5 Reasons I Said NO To Sleep Training

My baby is 13-months-old and I will not sleep train him, or let him cry-it-out. He doesn’t fall asleep by himself, and rarely does he even sleep by himself. Also, he does not sleep through the night. Some nights he wakes up only once or twice, other nights he wakes up about 50 bazillion times.

Yes, I am tired – SO tired. Physically and mentally. It’s tough.

But who isn’t tired? I don’t think I’ve ever talked to another parent, or another working adult for that matter, who could truthfully say, “Yes, I am well rested.”

It doesn’t matter if your baby is sleeping through the night or not. You are still a parent, parenting is hard work, and you are going to be tired.

5 reasons i said no to sleep training

Besides that, why do I say NO to sleep training – especially, when there are so many experts (pediatrician, friends, family members and other relatives, and of course, random strangers at stores or elsewhere determined to give us their two cents) that recommend sleep training?

Reason #1: I LOVE the snuggles!

There is nothing in this world that is more fulfilling than snuggling my baby. In a weird way, I secretly enjoy waking up to take care of him at night. It’s our special quiet snuggle time. It’s dark, the house is quiet, the older kids are sleeping, the dogs are sleeping, and the cat – well, he’s usually pawing at my door wanting to come in and play, but that’s okay, it’s still mostly quiet. And I can be still – no talking on the phone, making a to-do list, or any other multi-tasking. I just feed and hold my little, and enjoy being close and connected with him.

I realize this may be strange to some, to enjoy the night wakings. Don’t get me wrong, there are nights that I need sleep and I don’t enjoy the wakings at all. But I just have to remind myself of this next reason.

Reason #2: They’re only little for a little while.

If you are a first time mom, I know this seems cliche and far from the truth because you are exhausted and haven’t had a decent night of sleep in months. But it’s true. You are going to blink and off your baby goes to kindergarten. Blink again, middle school. Blink again, high school. As the mom of a highschooler, I am not ready to talk about what happens with the next blink ;).

But seriously, each stage of infancy goes by so stinking fast. I am okay with the night wakings because I know this to be true, and I know he eventually will sleep through the night and I’ll miss his littleness and the sleepy nighttime snuggles.

(In case you were wondering, my highschooler, who I also did not sleep train, did eventually sleep through night. In fact, he is even great at napping now ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Reason #3: Sleep training feels wrong.

Maybe not for some, but for me it does feel wrong. I understand there are gentle ways of sleep training, but for most sleep training is some version of letting your baby cry-it-out, that might or might not include timed intervals of checking on and comforting baby.

I tried a version of this with my first baby after being pressured that he needed to learn to self sooth. It was HORRIBLE. I could only handle about 20 minutes of crying. He was sobbing so hard that his snot and drool made a foamy mustache and beard around his mouth, his face was Red Delicious apple red – a shade that I didn’t even think possible for human skin to be. By the time I scooped him back into my arms, I was also crying, my stomach nauseous, my head hurting, and my heart aching from the whole ordeal. I hugged him, and nursed him, and hugged him, and promised him and myself never again.

So, I can’t stomach it. I don’t care what the “experts” say, leaving my babies alone to cry-it-out feels wrong.

Reason #4: I realized my babies wake at night because they need me.

They are not waking at night because they are spoiled, or being manipulative, or trying to make life more difficult by stealing all of the precious sleep.

They are waking because:

  • Their gums hurt from teething
  • They are gassy and their tummy hurts
  • They are ill
  • They are hungry or thirsty
  • They are too hot or cold
  • Their diaper needs changed
  • They’re learning a new skill (new skills such as sitting, crawling, and walking often disrupt sleep patterns)
  • They just need to be snuggled/comforted

There are many other reasons, but the point is if babies are waking up at night it is for a good reason, and we should comfort them.

Reason #5: I realized that babies do NOT sleep the same way as adults.

Even though babies need more sleep than adults, they also need to wake more frequently. Light sleep and frequent wakings are actually a good thing, because it means our babies are more in tune with their body and their needs, which also means a lower risk of SIDS.

So, yes I am tired – SO tired – but I am okay with that. Sleep is developmental and just like any other skill, my baby will sleep through the night when he’s ready.

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10 thoughts on “5 Reasons I Said NO To Sleep Training”

  1. Pingback: Breastfeeding: Month 13 – SemiCrunchySAHM

  2. You listed most of the reasons I won’t listen to sleep experts when they tote sleep training. Maybe some kids slot in really easy and that’s why it stays popular (or so I imagine…) but not my tiger! ๐Ÿ˜†

    I always wondered when they insisted on taking away “sleep associated” activities, if they have a similar article for adults who do sleep associated activities, me being one of said adults! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. You know, I’ve wondered why sleep training stays so popular too! I know it does work for some people, but it seems like the media overly promotes it. And I don’t get it, if our babies are well rested it shouldn’t matter how they fall asleep or if they still need to eat during the night.
      Also, thanks for commenting! It’s nice to connect with other like-minded moms! ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Well, it sure is easier on the parents for a baby to fit their schedule, not the other way around. I know mine has been bulldozed so so many times lol.

        I’m just really happy that during this time that I became a mom there seems more support to do things for baby. Was it like this 10 years ago?

  3. It does seem like there’s more resources for moms and babies today than there was 10 years ago, but that may be because I have a little more time on my hands now as a stay-at-home mom then I did back then with my first baby. I was young when I had my first, trying to go to college and work and raise a baby. My support was my mom, and books from the library, lol ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. For some reason, and now I can’t seem to figure out why, but I had been under the impression parents had to sometimes fight with the hospitals to keep baby around. The hospital I birthed at did everything possible to keep baby around me from her first breath.

      1. That is true! With my first baby, I remember arguing with the nurses about taking my baby to the nursery. I wanted to him to stay with me, and I wanted to hold him, but they kept telling me “You just gave birth, you need to rest.” It was so frustrating! With my youngest baby it was so different. My hospital didn’t even have a nursery, so he had to room in with me, and I thought that was pretty awesome. It was so dumb back then that thought it was better for mom and baby to be separated – I mean, they were growing inside us for 9 months! I didn’t want to rest after I gave birth, I just wanted to cuddle and hold and connect with my baby.
        So yeah, things have changed from that perspective. And actually, I had a lot more breastfeeding support with my youngest than my older two. My hospital even offered donor milk supplements if needed, instead of formula. And the lactation consultant that visited me was a lot more gentle and supportive, than with my older kids.

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