I decided to sleep train my baby out of pure desperation. I needed sleep. I was utterly exhausted and wasn't sure how much longer I could handle our seemingly endless bedtime routine. Every night the baby ended up in my bed, and I'd lie awake for hours on end as a result. Unfortunately, I wasn't very good at teaching my baby to fall asleep on their own, either. In fact, in so many ways I think I actually set myself up for disappointment during sleep training.
My first mistake was waiting way too long to get started. When my oldest babies were little I thought that my babies needed me at night. I even ended up bed-sharing, because it was the only way for everyone to sleep even a small amount of time. And now, well, they still want to sleep in my bed. They're 5 and 9. And when my youngest was born and I started considering sleep training, I bought into the idea that it would somehow hurt my baby, so I felt guilty for wanting sleep or find a solution that would help everyone sleep separately. Luckily, I was able to get over that guilt, because by the time I finally caved I was so sleep-deprived it was starting to impact my mental health.
My baby needed to learn to fall asleep without me. I needed to learn to be consistent and to trust the process. I failed big time, though, and sleep training was much more difficult as a result. But in the end, I am happy to say that I eventually figured out how to get my toddler to sleep and get some much-needed sleep myself. Before that happened, though, I totally set myself up for disappointment in the following ways: