SLEEP TRAINING A BABY
WOW! I had this blog post idea started back in early September. I thought I was going to give you all my great tips on how to get your baby to sleep through the night…..but I got NONE!!!
We are 6 days away from Natalie’s 1st birthday and guess what???!!?! She slept like crap last night. Right when I think we are finally over the wake-ups (had 3 or 4 good nights) BOOM, reality checks in again.
I feel as though we are soooooo engrained into thinking we have to train our babies to sleep through the night. It is plastered everywhere, Pinterest, FB, every other social media. When someone comes over, they ask how is your baby sleeping? Are they sleeping through the night? We or I should say, myself, I was always trying to read different blogs, different techniques or listening to different people’s advice, and they all failed!!
We would be hit with a cold, then teething, then a cold, then a growth spurt, then simply it was waking up to nurse for comfort. It didn’t matter what the reason was, Natalie and I continued to wake up at all different times at night. Sure, she sleeps in a crib in our room which makes slightly more challenging, but regardless, this one is harder to sleep through the night.
I look back at how it worked out with the 3 boys, and to be honest, they were all so different as well. My first was by far the hardest. It wasn’t that he was a hard baby, it was the complete change of my life/sleeping habit. I had been so used to sleeping through the nights. I thought I was prepared to wake up with a baby, but that was completely brand new. The tiredness, or the zombie-like state you go through, was a hard adjustment. I really strived to make him sleep through the night. I would talk to my doctor about it and the health nurse. They recommended I try giving him formula at night. I did that and there was no change. He didn’t sleep through the night until I did the cry out method at 8 months.
Baby #2 came along 18 months later, and guess what?!?! I did everything EXACTLY the same (it’s called bulshitting it….making it look like you know what you are doing haha). This one started to sleep through the night at 3 months! SAY WHAT! What was my secret? There was no secret, it was his personality, his sleeping/growing rhythm, nothing to do with me.
Baby #3, well this little one didn’t want to sleep either. He was a hungry little chunkster and I loved it. However, I didn’t find it as hard to be up all night with him. I was able to fall asleep afterwards quicker. It was more of a normal now. He finally slept through the night at 10 months with the cry out method.
Then came along baby #4….we are still not sleeping and I don’t care anymore. Her sleeping has been through it all. There were times where she would sleep for an extended period (8 hours straight) and then BAM, reality hit and she was back to her every 2 hours. Yup, 2 hours guys!!! I tried it all, the cry it out, and everything, but she didn’t fit the mold for sleep training.
Here is what I have learned from all of this:
- Babies need comfort. They strive for it. I would always hear “Oh, what a suck, baby x needs so much attention, spoiled etc.” That is ridiculous!! Why is it so wrong to just comfort a crying baby?? Why is it wrong to simply hold the baby and rock them to sleep or feed them to sleep? Nothing! It teaches them that you are there for them. If baby needs boob or bottle (regardless how they are fed), just comfort them with what they need. Don’t put pressure on yourself, and don’t feel guilty about being there for them.
- Training is a bad word in my book now. Why do we have to “train” our babies to sleep?? It’s our culture that makes us think we need them to sleep when in reality they are under 1!! Let them be in their natural state. Let them eat, let them get nurtured, let them sit in your arms for an hour. Let them be them.
- Yes, it’s hard! Yes, it’s tiring! Stop trying to keep everything in the house perfect! Stop trying to do it all. Someone wants to make your food, say yes. Stop trying to have it all together. I’m completely ok to have my house look like a hot mess. If my little one just wants me to rock her in the chair for an hour, I will do it! If my house is a mess, who cares! I haven’t slept through the night in a year, so I think I am entitled to have a messy place.
- I know everyone hates to hear the “oh it goes so fast, just enjoy it.” In the moment, when you are soo tired, that is the last thing you want to hear. Just work through the day, if you need to have a quick little nap, do it. You need to order supper, you order supper. Just take it day by day, it will get better.
- There are many apps out there that say your baby may be in this fussy stage or going through this growth spurt. Don’t bother with them, just be with your child. My baby wants to eat every hour, ok, eat every hour. You want to lay in my arms, ok, let’s pull out the carrier and you stay close to me. Those apps do not know your child, it doesn’t know that your child might be catching a cold, it doesn’t know that it might be cutting a tooth, it doesn’t know your baby is tired from being in a noisy house full of boys…
- Ditch the training, and just listen to your baby cues. Stop trying to train your baby to YOUR schedule. Why does the baby need to be on your schedule??? They will get it, they learn to crawl, they learn to walk, they learn to talk all on their own. You really think they can’t learn to sleep on their own?? They will learn knowing you are there for their needs.
- When I was trying to do all the things with my last baby to sleep (cry out method, the go in and out all the time method), they all failed you know why?? Teething, cold, other family members scheduled pushed us out of the house. LIFE! Something will always switch it up. Some babies will strive with it others won’t. In my house, baby #2 slept, but guess what?? He needs way more comfort to sleep now. Their personality will decide. Some children simply need to be comforted more. I see it in my own kids. I know which ones want more attention and that is ok.
- I’ve seen so many comments on social media of people saying, any tips to get my baby to sleep through the night??? And boom, answers are just flooding the question. I mean it’s awesome that everyone wants to help, but everyone has an opinion and they have no idea how your child is. I stopped giving the “have you tried this method” advice. I feel it just overwhelms a mother. So many things to try and it’s stressful, its hard on the baby. I’m all about just sleep when you can with baby and let the rest go. Ask for help for the rest (house, cleaning, food, cooking, shopping). I think there is guilt that we have to do it all because we are home. NO! We don’t. You are caring for a child, the rest does not have to fall on you. Not saying the spouse isn’t caring. If your partner is out of the house, they can help out too, or simply don’t expect everything to be perfect.
- I discovered the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/beyondsleeptrainingproject/ and it was sooooo relieving to find it! To know that not training your baby is ok, it’s natural. You aren’t alone. As soon as I found it, I let go of all the things I thought I was supposed to do to have a sleeping baby. I let go of the guilt. I let go it all and just enjoyed the bonding between baby and me.
- You are amazing!! You are doing it all right! There is no right way!! You are remarkable!! Keep doing you!!!!