In Support of Sleep

Getting your infant, toddler, or even preschooler to sleep through the night is tricky at best. If you are one of the lucky ones, you may have an “easy” sleeper. You know, the one that seems content after some rocking, singing, and nursing. Things just flow and voila…you actually have a baby that…”sleeps like a baby” so to speak.

However, for many of us, “sleep like a baby” is quite a misnomer because we often struggle to find that magic method that will reliably guarantee us a solid night of sleep. And, for those of us burning the midnight oil, pacing a dark house with a crying bundle cradled in our arms, there are a plethora of strategies thrown our way.

Let your baby cry it out. Don’t let your baby cry it out. Sleep with your baby. Don’t sleep with your baby. Try this sleep training method. No, that one is no good. You must Ferberize. Ferberizing is cruel. Rocking your baby to sleep will set him up for life long sleep problems. Letting your baby cry it out is psychologically damaging to them. If you let your baby sleep in your bed, she will never leave.

Sound familiar?

It’s no wonder we end up confused and no matter which direction we decide to take…guess what? We feel guilty. Guilty because something negative has been said about the sleep direction we have decided to take.

It’s time to let go of the guilt. You are not psychologically damaging your child by letting them cry it out. You are not setting up your child for life long sleep problems by rocking him to sleep. Your happy little co-sleeper will not be in your bed forever.

It’s time to stop perpetuating all these terrible myths. It’s time to stop perpetuating the guilt.

There are only two things I care about when it comes to sleep and babies. The first is that both the baby and her parents end up getting the sleep they need. The second is that they do so safely.

So whether you’ve struck gold following a particular sleep training method or have decided co-sleeping is the way to go, just remember to put safety at the forefront. Whether your baby sleeps in a crib, a bedside co-sleeper, or in bed with you, take the time to review these safe sleep guidelines so you can all rest easier.

As for the negative background chatter? I say let it go. Only you know what is right for you and your family. Follow your instincts. Do what you know is best for your baby and for yourself.

*original publish date: 1-28-11*


Since I’ll be talking about infant and child sleep today on the Mom Hour at Heartbeat Radio, I thought this post would be very fitting. I hope you’ll tune in at 12pm EST and call in with any questions, 352-728-1410 .

9 Responses to In Support of Sleep
  1. MultipleMum
    March 4, 2011 | 2:25 am

    I think you get better at letting go of the guilt the more kids you have. You realise that they will have many stages in their pursuit of learning to sleep through the night. In your bed. In theirs. In your arms. In a hammock. However it works! Some kids do it easily and early. Others, like 2 out of 4 of mine, struggle on for years. It doesn't make the sleep deprivation any easier but you at least, when you just go with the flow, you can live guilt free!

  2. Kasey
    March 4, 2011 | 5:04 am

    There are so many opinions out there and it's so easy to feel guilty when you do things differently from what someone tells you. When Abby was first born, my parents kept telling me to find what works for her and stick with it. So, I learned quickly that rocking her doesn't put her to sleep. She needs to be by herself even if she fusses a little. When we visited people, there would be some judgement but I knew if I went into her room and held her she would never sleep which isn't good for either one of us. I learned to tune into her different cries so I knew when she really needed me. For us, it worked and now if she's not in bed by 7 then she's telling everyone 'nigh nigh' by 7:10! It's great!

  3. Cheryl D.
    March 4, 2011 | 9:57 am

    This is still a great post with great advice! Isn't it funny how mothers are made to feel guilty about everything we do? We have to be easier on ourselves! I'm sure you're celebrity radio appearance will go great today! Again, congrats!

  4. Lauralee Moss
    March 5, 2011 | 12:19 am

    I really like these ideas, because I think that with different kids and different personalities, parents just have to pick what works right.

  5. Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom)
    March 5, 2011 | 1:10 am

    @MultipleMum I love how you say when you just go with the flow, you can live guilt free…so well said :)

    @Kasey That is so key, tuning into their cries bc we as moms are really great at distinguishing those cries, urgent vs ones when we know they are trying to settle themselves.

    @Chery D. Thanks Cheryl, it was fun!

    @Lauralee Yes, we really do just have to figure out what is right for our own children :)

  6. TheBabyMammaChronicles
    March 5, 2011 | 12:58 pm

    Loved this post the 1st time and still love it. Sorry I missed hearing you but I'm sure you were great!

  7. Yuliya
    March 6, 2011 | 6:07 pm

    You know what's not so fun? The fact that what it takes to get my kiddo to sleep changed SO much over the first year, from rocking to nursing to singing to snuggling I felt like the minute I figured it out it would CHANGE!

  8. Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom)
    March 6, 2011 | 9:36 pm

    @Yuliya: That is so true, especially since things like teething, growth spurts, and new milestones all throw a wrench in the sleep process. All I can say is that it get betters with time…it really does.

  9. 30ish Mama
    March 7, 2011 | 11:51 pm

    I'm one of the lucky ones with a baby who sleeps like a baby. A little rocking and she's out. Many people told me that I should sleep train but I don't see any reason to; I like rocking her and it almost never takes longer than three minutes. This is what works for us. If she had different needs, we would have a different routine. I like that you say everyone should follow their instincts and do what is best for them. It's very reassuring!