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Family Parenting Toddlers

I’m Not Going to Sleep Train My Toddler

Sleep-training is a popular trend, but it may not be what works for your family. Some habits are better off left to develop naturally, and your kids won’t want to sleep in your bed forever.

Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

I’ve been thinking about sleep training for months. Ever since Hallie came to dominate my bed, I’ve been considering how to get her to sleep in her own. We have had a few rounds of battle in this war, and Hallie has won every single time. It was a miserable few days every time we tried, and it always ended in me being too exhausted to continue the fight. There was also one time where Hallie become so distressed that she overate, and then promptly threw up all over me. It was projectile, and there were chunks. I haven’t made any attempts since.

So why the complete rejection of sleep training? Perhaps I could try a different method. There’s a million books and suggestions. And maybe I should try for longer than a few days. Hello, don’t I know that it’s going to take more time than that to be successful? Well, honestly, I super don’t care.

We All Sleep Fine                                                                                                                     

My husband sleeps like crap regardless, so he doesn’t really count. I’ve also told him that if he is ever unhappy with the sleeping arrangement, we can consider a strategy and work as a team to sleep train. He hasn’t spoken up about anything, so I am going to assume that he’s not interested in sleep training or is too lazy. Either way, that  means Hallie stays in our bed. I know I sleep better without having to fight her back into her bed, and really, so does she. Hallie loves to have one arm on each of us (and a leg) and she sleeps much more soundly, for longer periods of time.

The Cuddles Are Great

Who doesn’t love baby snuggles? I love snuggles, and my husband loves baby snuggles, but not all night snuggles. He would really prefer his own space (which doesn’t actually exist even without Hallie in our bed) but the last thing he wants is me snuggled around him all night long. Hallie, on the other hand, loves the snuggles too. I get my cuddle buddy, Louis avoids the cuddling (unless Hallie is smooshed against him, which she likes to do), which creates happy sleepers.

I Won’t Force Independence

Hallie doesn’t seem ready to sleep by herself, and I won’t force it. She is very disconcerted if we aren’t there, and I don’t think it will negatively impact her future. Among all the studies claiming the success of sleep training, there are ones pointing out that it really doesn’t matter. As long as the child is well-supported, they turn out alright. No need to fix what isn’t broken, and Hallie is well-ahead on all her developmental milestones.

These are the tips I would suggest for healthy and safe co-sleeping:

  • Do not co-sleep with an infant without the proper precautions, such as a bed-side crib or bed-sharing item. You’ll also have to restrict yourselves to the same standards as a crib, such as tight-fitting sheets and no loose blankets.
  • Do not ever co-sleep if you are taking certain medications or drinking alcohol. These can inhibit your responses while sleeping and make it more difficult to respond to your child.

Personally, I was more comfortable sleeping with Hallie when she was older. Up until at least 6 months, Hallie slept in a bassinet or her crib beside our bed. Choose whatever works best for your family, just make sure to do so safely. And don’t forget these awesome benefits to co-sleeping:

  • Co-sleeping makes breastfeeding easier. The baby is less likely to be completely awakened because you can get a nipple in their mouth much quicker, and then you get back to sleep easier too.
  • It has also been suggested that co-sleeping helps prevent SIDS, allowing infants to better regulate their breathing in response to the close proximity of the mother.

Our current situation works. Louis and I get a few hours of peace, because at bedtime, Hallie will lay down in her own bed and sleep there, anywhere from 1 to 5 hours. The longer stretches are rare, but even the single hour to ourselves gives us a moment to focus on us. We hang out together, talk about our day, and just relax together without a child in between.

As Hallie gets older, I might encourage her to sleep in her own bed. But I’ll never expect her to sleep through the night. As an adult, I don’t sleep through the night either. I’ll gauge her readiness every now and again, especially as she nurses less at night time.  Until then, I’m going to enjoy every moment with my precious girl. She won’t always want to cuddle with me at night, and I’m not going to rush it.

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