To sleep train OR not to sleep train

Sleep training. Two controversial words that can start debates between the best of friends and family. I was in a group setting recently, where one parent mentioned how sleep deprived they are, as their baby is going through a sleep regression. The parent was talking about how their baby was waking up every 20 min. The parents are so tired, it is affecting their marriage. I went through this. And it was terrible. I told this parent about sleep training and what worked for us. And yes it involved crying. One of the other moms in the group chimed in ‘You do not have to let them cry if you don’t want to’. And just like that the conversation was over. Why? Because no one in the group wanted to go there. I felt judged. The parent that was thinking of sleep training now felt judged. 

I did not want to start a debate so I stopped talking about it. Here is what I wanted to say: 

Dear Mom who judged me for sleep training 

Let’s stop judging! As moms/parents we have enough on our plates to worry about. Let’s support and listen. Sleep training is not fun. It is painful. But for a lot of parents, the sleepless nights is effecting their work performance, their marriage, their LIFE. It did for me. I was cranky. Baby was cranky. My husband was cranky. I remember after one particularly bad night, my husband had a day at the movie planned with his brother. After he left I sat on the couch for the next 3 or 4 hours and cried the entire time(of course baby was sleeping!). I knew then I had to do something! Sleep is also detrimental for the growth and development of babies. So now it is not just about the mom or parents well being, it is about the entire family. So I sleep trained. Because that was right for our family. Do what is right for your family. If co- sleeping works and everyone wakes up rested and happy next morning- then do it! If that is not for you( it was not for me, I have problems sleeping and need to sleep in dark, cold room, with complete silence or sound machine, on my tummy), then consider sleep training. There are tons of methods out there. But most of them will have some crying. Crying is a way of communication for babies, so it will happen. And yes it sucks to hear our little ones cry. But so does waking up the next morning with only an hour or 2 of sleep, with an over tired and cranky baby. At the end of the day, every mom, every parent wants to do the best for their baby and their family. So it doesn’t matter how or if you teach your babies to sleep- it is your decision. Let’s respect and honor the parents decisions instead of shaming or judging. So to the mom who judged me for sleep training, I don’t judge you for not. Because I respect your decision. 

5 things NOT to say to a Mom

As a mom you are constantly doubting yourself and worried about EVERYTHING! On top of that you will have people ask questions or say things to you that makes you want a stick a fork in your eye. 

So I wanted to compile a list of things NOT to say to a mom.

1. Is your baby sleeping?

Never ever ever ask a new mom or any mom this. If your baby sleeps through the night and takes all their naps on schedule from day one-that’s awesome! Good for you! You won the Jackpot! But please don’t ask this to a new mom that looks like she has not washed her hair for a week! Bottom line, just don’t go there.

2. Are you breastfeeding? 

Nope don’t go there either. Do you want to hear about how the baby is having issues latching, supply is low, nipples are cracked, or that the mom is pumping like crazy, taking pills, drinking tea to get her supply up? Do you want her to break down and cry? 

3. Are you thinking of having another one? Or When are you thinking of having another? 

I was asked this in the first couple of weeks of giving birth to my daughter. This was not what I wanted to be asked. My body had just cared, nourished, and pushed out a 6 pound baby! I was still bleeding. The thought of going through it again made me sick. 

4. Enjoy this time with your baby. Don’t you love the cuddles ?

Yes yes I love the cuddles. But I also love sleep, and going to the bathroom (by myself). In the first 6 months when I heard this I wanted to punch people. Yes I loved my baby and I loved that she slept in my arms. But most days I wanted to eat, sleep and pee in peace. So no I was not enjoying it. The fact that I didn’t enjoy it, made me feel like something was wrong with me. 

5. Don’t worry you will lose the baby weight in no time. 

No I won’t. It will take me years. And even then it might not happen. Don’t give me false hope. Or tell me about your cousin that lost all the weight she put on in the first month. I am just surviving day by day at this point. Losing the baby weight hangs over new moms like a black cloud! Don’t go there. 

Moms, what are some things you have been asked that made you want to punch people? I would love to hear your feedback! Comment below! And feel free to like and share! 

Letter to my 18 month old Daughter 

Dear Zara

You are 1.5 years old now. You are growing so fast. You can run and dance ( sometimes both at the same time). You talk a lot! But most times it sounds like baby talk. You have mastered a couple of words: Mama, Dada, Papa (Puggles the dog), No Way, Ball, Book, Bed, Bath, Star, Bunny, Dino… the list goes on and on. You love to give hugs and kisses to Puggles and all your stuffed toys. Your favorite is Pinky, a little pink lady bug lovey that you sleep with. 

Recently you fell ill. It was the most sick I have ever seen you. I was stuck at work and you were with Dada,  but when I got to the hospital, you reached for me and cried, ‘Mama’. It broke my heart to be not with you. And I am sorry for that bubba. 

Mama is struggling bubba. I miss you when I am at work. When I am at home I am too busy organizing our life: bills, budget, groceries, meals, laundry! On my day off I struggle with deciding if I should spend the day with you or doing house chores or get that haircut I have been meaning to get for the past 3 months. I am overwhelmed. I have my shortcomings. I do not let anyone help me. I do not ask for help. Your dad is my rock and I do not let him help me. 

I know that I have to do something about this. I don’t want to let the stress overwhelm my life to the point,where I miss all the important milestones of your life. Momma has to take care of herself so she can be there for you. 

You are the light of my life Zara. And I do not remember what life was like before you. I want you to know that you bring me joy. You are not the cause of my stress. You are the reason I wake up every morning and take on the day. You are my source of strength. 

Love you forever Zara bear!