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Do you want more sleep?   Yes! I need more sleep.

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  1. Fenn says:

    So what you’re saying is that even though you’ve created an entire website on baby sleep and sleep training and developed other resources as well, your own sleep training didn’t create a permanent solution? Couldn’t be that nothing youbtwach is scientific? Could it be that your ideas on sleep training are not causation (do X and Y WILL happen) but only correlation (do X and Y MAY happen)? Previous poster is right; sleep isn’t a problem. Babies are not capable of “self-soothing”. Their brains have not developed that skill. “Sleep training” is either encouraging a behavior that already occurs or forcing a behavior. It’s not an actual solution because their is no problem. Sleep training is exactly like potty training; it doesn’t exist. Just as you can’t force your child to develop muscle control and an understanding of how going to the bathroom works, you can’t force your child to develop emotions and skills that don’t yet exist. Children WILL 100% “grow out” of “poor sleep habits” because their brains will develop emotional control. And yes, that means that some toddlers will experience “sleep regression” because their brains aren’t actually developed to fully process emotional control over the fears they experience as we force them into separate rooms and away from breastfeeding and into school. What we really need to do is stop trying to force babies to be adults and recognize what is their brain capacity at the time and that it is not the same as an adult.

  2. Jill says:

    Great article. I needed a way to help my son learn to manage his fears without minimizing them. He’s just transitioned to a big boy bed, too, so we’re going through another bout of sleep training as well.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

  3. A says:

    JB, I’ve been wondering if the realistic options are to either sleep train or co-sleep. Before my baby was born (now 6.5 months), I thought he would simply “grow into” increasingly longer sleep stretches. Now I’m beginning to think that won’t happen. Of course I’m doing little things here and there, but no strict sleep plan yet. And I’m wondering whether there’s no middle ground between co-sleeping and crying it out. I do bedtime routine, let him fuss a bit if he doesn’t fall asleep nursing, etc, but he still wakes quite a bit.

  4. JB says:

    Hello, yes I’m the “commenter” who caused such a controversy last week:) I still stand by my belief that frequent waking is not a “problem” that a child needs to be trained out of. However, I completely left out some relevant information.

    The main reason I don’t see it as a problem is b/c I decided to co-sleep to deal with the “issue.” Co-sleeping was not my initial plan, but it’s what I found that worked in dealing with her frequent wake-ups.
    Co-sleeping helped in 2 ways to help us both get sleep and not feel “sleep-deprived”: First, the baby never had to fully wake-up to get my attention. She would just half-wake and I either patted her back to sleep or nursed. Secondly, I never had to get up from my warm bed to go attend to her in another room. Stopping that allowed me to get way more sleep. Like I mentioned before, she is sleeping a lot better now without much training.

    I understand that co-sleeping is not for everyone, but for anyone who is unsure about it, it might help your situation.

    Nicole, I completely agree that children need to be taught many things. But I guess I view sleeping like walking, talking, and other developmental milestones. We don’t force our children to walk at an early age b/c it’s inconvenient to carry them…or force them to talk early b/c we can’t understand their babbling. We allow our children to develop at their own pace. I just don’t understand why we have such an obsession with training our babies to sleep at an early age. And I’m asking that sincerely. I think we’re one of the few cultures that has this concept of “sleep-training.”

    But maybe I’m completely in the wrong, and I’m not teaching my daughter to properly sleep (we’ll only know the answer to that when she’s a little older).

    Nicole, I’m in no way discounting what you do. I know you’ve helped many families with this difficult issue, and I wish us all luck in this area–despite which route we choose to take.

    Thanks everyone for being so open-minded to other opinions/suggestions. Very interesting discussion indeed!

  5. Pamela C says:

    Your articles are always so insightful. Your children are lucky to have such a great mom.

    • @Pamela Aww! You’re so sweet. Thank you! 🙂

      @JB Haha! There is no “controversy!” 🙂 It is such a valid comment/question! And, I really think there isn’t one right answer. We co-slept and it just didn’t work for us, only because I constantly worried we’d roll on him or smother him or he’d fall out of the bed, etc. But, even if you don’t co-sleep, there are soooo many factors at play: how your baby responds to sleep deprivation, if he’s waking “too much” (whatever that is to your baby), how you respond to it, how much help you have, how many night-wakings you’re talking about, etc. If we have a “village,” it is different than you being on your own, too. I know one mom whose in-laws live with them for the sole reason of helping with the baby. We all simply don’t have that. Even when my in-laws or my parents are here, they only help so much. 😀 And, I completely agree with you that sleep is a developmental milestone, so let me ask you this: If your baby was not walking at 2 years old, would you begin to take him to therapy to “work” on it? I believe you would. It’s not a question of whether sleep is a developmental milestone. It absolutely is. But, there are also habits at play. Do I expect a 4 month old to sleep all night without feeding? No, not at all. But, if a 4 month old is waking up every hour, that is excessive, even for a 4 month old. I actually fed both my sons once a night until they were a year old. It’s about knowing your baby and knowing what’s a “need” vs. “want” or habit, in my opinion. If a 9-month old is waking twice to feed, even though most are waking just once, that still may be developmental. We may lightly “work” on it, but if it’s not meant to be, we wait longer. So, if you’re co-sleeping and your baby wakes briefly and you go right back to sleep and everyone is happy, there really isn’t a “sleep problem” at all. But, some babies co-sleep, wake a lot, can’t get back to sleep without bouncing/walking and mom physically has to get out of bed, or mom can’t go right back to sleep after nursing for 15 minutes, etc. There are so many factors to consider. And, when it came to my son, my sleep deprivation was bad enough, but honestly, if he was at least happy being sleep deprived, it may have been different. But, he was MISERABLE. He has had a much happier life having been “sleep trained” ya know? So, in your case, it doesn’t sound like you have “sleep problems” at all! And, I think that is FANTASTIC! 🙂 And, even if your daughter has “issues” later, that doesn’t mean you are doing anything “wrong” today. They go through so many phases and by no means do I think co-sleeping is a bad thing and you are doing a disservice to your daughter. It is what you both need right now, it sounds like. 🙂 Thank you for your comment! I had already started writing the article about my recent re-sleep-training and your comment added a lot to it, so thank you!

      @A There is a lot between co-sleeping and sleep training. We actually work with families who want to continue co-sleeping, but just want baby to stop waking so frequently. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but it doesn’t hurt to try! 🙂 And, we definitely work with families all the time without cry it out, who don’t co-sleep. Your baby’s temperament and personality are big influences on how they respond to changes in routine. Good luck!

      @Jill You are very welcome! The fears are definitely tricky to deal with. Good luck!!

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