I was talking to a good friend yesterday and Sabine’s sleep came up. She admitted that she had not phoned recently because the sleep training topic upset her and she did not know if what she had to say about it would offend/upset/hurt me. I asked her to elaborate, assuring her that all Mama’s are entitled to their opinion and that I NEVER judge. She went on to say that sleep training and the desire for a child to sleep through the night upset her. My friend has chosen to wake several times a night with her 15 month old to nurse and comfort her back to sleep. I am choosing to help my child learn how to stop night wakings and sleep through the night.
Do I think one of us is right and one of us is wrong? NO. I have heard some sleep experts say sleep training is for the parents when they have reached maximum capacity, and that is so very true. Not every woman is able to function for months, and sometimes years (oh shudder) on broken sleep. And that is OK. And those who can… my hat is off to you. I am in awe of your strength and your ability to soldier through.
What about the Mamas who choose the longer sleep training methods where you don’t let your child cry alone. Are they more right? Are they more wrong? Absolutely not. We all know ourselves and our babies best. We all know when we are at our breaking point and/or when our child is clearly under rested and needs intervention. We all know if our child is a good candidate for CIO (cry it out) or if a gentler, longer method is necessary. And not a single one of us is “wrong.”
I hope that the women and men who visit Scrambled Eggs for it’s sleep training posts understand this. I do not judge, and I hope you will not judge me or my readers who leave comments sharing their stories. We are doing the best we can to raise healthy, well adjusted little humans. And that deserves to be celebrated.
After I shared more of my reasoning behind my choice to sleep train using a CIO method that involves timed checks my friend came around. Once I made it clear that I don’t think what she is doing is wrong, or crazy, or hurting her child she felt better.
At nine-months old sleep training is necessary for my household and this is why:
I have a chronic autoimmune disease called bi-lateral uveitis. It sucks and it threatens my vision. I also have markers for additional disease. Staying rested, living a low stress lifestyle and maintaining regular activity and healthy diet are critical components to my staying healthy and flare-free. Nine months of sleep deprivation is playing Russian roulette with my health. I am also acutely aware that a big part of my heightening anxiety is related to sleep deprivation. My mind and body just can’t process everything fully when I am not rested. As I wrote a few days ago, I see the signs and I know the course of action I need to take.
From Sabine’s standpoint, I know she is capable and ready to sleep through the night. She is a delightful little human on the nights she sleeps through. Our days are a joy as she giggles and plays. I am a better Mama and able to be more interactive and stimulating. When rested, everything in the house runs better. When we have several bad nights of multiple wakings this all goes to pot. She is tired, fussy and not able to achieve the things she wants to. I am a less supportive parent and wife.
For us, sleep training is the right choice. If you are a reader who has chosen another way to sleep train, or not to sleep train, I welcome you to share your comments and stories here. There are so many different ways to go about this and there is NO REASON we can’t have a positive dialogue without hurting or offending. I don’t often edit/delete comments, but I will in this situation. If it is not a productive discussion it will be modified or removed. Otherwise, please discuss. Share your struggles, share your triumphs, share your personal reasoning, share your health and feelings after months of sleep deprivation.
And on that note I am going to sign off for the day and enjoy a long shower while my beautiful girl naps. My armpits need it!
*For those following our sleep training journey, Step 3 “Teaching Sabine to Sleep Through the Night” began last night. I’m a little superstitious about sleep at this point, though, and am holding off on an update till Monday! Your good vibes/prayers/sleep dances are appreciated in the meantime!