Can we all please just cut the bologna and admit that – there is just no easy way of getting a child to sleep until they’re old enough to appreciate bribery?
All those books – LIES!! They’re praying on the weak and sleep deprived parents! Sound machines, music boxes, etc etc – they make you sleepy more than they affect the child! Oh and – mobiles for babies? By the time their vision is good enough to see the thing – it’s considered a hazard and you have to remove it! My 3 week old slept through the fire alarm! You seriously think that Mozart tune is doing something?
I thought – it shouldn’t be this hard! Modern society is imposing non-biological standards of making kids sleep separately, creating extra stress, anxiety, yada yada… I figured – if I go back to basics, I’ll be smarter. Pre-literate societies had to put their babies to sleep, so there must be a way that doesn’t require reading all those books (which I have read, by the way, and tried, and don’t feel like trying anymore!)
So with my second one – we co-sleep and I have no problem nursing him to sleep, because yes – his bed time lines up with when I’m exhausted and don’t mind having to lie with him for a while. I had no problem until he got top and bottom sets of teeth! And now he’s looking for a more substantial snack, and my screams from pain apparently don’t help him fall asleep… So I’ve hit a wall with my super clever tactics.
Even before this experience I felt like the whole sleep training business was a scam – because you’re basically just going from one “crisis” to another, and they have all these proper behavioral science terms for them – you see, they’re these developmental stages that prevent them from sleeping well..
Basically – it is expected that your child will be difficult to put to sleep anytime they have a developmental leap – learning to roll over, learning to sit, crawl, stand up, and walk. That usually happens in the first year. That’s 5 times, let’s say it takes you about a week to get back on your sleeping track. That’s 5 weeks out of 52.
Teething. Some babies make it to their 1st birthday with no teeth, but usually you’ll have at least 12 by their first birthday. Lets say each tooth is a 3 day ordeal, that’s about right? so – that’s over a month of sleep lost just to teething.
Heaven forbid you travel with your baby, because that’s going to throw off all your sleep training as well, any time zone change, seeing family overseas… Daylight savings will affect your baby too. So – that’s almost 2 weeks out of the year (as it happens twice) just for daylight savings time. You will have holidays and trips, let’s just throw another 2 weeks for good measure.
So that’s now 3 months out of 12 of guaranteed bad sleep. Also – any time your baby gets shots, which is like 2 or 3 times I think? Let’s round that up to just one week total. When your baby has physical growth spurts their sleep gets affected too, they have two or three of those within the first year, so – that’s another week.
The average child gets around 10 colds a year. Let’s say you’re a super careful parent, your kid doesn’t go to daycare and you make everyone wash their hands and your kid gets sick only 5 times. Maybe you’ll have 2-3 sleepless nights each time due to stuffy noses, etc, which amounts to 2 weeks in that first year.
4 months, best case scenario. That’s one third of their first year of life that they have some kind of stuff going on when they will not be sleeping well. And no matter what kind of magic voodoo stuff you do, unless it consists of rocking, nursing/feeding and holding – it ain’t gonna work! That baby will be crying his or her little head off!
And any sleep training method that you do, aside from crying-it-out which we will not consider here and don’t need to talk about any further at this point – will tell you that after each of the events mentioned above it is normal for the baby to have a sleep regression and for you to have to do the training AGAIN. That’s about one to two weeks of active sleep training for you to get back to “normal”. But – how is it normal if over half of the year your baby isn’t sleeping well?!?!? Am I missing something here????
So, we know that infants sleep best next to mom for a multitude of reasons, it is also the more natural configuration. Can we get some research about 6-12 month olds? 1 year olds? Toddlers? What’s more natural there? What did our ancestors used to do? Considering that in some countries maternity leave lasts for 3 years – I’m gonna guess they used to prioritize the child and not their own sleep.. So I guess I’ve got some rocking, and holding and sitting coming up for the next year and a half.
And yes – I totally regret every bit of sleep training that we did with Niko. If I could take it all back, and instead I would have to lay next to him for 1-2 hours every night for him to go to sleep, and keep him in our bed – I would. Absolutely. Not even a question. Wish I had…