Sleep Training. HOT topic am I right?! For some reason this phrase bugs me, because it sounds sort of like the universal answer to getting your baby to sleep. Just train them. Of course! Because all babies are exactly the same, just like all children and adults are the same. So it should just work, and be super emotionally chill for you and your baby! I want to venture to say that if I interviewed five top athletes or musicians on how they train to make sure their bodies/talents are at peak performance they would all have different types of training/mindsets that work for them.
AND NO ONE WOULD JUDGE THEM FOR IT.
My daughter hit what they call the “four-month sleep regression” HARD. She went from sleeping 5-6 hours straight to being up every single 45 minutes to nurse. Not that it’s all about me….but I was not in a good space. I was spoiled for a couple months. My baby seemed to like sleep, and I liked that she liked sleep. After about a week of trying really hard to keep it together (I am soft, I love sleep), I decided to take a walk with her, grab a sandwich, and sit outside. As I sat in my zombie like state eating a tuna salad sandwich another mom walked up and asked if I was there for the new mom meetup (actual DIVINE INTERVENTION). I wasn’t, but I told her I would be happy to join. A handful of other moms showed up and somehow the topic of babies and sleep came up…I feel like it’s a top five topic.
I know that sometimes as a parent it can be really hard to open up about things you are struggling with when it comes to your baby or child. Because who wants to ever admit they feel like they’re failing? But, at the same time, being vulnerable can lead you to some really kind advice. So, I all but shouted, “My baby seriously will not sleep anymore, and I think I’m dying!” SO dramatic… I know. This other mom looked at me with such understanding. She didn’t ask me all of the things I was doing or not doing, and then nod her head like “Mmmmhmmm totally not what she should be doing.” Instead she said that she had just been through the same thing, and if I wanted she would email me what worked for them.
What worked for them. Not a lengthy talk on how I should do it, but just a willingness to share something that positively impacted her and her family. Which was just what I needed. I felt like I had l just been offered the Holy Grail. Like Indiana Jones went into that cave/pyramid place and got it for me so I didn’t need to worry about dying by poison dart or boulder, but I got to reap all of the rewards!
So I read through the information and really loved a lot of it (The Happy Baby Sleep Wave in case anyone is curious, if not that’s cool too). My pediatrician had also given me the go ahead because my daughter was healthy and a good weight. She basically said very matter of fact that it was my job as a parent to teach her that night was for sleeping and day was for eating. Let me be honest, I KNEW that getting her to sleep would be good for her, but ultimately this was my selfish mom moment. I knew that getting her to sleep would be good for ME, and make me a better parent.
I also knew that I had to really trust my intuition. I could use the resource as a guideline, but it wasn’t MY end all be all, one size fits all, training plan. The first night was pretty much torture. I went in every five minutes when she was crying, and told her she was ok and it was time to sleep, which the resource said to do. I put her pacifier back in, which the resource said NOT to do. Because, remember this site is called BALANCING Mom.Me. The second night was less crying, the third night even less, and by the fourth she went into her crib and slept. But, like I said earlier, she has always liked sleep. I totally understand that nature and nurture are both involved. I’m fortunate my baby seems to enjoy sleep.
In parenthood I feel like I’m the backstage crew prepping everything, maintaining a schedule, having great snacks…and she’s the Taylor Swift that’s getting up there to a sold out crowd. What I do matters for keeping her well and supported…but she could give the performance of a lifetime or straight up just walk off stage. Not saying that Tay Tay would ever do that! My point is there comes a time where I don’t have control. I’m backstage.
I’m not sharing this story with the intent to advise you on HOW to get your baby to sleep, or eat a variety of foods, or walk, or speak.
I’m writing only to cheer you on as an individual. You are awesome! You are that backstage kick butt crew that holds the whole show together NO MATTER HOW YOU DO IT! Is it always comfortable? HECK NO! But, working through that uncomfortable and getting to that bring down the house performance of a full night sleep, eating broccoli, taking first steps, finishing homework, riding a bike…is cell phones swaying in the air AMAZING!
That other mom made me feel empowered by how she gave me support. She shared what worked for her with ZERO judgment. She offered me a ladder. She didn’t climb down into the hole with me and commiserate about babies sleeping or not sleeping. She just offered me a little light. That’s what I want to be to anyone having a parenting “moment”. A ladder. There are so many uncertainties. But, there are so many opportunities to grow as well. You try your best.
I feel like instances like this will come along a lot in parenting. Training and learning are not one size fits all and neither is parenting. Are there nights my daughter won’t sleep and I cuddle her extra in bed? You bet! Am I writing this and probably going to have some people thinking I shouldn’t do that? You bet!
It’s easier to believe that you aren’t doing enough as a parent. You aren’t doing it “right”. But, if you are present for your child, and parenting out of love, and in tune to what your INDIVIDUAL child needs. Then what could be more right?