Before Dalton was born, I just assumed I would sleep train him. Because I love sleep. In fact, it’s a basic human need.
|But then it turned out he was still cute, even at 3am.|
Next to labor and delivery, the lack of sleep was probably my biggest fear regarding new parenthood. If I had a quarter for every time I heard “sleep now while you can!”, I would have so much money. Enough to pay for like half a day of daycare. There is no greater joy as a parent than frightening pregnant women about L&D and lack of sleep. I will admit I am guilty of the former. But I try to avoid the latter.
Because they do sleep, on occasion.
A few weeks ago a friend sent me this post and I loved it. Another friend just sent it to me today and I loved it so much it made me cry. She says it so much better than I can, but basically the idea is that while it can be tough to get up multiple times in the night with a baby, the really hard part is feeling like it’s your fault, and even worse, that you are ruining them for life.
Yes, the internet is a huge problem in perpetuating this. But I run into it in real life too. One of the first questions people ask when they see you holding a baby is “how is he sleeping?”. Then they will often inform you that they read such and so book and their baby then slept through the night (STTN) at 5 minutes old. Rice cereal in the bottle, then they’ll sleep like a champ! Which implies that, since I did not read such and so book and I’m not giving him rice cereal and my baby is not yet able to STTN, it’s my fault. Maybe they aren’t implying that at all, but my mom guilt sure does. People love to say things like “it’s time to let him cry it out!”. Why exactly is it time for that? It’s always followed with stories of how they let their baby cry it out and now she sleeps for 12 hours straight every night and then even changes her own diaper while she’s at it. And again, then it feels like the implication is that I’m doing something wrong by soothing him when he cries.
Let’s stop right here. I am 100% pro sleep training. Because I know that it’s hard, and therefore if you do it, you have a good reason, and its right for your family. I am just not pro people telling me when it’s time for me to do something. Especially, as it so often is, when it’s strangers or people I barely know that have spent about ten minutes with him.
If the time comes where it’s right for us, we will sleep train, or cry it out, or do whatever we need to do. I’m not feeling it right now though. He’s up to eat 2-3 times per night, more often than not 3 and maybe some others for unknown (to us) reasons. The doctor said this was fine.
It doesn’t bother me. I feed him, put him back in his crib, fall back asleep. I don’t watch the clock or count wakeups or tally up the total hours I get of sleep so I can whine and be a martyr about how god forbid my healthy child is behaving completely normally. Albeit not as “good” as some other babies (don’t get me started on the “good” baby nonsense). That easily leads to the self-fulfilling prophecy of “I only got x hours of sleep, I will be sooooo tired today). Nobody cares how much or how little sleep you got, how long a stretch you slept (or didn’t sleep) I’m not the only tired person out there, and I’m still expected to do my job at 100% regardless. As I should be. Because I expect Dalton’s teachers to do their best, even if they just popped out their own kid and he or she isn’t a “good” sleeper.
However, I was getting really scared. Almost all my friends have sleep trained. I started to wonder what would happen if we didn’t sleep train. Not sleep training was unheard of. You might as well just not potty train. The sleep is not a problem for me, it doesn’t seem to be a problem for him (he’s rested and happy, at least as best as I can tell during the day), so if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Well, because everyone and their mom is (ha! See what I did there?). Nobody wants to be the odd one out.
|We are trying everything to get him off the swaddle, but he's a true junkie.|
I texted my mom to ask if she sleep trained us. She did not. So that makes at least 3 non-sleep trained babies who are now productive adult members of society. I considered posting about it on a mom Facebook group. It’s such a loaded topic though. I couldn’t think of a way to word it that wouldn’t result in some sort of heated debate.
I was terrified of the four month sleep regression. It’s a THING. It’s well documented on the internet. So it’s real. Sure, my mom never heard of it, the doctor never mentioned it, but it’s ON THE INTERNET. Tomorrow Dalton will be five months old. I’ve been wondering when we will get slapped in the face with this regression. Probably now, since I spoke of it. My Instagram friend, who had her baby a few days after me, told me they just came out of the 4 month sleep regression. Her baby was waking 1-3 times a night. Around here, we call that a good night! Maybe everyone’s perceptions are just different. It is possible, because babies are all different. Almost like they are real people. Getting sucked in to fearing something just because the internet says it’s a THING can turn into another self-fulfilling prophecy.
I tried to read some sleep books. Eric threatened to burn one because it stressed me out so bad. They are really big on telling you what you did wrong. There is no way to right these wrongs. The best you can do is start socking away bail money or at least money for therapy because you have ruined your kid. The books say sleep training is great for working moms, because obviously you need to be at your best to be professional. Perfect. Then there is all this stuff you are supposed to do to make them nap right so they sleep at night. He naps at daycare. I can’t control what happens when I’m not there. The books tell you to make sure they sleep until 7am. That’s when we walk out the door. They want them to sleep 12 hours at night. Sorry, but I’m not putting him down five minutes after we get home, unless he really needs it. We need time together. Maybe by working moms the books meant people who blog full time for a “job”? Because no one I know with a real job can do these things.
Long story short, for today, I’ll continue to do everything “wrong”. Picking him up when he cries, nursing to sleep, letting him nap on daddy, and sometimes even *GASP* bringing him into our bed.
|I miss when he used to pass out on me all the time.|
Maybe sometime I’ll fall asleep in a faculty meeting and risk getting fired and we will sleep train immediately. Or it will just be time. Maybe I never will and won’t bother potty training either and we will send him off to college in an adult size Halo sleep sack and adult pampers.
Experiences with baby sleep, sleep training, non sleep training, your own sleep, or mommy martyrs at work who whine about sleep. Go.