First of all, I want to say this approach might not suit everyone’s lifestyle. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea. This post describes a personal experience and what methods felt right for us. I decided not to sleep train my baby and it had the most surprising results. Not to say, we proofed everyone wrong, who told us this was a mistake. Here is how no sleep training worked out for us.
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Why I Decided Not To Sleep Train
From the day my baby was born, I knew there were a few things I won’t have to teach him: How to find my boobs, how to pee in his diaper and how to sleep. Newborns sleep up to 18 hours a day, if we train them or not. In fact, even before birth a baby spends more time asleep than awake in their mom’s belly. So in my opinion, they know how to go to sleep – probably even better than I do. I also knew, as a baby grows and changes, we as parents need to stay flexible and adapt to cater for their changing needs. With this attitude and absolutely no motivation to do otherwise, I decided not to sleep train.
My Personal Experience With Sleep Training
During a developmental leap at around 6-7 months, my boy went through a sleep regression. After talking to family members and a GP about this, I eventually felt pressured into sleep training. So I read the books, listened to the advice and started to ‘gently’ sleep train my up to then sleep-untrained baby. Of course, we didn’t use a cry-it-out method, as I simply do believe it causes more harm than that it can be useful.
Long story short, we had four stressful weeks of almost no sleep whatsoever and lots of tears (by an super exhausted me). I then decided sleep training just doesn’t work out for us and we went back to our proven, probably more unconventional ways. Guess what, we instantly got our sleep back. Anyways, baby’s go through developmental leaps and undergo sleep regressions every now and then, if we sleep train them or not.
How No Sleep Training Worked Out To Be Best For Us
No, I don’t sleep train my baby. When I say that to fellow parents, I usually get a shocked expression and some unsolicited advice on how my baby will never fall asleep on his own and I will never get him to sleep through the night. Well, they are wrong. It works for me and it works for my baby.
Yes, we do have a bedtime routine. But it is flexible, depends on my baby’s mood and has changed like a dozen times over the past few months. That is just how it works for us.
So, what does the reality look like without sleep training? Do I run around with dark circles under my eyes, get no sleep what-so-ever and have a baby that never wants to go to sleep? – Well, sometimes. Just like everyone with a young child. That’s what being parents to babies is like.
What the reality of no sleep training looks like for us
When bub was a newborn, he almost always napped on my arm. It was no problem, since I was recovering from birth anyways and had no other children to look after. Whatever I needed to do, I did when bub was awake in his bassinet or in the carrier. I also used the quiet time sitting down with a sleeping baby on my arm to start my blog. At night time, I usually sang and nursed him to sleep, then waited about 10 minutes till he was asleep deep enough to put him in his cot right next to me. Most nights, he slept 4 to 6 hours at a time.
After his newborn phase, his nap times and sleep habits seemed to have changed. My baby boy almost always fell asleep when I vacuum cleaned while he was in the carrier. So I simply vacuum cleaned with him in the carrier around his nap times. Sometimes, when his mind seemed to be too restless, I even used the vacuum cleaner right before bedtime (luckily, our neighbors never minded) and he snoozed off. Some nights I read a story, some nights I sang. But he still preferred to sleep very close or to have his naps on my arm. Against all unsolicited advise, I responded and still respond as soon as he wakes up or cries. I keep lights dim, take him out of his crib and nurse him back to sleep.
Suddenly, around the six months mark something changed. Baby boy didn’t want to nap on my arms anymore. He preferred to either sleep in his bassinet or his cot and didn’t want to cuddle at all. I honestly was a bit sad, but also very excited as I had some more time to myself. From this moment on, even at night time there was no way he wanted to be rocked or sang to sleep anymore. At nine months, he still very often wants to be nursed in bed or at least have his dummy. But mostly right after dinner and bath time, he just wants to listen to soothing tunes of his toys until he dozes off.
No Sleep Training Works Best For Us
To sum it up, I didn’t sleep train my baby and in contrast to what I was told, he doesn’t take ages to fall asleep. He has a regular sleep schedule and sleeps independently. But his cot is right next to our bed, so he knows I’m there. I still respond every single time, when he wakes up during the night. Usually, he only has one quick feed at 3 a.m. and sleeps through the night otherwise. He knows, I am always there when he needs me and so he feels secure enough to sleep on his own.
Of course, we had difficult nights and we had easy nights. We had nights were bub had difficulties to calm down and fall asleep. And we had days, were his nap times were just out of wack. But every baby goes through phases like that, if you sleep train or not. With patients, flexibility and understanding my baby’s needs, no sleep training worked out best for us.
This might not suit everyone. Also, I’m definitely not trying to convince anyone to stop the sleep training, if that is what works for them. But if sleep training doesn’t feel right for you and people still come up with all the reason why it is a mistake to not sleep train, don’t let them discourage you. My baby has surely not been the best sleeper every night. Nonetheless, not to sleep train and do what felt most natural instead worked out to be the best way for us to get comfortable sleep.