This is in response to this blog post I was told about. Instead of attacking this blog post or parents who don’t sleep train and writing a post titled “A Letter From a Non-Sleep Trained Baby“, I’m going to write a letter from a sleep trained baby giving a whole other perspective.
At first I was confused. You would nurse me and I would cozily drift off into dreamland for the night and you would come to me any time I called for you in the night.
That week that you sleep trained me was different.
I had my bath and you nursed me and gave me snuggles and I felt so safe and secure in your arms, like always. You sang me a song and set me down to bed awake and I fell asleep like I always did. I barely remember you coming into my room and gently picking me up to feed me again, Mommy, when I was still sleeping so my tummy was nice and full should I get hungry later on. I guess you call this a dreamfeed.
I remember the first night that week and I woke up…but I wasn’t hungry. I called out for you, Mommy, but you didn’t come. I called and called and you didn’t come because this is what I was used to and I always called out for you. I wasn’t hungry, I wasn’t wet, I was nice and warm and dry…but I was so used to you coming to comfort me back to sleep, so I just did the only thing I knew to do.
I cried out for longer than you thought I would that night, but that was the worst of it. I did it. I soothed myself and I fell asleep on my own. Again you came in when I was asleep and filled up my tummy with another dreamfeed so you knew I wouldn’t be hungry.
This happened again and again as the week went on. But I didn’t call out for you for long, Mommy, because I knew you weren’t going to come. I know this isn’t because you don’t love me, but now I know how to put myself back to sleep mommy and I feel SO much better in the mornings! I am well rested and greet you with smiles and giggles instead of tired eyes from broken up sleep.
I know you love me so much mommy. You comfort me and make me feel better if I cry during the day. I know that if I cry you WILL comfort me. If I’m sick or teething at night, you will come and check on me because you know that I need you when I’m not feeling good and I sometimes just can’t get back to sleep on my own. I know you love me, Mommy, and I love you too.
Now when someone else is watching me I go to sleep like a dream. Anyone can put me to sleep and I can fall asleep anywhere! I don’t need you to rock me to sleep or lay down with me for hours to fall asleep because I can do it on my own and I love doing it and prefer to do it that way. I am well-rested and happier for it and I can tell you are too, Mommy!
– – –
I don’t know that blogger’s story. I don’t know how many kids she has or her views on parenting. Even if I did, this isn’t a letter of ‘attack’ on her. I would assume that she is a non-sleep training parent and that’s fine. I’m of the Do-What-Works-For-You School of Parenting, but a blog post like that attempts to shine a bad light on sleep training, of which I’m a big advocate of for my family, and her blog post doesn’t sit terribly well with me.
I don’t care if you bed share with all 5 of your children or have to nurse, rock, sing, or bounce your baby/toddler to sleep. A lot of families do it, love it, and wouldn’t change it for the world. It never would and never will work for me. I need my sleep (that is not selfish, nor do I expect a full 8 hours, I just want/need more than 1 hour at a time), and more importantly, it was my babies that needed their sleep. I researched the proper method that would work for us, I tweaked it so it would work even better, and I’ve never regretted it.
Sleep training is the gift that keeps on giving and it is short term pain for long term gain.
The first few days to 1 week is hard. It will make you doubt why you are doing it because you will be more tired than when you were waking up every hour to comfort a baby who wasn’t hungry, was warm, dry, healthy, and cozy. Braden would wake up every 1-2 hours for weeks on end during his 4 month wakeful period which seeped into his 5 month old stage. He was waking out of habit and not napping well during the day and I had to make it better for him, for me, my whole family.
So I sleep trained (both the kids) between 5-6 months and I haven’t looked back a day since. They can sleep at home, on vacation, in a different crib, in a pack n play, in a camping trailer, and now that Braden’s older – in any bed or on a couch. They fall asleep and they stay asleep. If they wake up? They might fuss a minute or two – and they put themselves back to sleep. If they fuss longer – I know something is wrong and I always go and check on them and do what I can to make it better.
Some of you think I’m a monster. I get that. I let my babies cry and didn’t run to them to comfort them. “What kind of a mother just lets her babies cry?” I did it for weeks. on. end. with Braden. I ran to him the minute he cried, even when I had just fed him and gotten him to sleep. I used to spend time bouncing him and singing him to sleep for his naps and would put in 45 minutes of work for a 20 minute nap in return. For me, I couldn’t do it anymore so I sleep trained at an appropriate age using an appropriate method.
That’s very important to understand, especially if you are against sleep training. I follow a method, the method has rules, I changed some to adapt for my family. I am not a cold-hearted mother who loves to hear my babies cry. I don’t ignore them for hours on end to purposefully make them “suffer”. I didn’t wean them from nighttime breastfeeding cold turkey – it was a very set weaning schedule that I stuck to like clockwork. There is a method to this “madness” and that is really important for the nay-sayers to understand.
I look at friends and family that have to rock or bounce babies/toddlers to sleep for up to an hour or more every single nap or at bedtime. I see moms and dads that have to lay with their big kids for hours on end every single night to get their kids to sleep. I don’t have to do it. Maybe it works for you, maybe it doesn’t. It would never work for me and that’s why I sleep trained. I get lots of cuddles from both kids during the day and when I put my older child to bed at night, now that he’s in a twin bed, I lay down with him for about 10 minutes each night as we sing songs and say prayers before I kiss him goodnight and leave him to fall asleep on his own, like always.
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