You know that saying, “sleeping like a baby?” I’m pretty sure it’s suppose to mean “sleeping soundly” or “sleeping like a rock” or something like that. Well, as a mother of a baby, I believe the saying needs to be revised. It should be “sleeping like a newborn.”  From my experience, my sweet little baby has not “slept like a baby” since he was about 6 weeks old… and I’m beginning to realize that I may partially to blame. 

When Bo was 6 weeks old, we moved him out of our room and his little bassinet and into his own room and “big boy” crib. I knew we needed to begin to establish healthy sleep habits, hence my frantic reading of the book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Dr. Marc Weissbluth, which I would recommend. The book suggested that we pay close attention to Boden’s “drowsy signs” and put him down for naps straight away when we noticed he seemed tired. Then we were to only get him up when it was time to eat (not to change diapers, console, or play). It was a good plan and worked for a while… of course, somewhere along the way, I lost my resolve or my confidence in the plan and began getting Bo up before the end of his nap. When Bo cried midway through his nap, I would change his diaper and he would go right back to sleep. It was so easy. I knew it wasn’t Dr. Weissbluth’s method, but I rationalized that Bo would get more rest if he didn’t have to cry so long during his nap (of course, I never really admitted that this also saved me the agony of listening to his whimpers). So, we got off track and things just snowballed from there. 

Eventually we found ourselves in a very “unhealthy sleep habit.” Not only was Bo waking up from every nap with a wet diaper, but I also realized it was consistently happening 45 minutes into his nap (almost like clockwork). I found out from other moms (and another good book “Happiest Baby on the Block” by Harvey Karp) that this happens when babies transition from one sleep cycle to the next- from “light” sleep to “deep” sleep. Ugh, in my attempt to help Boden sleep better, I had unknowingly interrupted his transition time and taught him to depend on me to get into his deep sleep cycle! Of course, this was not really a problem for Bo, but I was getting exhausted! If I was to remain sane, and truly help Bo get the rest he needs, the habit couldn’t continue. 

Now we’re both paying the price. 

It’s been just 2 days now of “baby bootcamp” in which I have stopped consoling or changing diapers at 45 minutes into nap time and it’s so tough on both of us! Poor Bo has to be so confused as to why mommy has stopped responding to his cries, and I am heart-broken hearing him call out for me. Though I can (and so badly desire to) take away Bo’s discomfort in the blink of an eye, I force myself to stand by and let him work through it on his own. I am still here, still watching over him and would never allow him to be harmed (as my mother always reminds me, “a little wet diaper never hurt anyone”), but rather than give in to the short-term gain of his comfort, I am looking to the long-term benefits that outweigh his present suffering. 

I was journaling last night about all of this and, after putting the words to paper, realized that my thoughts/feelings were probably very similar to the way that our Heavenly Father feels as he allows us to struggle. He is the Almighty, capable of taking away our discomfort, pain, and sadness in the blink of an eye, yet sometimes He doesn’t. Sometimes He sits by and allows us to work through hard things on our way. Always attentive and protective, but not always coming to our aide in the way we want Him to. Though we are so caught up in our present suffering that we cry out and ask Him to take it away, He sees beyond our current circumstances and, knowing what is best for us in the long run, allows us to work through it. 

Even as I care for this sweet little baby, I realize that in many ways I am just like him. I too am like a baby in my faith and my Heavenly Father is teaching me healthy habits (Proverbs 3:12). 

So, whenever I find myself struggling, going through a little “baby bootcamp,” I am reminded that my Heavenly Father will never leave me nor forsake me (Joshua 1:4-6). He wants what is best for me in the long run and the future benefits far outweigh my present suffering (Romans 8:17-18).