We’ve all seen it. The shot of the adorable 6-week-old on Facebook with the caption, “Look who slept through the night for the first time!” or, “Look who gave mommy ten hours of sleep IN A ROW!”
Insert all of the “Z” emojis.
With my first child, I made a (bad) habit of immediately messaging these moms, “What sleep training are you using? What books have you read? How often are they eating? How close to bedtime are they eating?” and so on.
I subjected my sweet baby to EVERY sleep-training method I could find. During those months (years) you could find me, harried and bedraggled, lugging around carts of reserved sleep training books from the library with my son on my hip.
I cut out coffee. I cut out dairy. I cut out gluten. I cut out sugar. So much cutting and stressing. So many tears. So much desperation in my eyes as I begged every mom at baby story time to please share their secrets. More often than not, I found that these women just had babies that were naturally good sleepers…and that the sleep gods of the universe had simply chosen NOT to shine their light on my screaming child.
So, when my second son was born, I vowed to start from the beginning. I committed to a sleep training program from day one. Which, ultimately, led to me slumped on the floor outside my son’s door in tears because he was crying and I just wanted to nurse him. I just wanted to rush in and comfort him. It wasn’t in me as a mother to sleep train. I felt like a failure, so, I threw in the towel on sleep training. And, like my first son, my second son didn’t sleep through the night until he was almost two years old.
My third child, my daughter, was born ten months ago. Now I just hide posts from moms that share about their miracle-sleep children and do my best in mom groups to encourage the mom so desperately seeking sleep solutions.
Sometimes babies don’t sleep. It has nothing to do with you. If you want to sleep train, go for it. If it’s not in you to do it, then don’t.
I am NOT a sleep-training mama. And, you know what? I don’t really want to be. My daughter is up every couple of hours at night to breastfeed. She’s growing beautifully and we are all going along as usual. My breastmilk is NOT caffeine-free, but my stress levels are much lower this time around, and that’s more than fine with us.
Kara Garis is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to two active boys and a baby girl. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma and loves running, cooking, traveling, reading and teaching herself how to braid. She blogs very infrequently at karagaris.blogspot.com.