Wednesday, May 14, 2014

You Say You Want Sleep, But Are You Really Ready?

Apparently, sleep is even more of a commodity than I once thought.  Since doing this blog, I have been approached by several women - both in my personal world and in my media world - asking for advice. Because I believe so much in the power of sleep - both for Mom and for baby - I enthusiastically have helped many of these women put together personalized sleep plans for their babies or toddlers.  I have researched their parenting philosophies, asked a lot of questions and then put my ideas into a plan just for them.

The majority of them did not execute the plan.

Here's what I have learned: as a parent, you absolutely, definitively must be READY to sleep train. I don't mean that you must be ready to listen to your child scream and wail for hours.  (Are you ever really ready for that?  I'm not and she didn't).  In fact, Tracy's youngest was likely the hardest to train with the most (comparatively speaking) tears.  However, even she will tell you that it was completely manageable and WELL worth every single little tear - shed both by Mom and baby.

When AK was about six months old, I decided that I would start sleep training.  I read a book, the title of which I don't even recall - it wasn't my tried and true Sleepeasy Solution which I still think is the best one out there. Regardless, I told husband that I was going to start sleep training and I think he might have pulled out the balloons and streamers right then - he was so happy.  I pretended to read through a book and thought I knew what to do.  Listen, sleep training is not all that difficult, but it does take some preparation. And willingness.

At the end of the day, or...maybe the end of the next two months, I was still a zombie, the baby was still waking every few hours and Tracy said to me "why do I feel like you are living out Groundhog Day? You just keep doing this "sleep training" but you're not getting anywhere."  Thanks, Trace, for your honesty.  It also was just what I needed to realize that I had not been truly ready to teach my baby to sleep.  I was scared.  I was nervous and I wasn't ready.  So, I kept failing at it. For one reason or another.  It wasn't because I was a failure, it was because I just wasn't quite ready to give up that special time that I had with her each night.  Even though I could barely function, a part of me liked things just the way they were.

I don't, for one minute, blame these women who have asked for my help and then let it lay to the side. I understand.  I have been there - for two months I was there. I would "try" for one night and then decide the next night not to "try." At the end of the day - and night - that got us nowhere except exactly where we were. Until we were really ready.

Here's what sleep training is not:
  • It is not throwing your kid in his room and listening to him scream for two hours.
  • It is not neglecting your child.  At six months of age, babies can go the majority, if not all, of the night, without eating.  Truth be told, I waited until 8 1/2 months. It just felt better for me.
  • It is not selfish.  I repeat: it is not selfish. It is one of the most kind and caring things you can do for your child - teach her how to sleep.
So, here's what I'll tell you.  You'll know when you are ready.  One day, you will likely be at your absolute wits end, you will be so tired you can hardly string together words to make a sentence and you will begin to resent the fact that you don't sleep.  It is in this moment that you will know that you are ready to make this change.

I am not a professional sleep consultant.  But, I am a Mom who taught her baby to sleep and have never looked back.


  1. So what did you do? What sleep training method did you use?

    1. Hi Patty! I used and now covet "The Sleepeasy Solution." I have customized it throughout my journey and with individual Moms that I may be working with. But, I have always embraced the concepts of the book. It felt to me to be geared toward night weaning, which was the issue I was dealing with. However, I have worked with Moms who have run the gammut of sleep issues and all seem to be solved from the solutions in this book! Good luck!!