Well, that’s evil.
I’m not letting my baby just cry until he falls asleep.
That was basically my thought process anytime anyone mentioned that I should consider sleep training my son.
Let me backup a bit here. I had my son in May, after a HARD pregnancy and after moving 1500 miles from “home” where we had no formal support system and pretty much zero help. It was okay when he was first born because my husband and I were both school teachers, we had the summers off. So we had the baby and then we were home together for the entire summer. This isn’t to say that the first 3 months of my son’s life were picture perfect because they were far from it but it’s a lot different when there are two of you and you can tag team with sleep at least a little bit.
The real trouble started in August when we went back to work. I couldn’t handle it, being up all night and then going to work…where I was expected to function during the day.
I just couldn’t
I had nothing left in me.
I was trying to be a good mom.
I was trying to take care of it all.
But I couldn’t.
I went to see my doctor and when asked about my mental health I broke down crying. My depression and anxiety (something I had struggled with looooong before kids) was spiraling out of control.
I left with an order for my doctor that day. An order to start getting more sleep, no matter how it happened.
I bought every sleep book that I could buy. I hired a sleep coach and devoured anything and everything there was about infant sleep.It seemed to me like they all came down to the same thing, let your baby cry.
So, in a desperate attempt to get more sleep, we went for it. We tried the different methods and none of them work. I’m talking hours upon hours of crying….me and the baby.
I should have mentioned earlier that I’m a rule follower. So, if you give me a set of instructions, I follow the rules. If they said set the timer, I set the timer. If they said stay outside the room, I stayed outside the room.
The God’s honest truth? All of it felt like bullsh*t to me. I had maternal instincts, I had my gut feelings…but I was burying them with carbs as I listened to my baby cry.
But then I did a beautiful thing.
I took everything I knew AND I trusted my gut instincts. I let “rules” be my compass but my heart be my guide.
Within a week I figured out quickly what would work for my stubborn little guy. It didn’t happen overnight and it took a lot of tweaking but he slept. We slept. It was amazing (and terrifying all the same time!)
It was shortly after that I decided I needed to do something about the way “sleep training” was perceived. I basically get these ideas all the time that I need to change the world and try my best to act on it. So, I did. I studied pediatric sleep and got certified and I’ve since published my own sleep method. I talk to moms all over the world now trying to be their compass and encouraging their hearts to be their own guide.
…and we have success.
…we get their babies to sleep without letting them feel like shit for doing something that didn’t feel right to them.
Sleep training isn’t evil mamas.
The part about sleep training that has been demonized by so many is this need to follow a hard set of rules and if you’ve learned anything about motherhood by now you know rules don’t mean anything.
Put the rule books down. Find a compass to help you follow the direction you need to go in but ultimately you have to let your heart guide you through the narrow roads of motherhood.
Bethany Jacobs is the creator of Latched and Attached (visit it here) where she works with families to overcome sleep and lactation troubles. She holds a certification in lactation consultation, sleep counseling and is a postpartum doula. Overall her mission is teach women to take care of themselves and answer the needs of their body, mind and spirit without feeling the guilt that mothers so often feel.
I can say from experience that Bethany is great to work with, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org for information and tell her that you saw her at A Mom Around Town!
If you are looking for sleep help from A Mom Around Town, you can also see Tonja B right Here!