“Don’t let them sleep with you.”

“You will create bad habits.”

“Don’t give in to their cries.”

“Stay strong.”

That’s what the experts say. The experts know what they are talking about. Oh yes, they know. I know they know because I have had 21 very sleepless months.

I didn’t listen to those experts.

I couldn’t because of eating issues, but I also mostly chose not to sleep train. Here I am. 21 months later. Still tired. Still not sleeping. Because I didn’t listen. I created bad habits. I gave in to my baby’s wants. And I guess, I did not stay strong.

Yet still.

You know what I don’t regret?

I don’t regret my baby sleeping on me while I rocked her in the rocking chair, cuddling her close and soaking in her smell, for hours at a time.

I don’t regret bringing her to peacefully sleep beside me, watching her tiny body rise up and down with each breath.

I don’t regret nursing her to sleep every single time and one last time.

I don’t regret giving her that bottle and holding her close while she fell asleep sucking. I don’t even regret still having to do that now at 22-months-old because she would rather Mommy hold her close than do it on her own.

You know what I miss?

I miss her falling asleep easily in my arms wherever we were. I miss her needing me to cuddle her to sleep.

It was all exhausting (and still is many days) but it was all so worth it. I see it now especially, as she slowly starts to need those cuddles less and less. I see it as I finally begin sleep training her simply because both of us are finally ready to try. (Yes, at 21-months-old.)

So yes, experts. I know you are right. You guys are dang good at your jobs. But I’m not really that sorry I didn’t listen. In my view, the lack of sleep was worth all the extra time I got to hold my little baby as close as could be. 

Credit: A Beautiful Alarm

Esther Vandersluis

Esther is a Canadian writing from Hamilton, Ontario, living in a sea of pink as a girl mom to three. Find her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/beautifulalarm) where you will find writing for stay-at-home moms, moms with littles, sleep-deprived moms, moms feeding babies, and babies with failure to thrive, all under the umbrella of faith in Jesus Christ.