Baby Song To Go To Sleep
Describe How it Feels
To begin, think about how you feel as you are ready for him to sleep. You may feel confused, scared, angry, exhausted, or a hundred other emotions. Put a name to it. Tell your baby. Start your sentence with I feel. rather than I feel like…. So, I feel … tired and scared rather than I feel like … I could sleep standing up and I feel like … a failure. Some people find that when they finally say how they are feeling, they start to cry. It’s OK. Let it happen. Who’s to know? If you start to cry, your baby may j oin in too. Give him a hug.
Once you’ve identified your own emotions it may become easier to listen to your baby’s protest. Is it sad, angry, tired? Whatever it is acknowledge that that is how he feels and that you understand that this is a big, important feeling for him. You could say something like: You sound sad/cross/confused. It can be really hard to cope with big feelings like that. You may feel strong and capable when you can hear your baby’s sadness in this way. And he will be able to hear two important messages from the way that you say it: that it’s OK for him to feel like this and that you will support him while he copes.
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Explain the Deal
Next, try saying that it’s time for sleep and that you have confidence in his ability to go it alone. True, you may not feel particularly confident that he can do it when you start, but just as you encourage him to feel he can do things during the day, so do the same here. In the day time you encourage him because you know he will do it in the end and you want him to feel good about himself. Going to sleep is also something he will do in the end and feel good about.
Finally, tell him when you’re coming back. Be specific. He may not understand the difference between I’ll be back in a bit and I’ll be back in two minutes but you do and it will make you feel more in control when you say out loud exactly what you’re going to do. Your baby will pick up a lot of clues from the way that you talk. But if you don’t like the clock-watching approach, a good alternative is to say: I’ll be here when you need me. This is specific, because his needs define when you come and go, and you’ve already shown that you are tuned into his needs by listening to his cry. You are making a commitment to go on listening to him. Now start the behavioural routine you’ve chosen (see Chapter 11 for a range of options), coming and going as appropriate.
In this way you won’t be abandoning him, but loving and letting go: a subtle but powerful difference, which will allow you and your baby to move on in your relationship. You will have really listened to yourself and your baby, acknowledged what you are both feeling and been clear about what has to happen now. It won’t stop the crying immediately, but it may make you more able to deal with the tears. For more on listening to your baby cry, see Chapter 7.