The Downside of Sleep Training

Baby Clipart

I think the topic of babies and sleeping has always been, and will always be, one of the most talked about subjects in parenting. You know why? Because there’s no one way to get kids to sleep. That’s why there are eleven million books on the subject. No one knows what works. No one.

We did the cry it out method with both of our children. Well, I tried to do it with Lillian. When we were going through this with her, we lived in a one-bedroom so most of the time she’d either wind up in bed with us or I’d wind up on the couch. I was pregnant with Levi and had to be awake for work at 4 a.m. and I was sleeping on the couch. Does it make sense why this didn’t really work for us?

Now Levi… Levi kind of got hosed. Being the second child, I wasn’t nearly as sympathetic to him and his cries. If I knew for a fact he was clean, warm, topped off, and tired, I would lay him in his bed and let him cry all he wanted. Luckily for both of us, he caught on pretty quick and falls asleep on his own pretty well. Up until a couple weeks ago he was still waking up to nurse at night which I could deal with. I just needed him to be able to put himself to sleep. A 3am feeding is totally okay if it means I’m not sleeping on the couch while 112 weeks pregnant.

For us, sleep training worked. It helped teach Levi to fall asleep on his own. It taught him to self-soothe. I also think it helped him sleep longer stretches at night. It was great.

But here’s what no one told me.

No one told me that as he quickly drifted off to sleep, and began sleeping for three, four, seven hour stretches at a time… I would miss him. I know it sounds silly because I’m with the kid all day, every day, but I did. I missed him when I’d wake up to go pee, or at midnight when I went to bed and he was sleeping soundly in the crib next to me. I missed him crying and wailing and screaming and wanting me.

It’s hard to teach your kids to be self-sufficient. Crikey, my oldest is barely two and it’s already a hard pill to swallow. Oh sure I can’t wait for the day when I can leave them alone at home while I go run errands (three is old enough for that, right?) but this small glimmer of my children becoming independent makes me sad.

All too soon they will grow up and be gone. I will sporadically call them at 2am crying and screaming as payback for all the nights they did it to me, but when I hang up the phone, and am done laughing at just how hilarious I am, I will feel a bit melancholy that I have raised such smart, attractive, independent kids who are mufti-millionaires and make all of my material girl needs come true.

A girl can dream, right?

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7 thoughts on “The Downside of Sleep Training

  1. I don’t have the spine for cry it out. That’s why I haven’t actually slept in bed with my husband for 16 months. No matter. This, too, shall pass, and I wouldn’t pass up cuddling with that warm little body for all the tea in China.

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  2. Great article Toni! I tried the ” cry out” and hated it but it worked, then didnt , then worked, then didnt, then the teething for all of infant months …so inconsistency led to sleeping at all different times and places. I still wish I could do it all over and do co-sleeping in same room… (not same beds i still like to sprawl out) ..I havent read much about it but hear it takes away so much stress and does raise independent secure children, not the opposite of what most people fear.

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    • We weren’t consistent at all with Lils so I totally get it, Mar. It’s hard to stick to something when they’re changing all the time. I will say, though, that both out kids slept much better once they were in their own room. Oh how they grow up so fast…

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  3. So very, very true! I always grumbled when my little one woke up crying in the night, but once I was in there with her… oh how much a soft, squishy baby can get away with! Now she seeps through the night bout 80% of the time and I find myself missing her.

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  4. We co-slept with my first until she was over a year. It was a hard habit to break, and my husband was not happy about the situation! We co-slept with the other 5 until they were four or five months old and my hubby told me that was it. I always missed the snuggles, but being able to sprawl out was awesome too. 🙂

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