I always envisioned putting my babies in their cribs and having them fall peacefully asleep. Then I had babies, and discovered that's just not the way babies work. I've rocked, snuggled, fed, wore, and drove them around the block to get them to sleep. When they woke up several times a night. I'd bring them to bed with me. But this time I vowed to do things differently and planned to sleep train my son. Yeah, I suck at sleep training. So it's time to come clean, my friends. It's time I reveal the confessions of a sleep training failure.
Just between you and me, failing at sleep training was entirely my fault. I am not as committed to the process as I could be (and need to be), and it's way easier to give in and bring my baby to bed or feed him at 2:00 a.m instead of doing the back and forth thing for another hour, or whatever. I want it to happen, but, as of right now, my baby falling asleep on his own without my help is an elusive pipe dream. And no matter how much he eats during the day, he still seems to wake up at least once or twice a night. It's so hard to be strong when I'm sleep deprived, and listening to him cry breaks my heart. So, I start each night with the best intentions, then ultimately fail half-way through.
I am not really functioning well, and neither is my husband. My kids deserve a well-rested mom, and I need more sleep to make that happen. But I suck so bad at sleep training, and have no willpower when it comes to my baby. It's so embarrassing. I know that bed-sharing can be dangerous (not to mention, not conducive to me getting some damn sleep), but it's the only thing that's guaranteed to work, and I am weak. I need to get this right, but what if I missed my chance or have already screwed things up? I guess I just don't know what to do. I do know that I have officially failed at sleep training, I miss sleep, and I need to confess the following:
If I'm being honest, I have to admit that I'm not entirely sure sleep training is the right decision for my baby and my family. When my older kids were babies, we co-slept or I would bring them to bed if they woke up in the middle of the night.
I had a love-hate relationship with bed-sharing, though. I loved the snuggles, but hate that babies seems to take up roughly 2/3 of a king-sized bed. So, I have no idea if I am doing the right thing. I'm not confident either, often falling back to my old crutches, like feeding or rocking him to sleep, which seems so much easier in the short term, even though I know it's probably the wrong decision in the long run.
Sleep training is absolutely the hardest part of parenting. For real, you guys, it's the worst. I hate hearing my baby cry, hate having arguments with my partner about the "right" way to approach this entire situation, and hate the seemingly endless bedtime struggles. At the same time, I am so tired, and I really need sleep, so we have continued this half-assed attempt at sleep training for months. The problem? It's not working.
If you Google sleep training mistakes, my picture might actually appear, because I am pretty sure I have made, and continue to make, all of them. Rocking baby to sleep? Check. Feeding the baby at bedtime? Check. Picking him up when he cries? Check. Bringing him to bed with me? Check. I am not sure I can shift gears and sleep train correctly, and what if it's too late?
Feeding my baby works to quiet him about 90 percent of the time. So, I use it, like a crutch. I know that it's the wrong thing to do, but I am too tired to think of an alternative, and in the moment it feels like an easy out. Honestly, though, at 3:00 a.m., when you are as tired as I am, I have a feeling you would use an easy out, too.
When it's time to go to bed I have no energy, logic, or willpower, and I am an emotional mess. There's a reason sleep deprivation is a form of torture. I would probably say yes to anything if it meant I could get some sleep, which means that I constantly go back to what I know works rather than trying to do the hard thing (read: sleep training).
Logically I know that sleep training is only hard for a few nights. In theory, anyway. In the moment, though, when I am sleep deprived and desperate, it just seems so much easier to give in and pick my baby up. I only intend to pick him up for a little bit, after a snuggle, a bottle, a few minutes... but then I wake up with him kicking my kidney or grabbing my face, and think that I need to try again.
I want all of the baby snuggles. All of them. Especially since this is my last baby, and I am not sure how long he'll still want to be snuggled at night. I am tearing up just thinking about it. So yeah, it's almost worth it to me to give up a little sleep. Almost.
It hurts to hear my baby cry. I know, logically, that it won't hurt him to learn to fall asleep on his own, and that a few nights of crying might mean many good nights of sleep, but damn this is hard. It's honestly harder than I ever thought it would be. Maybe too hard.
I am going to share a secret: I am pretty sure my baby has sleep-trained my partner and I, and not the other way around. I mean, we do whatever it takes to get him to sleep, and then we go collect him in the middle of the night whenever he cries. Like a tiny dictator, he's probably silently laughing an evil laugh and thinking, "I can make mommy and daddy do just about anything when they are tired." And he's right. He can.
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