Me: “Geez I’m tired, Athena was up a lot last night.”
Everyone: “You should do sleep training and just let her cry it out.”
Me: [insert eye-roll]
So yeah, I’m not the biggest advocate for sleep training, especially in infants less than a year old. It’s just a personal opinion that also ties into my technique of attachment parenting. I’m totally sure that sleep training has worked for some parents, and I’m in no way denying that: like I said, this is my PERSONAL choice. I get really irritated when people ask me why, why, why. Because it’s my life, and my baby, how about that. So yes I’m sleep deprived and at times a little (or a lot) irritable. Let’s get down to the root of why people want to “train” their infants like a puppy dog, or “train” a helpless baby to have some independence.
Some people just don’t function off of little to no sleep, yes I understand that too. So maybe being a parent to a baby is not necessarily what you needed. But I digress. There’s something about letting a three month old baby cry until they throw up everywhere that just doesn’t ring right in my mind. Did you know that your essentially shutting down their natural instincts? Let’s think of why your baby is crying: hungry, needs a new diaper, hot, cold, or just lonely. If it doesn’t break your heart to think of your lonely hungry baby just wailing away while you watch T.V, I don’t know what will. Since these helpless little creatures can’t speak yet…they will cry. This natural instinct of crying for something is obviously very primal. If a cavewomen put her baby down for a period of time, the infant would have naturally started to cry in fear for it’s LIFE. So it maybe doesn’t get eaten by a sabertooth tiger? Am I making more sense now? Your small baby is not manipulating you to come pick him up and hang out. He’s scared.
So a baby cries because he needs his mom. This is normal, am I right? Your baby cries for you…you don’t come. He cries more…you’re still not there. By now he’s really scared and lonely, believing that he’s been left for good this time. Scared and lonely people. I personally do not want my child feeling like this at any point in her life. Sure, the babies of the CIO method don’t remember it when they’re older, and who knows it they’re are any really side affects. However, by establishing in your child that you will come when she cries, you are creating a more independent toddler and child, having their comfort needs met as a young baby.
Possibly the most annoying thing out of this whole scenario? People telling you what you should and should not do. This goes for most parenting methods though. I’ll never forget having dinner with my parents friends one night. I had just put Athena down for a nap in the other room, and I had the monitor with me so I could hear her when she began to fuss. Sure enough, halfway through dinner, she woke up and needed mom. I finished my bite of food and stood up. Cue mom’s friend who claims to be a baby expert: “You should wait for her to really start crying before you go to her.”…..????? So me, being the sassy individual that I am, look at her in the eye and continue to get up and go get her. As I’m leaving the room I hear “Wow Athena’s got you trained well.” Yes. My three month old infant is manipulating me to meet her needs. She’s in the other room as well speak, rubbing her evil little hands together and smirking in pleasure as she gets what she wants. Evil little spawn.
I’m fully aware that this post was more of a rant than anything. I just needed to put the sleeping training method into perspective for some parents who believe it’s as easy as letting your poor child just cry for hours. As with all things, it’s a method that needs to be researched if you plan on doing it. It’s not as simple as just letting them cry. So if you do decide to sleep train using this method…please read about it and the proper way to carry it out. In addition to this, there are other sleep training methods you can look in to: there are such thing as no-crying methods. I know that I’m a hippy, tree hugging alternative type of person, who is super into co-sleeping and nursing and rocking to sleep. Hell, my kids a thumbsucker and I think it’s the greatest thing in the world. No, she’s not self-soothing yet…she’s only four months old. I’m relishing in her need for momma, and the fact that she snuggles up in bed with me, and rolls into me in the middle of the night be closer. I’ll always be there to help her fall asleep for as long as she’ll have me. Drink in the moments when your baby yearns for you attention and cuddling, it’ll be gone before you know it.