Rocking toddlers to sleep can be a somewhat controversial subject. Our culture typically expects independent sleep at an early age which leaves many cosleeping and attachment style moms feeling inferior.
Because of this, in the twenty minutes or so that I used to spend rocking my toddler who had not yet learned to fall asleep on her own, I had so many mental battles and conflicting thoughts.
I originally wrote this list about a year ago and never got around to publishing it until now. Currently, I have a new little baby that I rock to sleep and we lay with my toddler as she falls asleep. So even though I’m no longer rocking a toddler, I still feel each of these emotions and thoughts reading back through. And while I’m grateful that I only rock one child right now, I am already so thankful that I took all of that time out of my day to hold my first daughter.
So if you’re a mama who is feeling conflicted about rocking your child to sleep, let me just say, I see you. I understand all those thoughts. I encourage you to do what is best for you and your baby and then move forward confidently. And just like everyone says literally all the time, this phase will be over before you know it, so soak in those cuddles today.
I hope as you read through this list you find that you’re not alone and there are many moms out there that you can relate to. So let’s get started with the ten thoughts I had (over and over again) during the countless hours I spent rocking my toddler to sleep.
1) I can’t believe we’re still doing this.
Sometimes I’m tempted to start counting up the hours I’ve spent rocking my child to sleep since she was born. It used to be three naps a day and bedtime. Even though she only takes one nap now, it’s still one nap and bedtime and takes roughly 10 minutes (or more) each time. So at the minimum, in two years, I’ve spent about 20,000 minutes (333 hours or 13.8 full days) bouncing, rocking, and singing my baby to sleep. Geez.
2) But it’s really not a big deal.
I mean what’s 20 minutes out of my day? Besides, I think it’s important to take time each day to do nothing except cuddle my child. It helps me slow down and unplug and really, I can do this.
3) And they’re only little once.
How many times do we hear this phrase? I know I’m gonna blink and she will be grown up and won’t need me to fall asleep anymore. Just like they always say, one day I’m gonna miss rocking her to sleep. I’m so thankful I have this time now.
4) Hmmm… what age will this independence happen exactly?
It seems like it would help if I knew exactly how much longer this will keep going on. Does 2 1/2 count as grown up enough to fall asleep on her own? Will she be 3? 4? Oh gosh, what if she’s in Kindergarten before we get there?
5) I should have sleep trained.
I should have listened to all those people who told me to let my baby cry it out. They have been happily putting their babies down to fall asleep independently for years now. I can’t even imagine a life like that. What could I be doing with my life now if I had those 333 hours to do something more productive than rocking my baby?
6) I’m so glad I didn’t sleep train.
As jealous as I am of my friends who are getting easy sleep, I know deep down that sleep training just isn’t for me. To each their own and I’m happy for those that can do it, but ultimately I know that the burden of rocking my toddler each night is easier to handle than sleep training would have been for me. I chose this route and I stand by it.
7. But this rocking hurts my pregnant belly
Oh yeah… I’m gonna have another baby. How exactly is it going to work when I have two children to put to sleep several times a day? I really need to figure this all out ASAP.
8. Let me cuddle all the babies!
But then a wave of oxytocin rushes in as I hold my sweet daughter and think of the new baby to come and I realize how grateful I am for them and for the chance to snuggle them each day. Suddenly, I don’t care about how uncomfortable my body feels or how much time it takes to rock them, I just want to hold all the babies!
9. She looks so beautiful as she falls asleep
I stop thinking for a minute and just watch my daughter as she starts to completely relax. She stares deep into my eyes and her body begins to rest in my arms. She looks so peaceful, so innocent, and just so beautiful. It’s always such a rewarding and completely fulfilling feeling when her eyelids start to get heavy and she finally feels safe enough to let them close. What a gift we have as mothers to help our children fully relax!
10. Maybe tomorrow will be different but that was worth it for today.
As controversial as it may be, rocking my toddler to sleep tonight was so worth it. I’m glad I did it and I will keep doing it if needed. Maybe tomorrow something new will click. Maybe I will be more diligent in trying to help her fall asleep on her own, or maybe she will just wake up ready to be independent. But today I did what we needed in the present and I will continue to take this journey one day at a time. And getting to climb into bed now is such a sweet reward! I love this life of mine ❤️
How long did you rock your children to sleep?