As a new mom, the one thing that you hope and pray for is that your baby will sleep all night. You research every single sleep training method known to man in hopes that one will work eventually. I know I was that mom. With my first being a terrible sleeper, I for sure thought that I would be lucky enough to get a second one that slept all night. Wrong. Both my babies were terrible sleepers, in fact my one year old still doesn’t sleep through the night consistently.
I tried everything possible to get Avery to sleep all night. I attempted sleep training methods from CIO, pick up/put down, chair method to white noise, essential oils, dream feeds, and drinking an entire bottle of wine (oh wait that was me). If it was advertised as a way to get baby to sleep all night, I made sure I tried it out. We even made it through the four month sleep regression pretty seamlessly with these tips HERE but even then, Avery didn’t sleep through the night.
Then one day I said f*ck it and gave up.
Here are the reasons why.
My baby is happy more often then not
Avery is and always has been a happy baby. She is always smiling, playing and giggling. The lack of sleeping all night has not affected her mood one bit. If her daily life or routine suffered from the lack of sleep I probably would have held out a little bit longer before giving up. If she is happy, I am happy.
It doesn’t fit our busy lifestyle
In the early infant days, Facebook mom groups stressed me out with the need to create a schedule for your baby in order to get them to sleep better. I probably read the phrase eat, play, sleep at least a million times which was followed by a stringent schedule on exactly what time naps should be at.
Scheduling nap times and play times around raising other children and carting them around to family science night or soccer practice is not easy. Also try doing it around busy opposite work schedules. Avery napped on the go most of the time and would usually wake when she stopped moving.
I feel terrible when my baby cries
Yes I know everyone feels bad when their baby cries. However, I get irrationally bothered by it. I literally feel the anxiety growing in me until I either just get up and pluck her out of the crib or scream at my significant other to do it.
I attempted the CIO method a couple of times with Avery but each time my heart broke more and more. Yes, I know they are fine. Yes, I know that no lifelong psychological damage is being done. Despite knowing all this, the CIO method was not for me.
I love the snuggles
Avery is so busy right now. She is constantly on the move which doesn’t allow much time for snuggling. In the middle of the night she actually wants to snuggle. She burrows her little body next to you and falls asleep. It is seriously the best feeling in the world. I will take all the snuggles I can get because I know that once she is 7 like my son, she won’t want to snuggle with me anymore.
She will sleep eventually
She will eventually sleep. In fact, some nights she does go all night sleeping and it is like winning the lottery for our poor sleep deprived bodies. I remember my son being a terrible sleeper too but now thinking back on that time, I don’t remember the sleepless nights or even when he eventually slept through the night the first time. So I have resigned myself to the fact that eventually she will sleep.
I’m used to it
Alright, at first I was not used to it at all. There is a reason that they use sleep deprivation as a torture device. Except this sleep deprivation was coming from the tiny terrorist I created. There were nights were I did not think that I would survive and I begged Aaron to get a vasectomy because I couldn’t imagine going through this ever again.
Then eventually I got used to getting up during the night. For whatever reason, my body decided that it could function (and function well) on small amounts of sleep.
So yes, I gave up on sleep training my child and I am fine with it. I am in no way saying that sleep training is bad, in fact, for many families it works for them. But for me, and my child, we are taking a different approach and I am sure all the sleep experts out there are screaming at me from behind their screens.
So what do I do instead?
When Avery shows that she is tired, we lay her down in her crib (yes, she sleeps in her crib in her own room). Some nights she goes to sleep without a fuss. On the nights where she is ready to wage an all out battle, we do our best to encourage her to go to sleep on her own. We lay her down, pat her butt and then leave. If she gets up and cries, we do it again.
When Avery wakes up in the middle of the night, we go in and either pop her pacifier back in her mouth or pat her back and cover her back up. If she really protests then it usually means she isn’t going back to bed no matter what. Avery is at the point where she doesn’t take a bottle in the middle of the night so we do our best to encourage her back to sleep while being as hands off as possible.
It may not be the best way, but it’s our way and it works for our family and that’s just fine.