Sleep training is a widely talked about subject. You will get a lot of different opinions and whether it’s a great idea or it’s not. I feel sleep training is one of those topics that is basically “to each their own.” If you want to sleep train your baby and the baby cooperates, great! If you are one who doesn’t mind night feedings and co-sleeps, great as well! This is one of those topics where there is really no right or wrong. Every parent does what they feel is best and in this post, I will share what exactly it means to sleep train and how I feel about it.
A Little Info on Sleep Training
With sleep training, usually the main method is to let the baby “cry it out.” Many say that crying it out does no harm to the baby while others say it is cruel. There were studies on this that had showed that letting a baby actually “cry it out” may be harmful and can cause long-term effects. But to put all this in perspective, sleep training is a ‘back and forth’ subject and propagated by misinformation.
Many who do not believe in sleep training may feel that those who do are mainly doing it for their own benefit and not the baby’s. This is simply not true. Of course a parent of a sleep trained baby sleeps better, but the main benefit is for the baby. A baby who wakes in the middle of the night tends to need their caregivers to put them back to sleep. Imagine how a baby may feel waking up multiple times in the middle of the night? They may be exhausted! The main part of sleep training is having the baby learn how to self soothe which is an important skill to know.
Here’s is a MYTH: Many who sleep train believe that the baby sleeps through the night. Actually, the thing is that no human fully sleeps and stays asleep through the entire night. Waking from a dream, needing to go to the bathroom, turning over, fidgeting, etc. Infants are no different. They are the same and may even make vocalizations. The point of why those who sleep train do so is that they are teaching their baby to be able to put themselves to sleep when they wake.
Now, there are some lucky parents out there whose baby sleeps through the night, without any training! This is pure luck and those parents should feel very lucky!
My Own Personal Thoughts on Sleep Training
Okay, here are my personal thoughts on the whole sleep training thing. This does not mean I do not agree with how other parents do things.
Firstly, I have NEVER sleep trained any of my children. Well that was not entirely true. I did try to train my oldest when she was a year old. It did not go well and is the reason why I don’t sleep train anymore. Background: I did as told and just let her cry it out when she woke. I went in and checked on her and left. After say about 15-20 minutes of crying, she stopped. I was happy. But an hour after I decided to check on her – my mommy instinct said to go check on her. Bad me, I should’ve checked on her sooner! My poor baby was standing and had gotten one of her thighs stuck between the bars of the crib and had her head rested on the top of the railing asleep. When I saw this I freaked and it hurt her to get her thigh out without doing any harm. Since then, NO MORE SLEEP TRAINING. I felt so bad and like I was such a bad mother. I said I was never doing this training thing again.
My two older children learned how to sleep on their own. As they grew older, they slept better. Of course they woke and came to my bed and I would either take them back to theirs or put them in mine. And by the age of 2-3 they grew out of it. I feel all kids do at some point. And as a type of parent I am, I took in as much as their baby/toddler-hood selves and enjoyed them with me in bed because lets be real: they grow too fast and we will miss all these precious moments.
Also, I believe that if a baby wakes to eat in the middle of the night but falls right back to sleep, that’s sleeping through the night in my books. Why? Because they know the difference between day and night and sleep through the night hours. My children never woke for a couple hours ready to play in the middle of the night. If they did, we would have had problems LOL, but that is just working on getting your little one to learn the difference between day and night.
Way back in the day when my oldest were babies, our pediatrician said to let them cry it out. He mentioned to leave and go outside when they cried so I wouldn’t have to hear it. Now with my third baby, he was totally okay with her waking to nurse and told me how falling back asleep right after is still considered “sleeping through the night.” I was so happy to hear this because it shows so much on sleep training and the meaning of sleeping through the night has changed over the years!
Now the main reason why I don’t sleep train? Babies and Toddlers go through MANY regressions. They have them literally every few months! Whether it is due to teething or a growth spurt, they have them. And then what? Back to sleep training we go. That just felt like a waste of time on my end and I would need to constantly train my kids to sleep again when they would go through these regressions. NO FUN!
To end this post, whether you sleep train or not, you are doing what is right and best for your baby (and yourself). Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Sleep training is not a one size fits all. It may work for some and may not work for others. As parents, we make the final decision and that’s all that matters!