Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
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Controversial parenting topics: Sleep training

Welcome to post #2 in my series, of controversial mom things I did and didn’t do, and how I feel about them. (See the whole list below.) When I was in the trenches with a newborn waking up every 3 hours, and then a 4-6 month-old taking 30-minute naps, I read every single thing I could online and didn't think sleep training or teaching of some kind was that much of a choice. But since, I've seen some moms sharing they didn't do any sleep training, and figured maybe this topic was more divisive than I remembered (?) and maybe my perspective was worth sharing.

  1. Breastfeeding
  2. Sleep training
  3. Co-sleeping
  4. Babywearing
  5. Baby-led weaning
  6. Cloth diapering
  7. Potty training
  8. Daycare vs. nanny
  9. Transitioning from the crib
  10. TV time

Sleep training

I had a really hard time with newborn sleep with both kids, but particularly with Otto because it was such a surprise. I imagine most people have a hard time with this, except for occasionally people get really great babies! But mine were pretty normal, waking up every 2 to 3 hours for the first many many weeks. I spent lots of time googling how to get them to sleep better and almost everything I read suggested a few key things in the first 4 months or so, and then sleep training. 

So I did everything I was supposed to do: put them down drowsy but awake, don’t feed them to sleep, swaddle, shush noises, rocking, etc. Actually I did this a lot better with Lucy because with Otto I was hopeless that he would ever be able to fall asleep by himself… With Lucy I didn’t have as much of a choice because I had another kid to watch. I wrote a blog post here about how I did it so much better the second time around. But anyway, those are the newborn days… 

Then comes the 4-month sleep regression when things get really hard, and then around 6 months the experts say you can sleep train. This doesn’t always mean the Cry It Out method, but I’m pretty sure always involves some crying. We did a modified Ferber method, from the Taking Cara Babies course. It really worked. With Otto we sleep trained around 6 months but then I was still feeding him once around 4 AM until he was 10 or 11 months, I don’t remember why. It was not necessary! With Lucy we also cut the feeds except maybe a dream feed at 6 months, and I have been sleeping through the night since then. (!!! Hallelujah.) 

Lucy's nursery

All of that is backstory… Sleep training is controversial because some people have said that letting your baby cry can cause attachment issues later on or damage them… The research has not proven this, in fact it shows that sleep training decreases maternal/parental stress, and the babies really do sleep better. I was a mess when the kids were waking up every 2 to 3 hours. Jason was too. Our marriage was struggling, my ability to take care of toddler Otto was reduced, I couldn’t do anything, I felt stressed and anxious… We got a lot better through the techniques I shared here, but when we were able to sleep train and sleep through the night it was really a game changer. (See all my posts related to baby sleep here.)

It really changed the way I felt about parenting, made me way less resentful. And therefore a better mom and more in love with my baby! Just my personal experience here, but I absolutely do not feel bad about teaching my kids to fall asleep by themselves early on.

Two rounds of the ABC's and put her down for nap or bed. Been doing it that way since she was tiny!

The posts in this series are meant to be me sharing my personal experience only. 100% no judgment if you did things differently! If you don't like the sound of what I did, no worries! I'm just sharing for those of you out there who are interested. Best wishes to you no matter what you choose!

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