I love sleep more than I love almost everything in this world. If I weren't so sleep-deprived most of the time, I'd write poetry professing my love. Sleep in incredible. Sleep is peaceful. Sleep is pure bliss. So, when my infant didn't feel the same way about sleep as I do, she had to learn. So, no, I won't apologize for sleep training my child, and I won't apologize for encouraging sleep training for other children, either. To be quite honest, sleep training my baby was one of the easiest decisions I ever made as a parent. I didn't agonize over it at all. I didn't spend unnecessary hours on the internet researching the ins and the outs of sleep training. I just did it, and it worked.
My mother once told me that her grandmother, who raised her, was a die-hard believer in sleep training. She sleep-trained all of her kids and grandkids and swore that teaching babies how to self-soothe is the best gift you can give them. I don't know what I believe, really, but I do believe in sleep. I really believe in getting as much of it as possible. So, I didn't really question the need for sleep training, I just knew I wanted to start sleeping again. I knew it wasn't normal for my baby to wake up so many times during the night, and that it would continue to be difficult for her to put herself back to sleep if I didn't intervene.
My daughter wasn't waking up because she was hungry or because she was distraught or in pain, she was waking up because she couldn't get into a sleep cycle. As soon as I could come to her room she'd be wide awake and playful, because she thought it was time to hang out and chat. Well, this mom doesn't play at 3:00 a.m, so sleep training it was, and here's why I wasn't a little bit sorry about making that decision:
Because Sleep Deprivation Isn't Healthy
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep deprivation affects your mood, performance, and health. It can also cause weight gain, irritability, and anxiety. I remember not sleeping for approximately three months after my daughter was born. She had reflux and colic and would not sleep at all. Finally, after she had gotten past colic, she must have gotten so used to not sleeping during the night, because she just continued to wake up every hour or so. I was at my wit's end, so trust me when I say that sleep training was necessary.
Because Babies Need To Sleep, Too
Infants need approximately 15 hours of sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation, which means they need to sleep most of the day and night. If they don't get the sleep they need, they become extra tired, overstimulated, and cranky.
In other words, when babies don't get enough sleep, they actually get so tired that they can't sleep and that is when everyone in the family feels the need to scream and cry.
Because I Don't Apologize For My Choices
I am a grown-ass, educated woman, and I realize that a good night's sleep is beneficial for everyone involved. Also, I don't apologize for most of the things I choose to do, because most of my choices are carefully evaluated and analyzed. I knew it was time to let my daughter cry-it-out and no amount of mommy-shaming would have stopped me. I know my kids and I know what works for them and what doesn't. So I will continue to do what I believe is necessary for my children and my family.
Because It's Not Going To Damage Your Kid
Despite the horror stories you may have read on the internet about the possible psychological damage that crying-it-out bestows upon your infant, research shows that there are "no ill long-term effects for babies, and big benefits for parents. In one study, rates of depression in mothers dropped from 70 percent to 10 percent after sleep training."
There are so many parenting choices that we end up, as parents, second-guessing. Everything parents do, and don't do, can have a potential negative effect on the child. We truly never know how harmful something can be until decades later. However, we do know that getting sleep is essential for our very survival, so I'm going to make sure everyone in this family gets some sleep.
Because It Was (Somewhat) Easy
Sleep training my daughter wasn't very difficult. I was so sleep-deprived I was ready for the battle, because I knew as soon as my daughter slept through the night I would be sleeping again, too. So, I was prepared to tackle all the difficulties that came along with it. And, yes, the first night was tough, and I hated listening to her cry. I would come in, stroke her back and her head, give her a pacifier, and gently shush her. But after a few days, it was over and we were all sleeping peacefully in our beds.
Because I Feel Guilt About Basically Everything Else
I feel guilty about almost everything when it comes to parenting. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I felt guilty that I wasn't financially contributing to our family and we were struggling because of it. Now that I am a mom who works outside of the home, I feel guilty I don't spend enough time with my family. I feel guilty when I go out with my friends and leave my kids in the evenings. I feel guilty when I am too tired to play with them on the rug. I am a pile of guilt, to be sure, but there wasn't a single moment about sleep training during which I felt guilt. Not a single one.
Because I Don't Regret It
There are plenty of things that I've done to and with my kids that I kind of, sort of, regret, but sleep training is not one of them. That decision was one of the best decisions I made for my family. After my daughter was sleep trained, she slept peacefully every night. She is now almost 9-years-old and she is a solid sleeper. I wouldn't have changed a thing.
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