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. 

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