The birth of my son was only the first of many obstacles that stood in the way of how I imagined parenthood. Instead of cuddling my baby, he was hooked up to an IV and pumped full of antibiotics. Instead of following the advice of every person in the world ("sleep when baby sleeps"), I simply didn't sleep. Because, neither did my baby.
See, he was colicky from the first day of his life. I remember those early nights in the hospital. In my sleep-deprived, anxious, and injured state, I listened to my newborn scream for hours at a time. When nurses visited the room, they picked him up and made soft, repetitive noises until he calmed down. He didn't know what it was like to not have a tummy ache. And so, my sweet little boy wanted to be held. He wanted to comforted.
Of course, we were willing and able to offer that comfort. As parents, you do anything for your babies. But soon enough, my husband and I were so exhausted we barely had any comfort left to give. That's when we started taking inventory of what exactly brought our tiny baby the comfort he craved:
· Being held
· Having a full tummy
· Gentle, repetitive noises
That's when we realized that one of the techniques we'd been using to comfort our son could be done by a machine. We didn't have to hold him, feed him, bounce him, AND make shushing noises at the same time. Instead, we set a sound machine up in his room. The machine projected numerous sleep sounds, including a heartbeat and rainforest, but we relied upon the sound of the ocean to soothe him.
Before we knew it, our little baby was sleeping longer and - more importantly - peacefully. The baby sleep sounds his machine emitted were enough to bring him comfort and help him relax, which in turn allowed his tired parents a few much-needed hours of shut eye as well!
In fact, we even purchased a portable machine to play sleep sounds in the car, when visiting family, and on vacation. It was a lifesaver! And really, it seemed like such an obvious trick. Babies are used to the muffled sounds of the womb. When they're born, those sounds are suddenly gone, and that can be terrifying for little ones. By providing sounds similar to the womb, we were able to comfort my son and give him the sleep his rapidly growing body needed.
He's now 18 months old, and we still use that sound machine. Though, if I'm being honest, I don't really think it's him for anymore. We got so used to listening to those sleep sounds through the monitor every night that we actually get better, deeper sleep when it's on.
For our family, sleep sounds are a win-win.
Heather Koontz of Oak City Folks is this week's guest blogger and is not affiliated with Fade Away Sleep Sounds.
Oak City Folk is an Oklahoma-based blog focusing on parenting, DIY, and adventures in a 1970s home. For stories about motherhood, craft tutorials, giveaways, and more, visit http://www.OakCityFolk.com.