells Mum Central. But, somehow, along the parenting journey, sleep and successful parenting got put into the same category.
“When did a child sleeping through, waking 10 times, sleeping in [his or her] own bed or in the parents’ bed become such a defining parental moment?” Peta asks. “None of these situations means you are succeeding or not. They are simply your child’s sleeping habits.”
“It is in our DNA to be with our children”
Sleep training isn’t for everyone. The whole process of trying to teach bub to self settle, of standing in the hallway listening to the heart wrenching wails, of crying yourself to sleep as your baby does the same… it may be what the experts suggest… but it’s not the right decision for everyone.
Have you seen the article going around telling partner’s to take photos of Mums with their kids? I have, I was that Mum without any photos. So I enlisted hubby with the task.
This morning he sent me the pictures, he sent me two! Yep. Two. One was me playing with the kids whilst on my phone and the other was us all sleeping together. Yep. Now, had he forgotten to take some? Probably, yes. But, also, were these the only photo opportunities he got of me with the kids lately? Probably yes as well.
My heart really sank. Gosh that thought hit me HARD!
I have spent all day thinking about it. Thinking about why am I always busy, working, cooking or cleaning. Obviously because those jobs need to be done but why am I doing them instead of being present? Maybe that hands on Mum isn’t for me? Maybe I don’t really have my shit together and I am actually failing at this Mum / Life gig?
Then I thought of the kids, what must they think or feel? So I penned this letter to them. I am going to give it to them when they are old enough to understand.
My beautiful darling babies,
I love you and I am sorry.
It wasn’t for me. And it wasn’t for Peta. Peta admits that she did try the whole sleep training chapter with her daughter, but it wasn’t worth the stress or the tears. “I FINALLY listened to my instincts and not everyone around me telling me what I should be doing.
“For subsequent children we always co-sleep, cuddled, fed or rocked to sleep.” Peta tells Mum Central, “My youngest son has just turned two and does not have his own room or own bed. This choice to co-sleep has been one of the best decisions for us!”
Trust your instincts and your infant
Sure, co-sleeping works for some. But it doesn’t for others. And that’s perfectly okay.
“What works for one mum may not work for another and that goes for children too.” Peta said.
The thing is, mums don’t want to be told over and over again they are wrong. “They don’t want to be judged for their decisions. They want to feel supported no matter their parenting style.”
I have battled my whole life learning to accept me for all that I am, flaws and all. As a first time Mother that is when it became hardest for me.
Before I fell pregnant I was someone who had no care in the world, newly married, husband working away, I could eat, drink, sleep and pretty much do as I pleased. I was loud and crazy at times. I had fun. My husband and I would go on spontaneous adventures which usually involved an unhealthy consumption of alcohol and food. I saw my friends. I replied to text messages within minutes. I actually called my friends on the phone?! I know!!! Shock horror.
But when I became a Mum, that all haltered.
I would look at myself in the mirror and couldn’t recognise the person looking back at me.
Who was she?
It was hard enough getting passed the physically changes. The breastfeeding boobs, stretch marks, extra skin, tired eyes, lumps and bumps that weren’t there before. But what I struggled most to grapple with was the changes on the inside. I talk so openly about the positive transformation that occurs when you become a Mother, but during that, if you aren’t careful you will lose yourself.
I stopped being ‘Peta’ and became ‘Mum’. I went from a sassy queen to a leaky boob, feeding machine. I was tired mostly but also anxious I wasn’t doing things right for them.
It wasn’t until after the birth of my third child that all the pieces start fitting in my puzzle. I had truly experienced what it’s like to feel supported and secure through my pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I realised the haze I was once stuck in. I realised just how challenging it was for me with my husband working away. I was trying to be everything to everyone, but I was barely functioning let alone being the bubbly brilliant mess I once was.
It’s when I realised being a Mother isn’t all I have to be, it’s a part of me, yes…a pretty big damn part of me but it’s not all of me!
So, if you’re struggling with self-settling or going through the nightmare that sleep training can be (and secretly giving up and co-sleeping with your little ones), then take heart in knowing that you’re not failing by doing so.
It’s okay to give in to another cuddle. It’s okay to let your little one use you to help them soothe to sleep. And it’s more than okay to listen to your instincts over the experts. You’re the one who pushed the baby out. You get to decide what’s right.
For parents who do want to try co-sleeping, the Raising Children Network has some useful co-sleeping tips. They include:
If the sleep fairy keeps skipping your place, you might like to read our article about things to check when baby won’t sleep.