We are sleep training our baby.
There. I said it.
Now please feel free to tell me how we’ve psychologically damaged our kid for life; how he’s going to have “issues” with sleep once he is old enough to control the process himself; that in two short weeks we have all but ruined any bonding we’ve done since birth, creating a distant and distrustful baby. This is what the foremost attachment parenting experts will have us believe.
We aren’t sleep training because, as Dr. Sears puts it, we want a “convenient” baby. If we wanted convenience in our lives, we would never have had a baby in the first place! 🙂 We are sleep training because we believe that a consistent, predictable routine and a full night’s sleep are important building blocks in the foundation of Oliver’s intellectual, physical, emotional and social development.
Dr. Sears calls sleep training, “a short-term gain for a long-term loss.” I call it, “short-term pain for long-term gain,” because after a few really rough nights, all of us were — and still are — sleeping better.
As a result of being properly rested, Oliver is a completely different baby: happier and more easygoing. He is absolutely thriving. Oliver loves his sleep, and seems genuinely grateful when we’ve accurately read his tiredness cues and put him into his crib. He is regularly achieving 11 to 12 hour overnight sleeps, with only a single (parent-led) dream feed at 11:00 P.M., which helps to to stave off early morning wakings.
J and I have been going to bed earlier, waking earlier, and generally being much more productive with our days. We also have our evenings back. Once Oliver is safely tucked into bed, we can enjoy each other’s company (and a glass of wine), uninterrupted. This is important to the health of our relationship.
I do not believe that sleep training is incompatible with responsive, nurturing parenting. I think of attachment as a continuum, and as such, there isn’t one act or omission that on its own will make or break attachment; it is an ongoing process.
For us, having a solid night of uninterrupted sleep makes us better parents. Now that we are not in a constant state of exhaustion-induced stress, we are more patient, more enthusiastic and more organized. Oliver receives no shortage of loving attention during his waking hours, and out of love, we have also given him the gift of good sleep habits.
Did you do any formal sleep training with your child? Why or why not?