to the anti sleep training mom

letter to the anti sleep training mom

Many of us got the chills when we read your recent article comparing sleep training a child to neglect/verbal abuse from a spouse.

I know I did…

And I didn’t ever really sleep train or do CIO when our daughter was a baby. We did, however, recently spend weeks explaining to our 2.5 year old that sleeping in her room was “more fun” than climbing into bed with us in the middle of the night or having us sit wit her for an hour until she fell asleep.

Our daughter slept in her crib fine all night as a baby… ok and the many times we brought her into bed with us, but it was when she moved into the big bed as a toddler that we needed to “train.” It meant putting her to sleep after a few stories and songs and then back in her in her room every single time she got up to come into ours, kissing her forehead and telling her that she was loved and safe to fall asleep alone.

It wasn’t easy. She would literally scream out,“why do I have to sleep here all by myself?”

It sounded like a reasonable question. So our deal with her was “you can still come in our room but only when the sun came up.”

That way, we still have her come snuggle with us in the morning, because I mean, who can give up those morning snuggles?

It was those nightly kicks and wake up calls were not working for us working parents anymore, (and of course when my husband had a minor surgery).

And that’s the thing.

There are working real life parents out there who try their best.

They do what they can when it comes to sleep and kids, some have nightly routines, some don’t, some train and some don’t.

We all have different shades of life and what works in one house where there are grandparents and aunts to help, may not work in another home where there’s absolutely no one to help and single parent who works 2 jobs.

So I just wonder about when you wrote up that article and what you were trying to say. Who you meant it towards and if you knew what you stirred up.

I know you must despise sleep training and disciplining kids who don’t eat all their dinner, and to be honest, I kind of get it, because I cave at times when it comes to certain things… but the other day at dinner, I told my daughter there’s nothing else to eat since I offered her plenty of options and told her she could get up as I took her plate away.

She cried as toddlers do in those moments. All she wanted to eat she said, was strawberries, which were not on the plate, and the choices of food along with them if I were to give her some berries were a no.

So, I ignored her (the way you would have written about eluding to abuse) and simply said “I gave you 2 choices, you can have some of your dinner options or nothing else.”

I added a kiss on her cheek like I always do.

And after a while of crying that got her nowhere, (meaning no attention from me while I did the dishes), she asked me if she could eat dinner and have the strawberries after like I had also suggested earlier.

So, that’s what we did.

Should I gave coddled her and told her she could have all the strawberries instead of any dinner at all and maybe skipped the ignoring bit to avoid being judged by a mom who thinks that would have been horrible… Maybe.

But that felt like the easier route, the one that doesn’t teach her anything.

I stuck with it not because it’s something I “wouldn’t want my husband or anyone to do to me” but because I want her to have a balanced diet of vegetables and lentils and let her cells thrive on more than berries all day and night long. I would not have let her starve, and as you saw, neither would she.

In the end I care about her so if I tell her there’s nothing else to eat, I’m not abandoning her needs, I’m actually being perceptive to what those real needs are. Unlike your spouse, who is an adult, children kind of need guidance, don’t you think?

We had some mothers here, after your article was all over Facebook, comment saying they wanted to basically crawl in a hole after reading it, because they had sleep-trained their little ones.

These are loving, awesome moms, by the way. Whose kids probably adore them.

And I give you credit, It was a great argument. But unless you are from the medieval times, husbands aren’t around to “show us whose boss” and neither are parents.

Parents who discipline or train are not heartless, and of course by discipline I don’t believe in physical means in any way, I mean the conversation explaining to kids that food is a privilege and eating dinner is more important than playing with their blocks in that moment so they should eat.

That when parents who need to sleep train babies, maybe even use CIO after trying everything, because they might just really need the sleep.

Having her sleep by herself reminded me of when I weaned her from breastfeeding, when I dropped her off at school that first week…

Was I being a horrible mommy I thought? Would she be traumatized for life?

Your article sure did pull on those strings.

When I dropped her off that first day of school, you might argue that I wouldn’t want my husband to leave me at a place with strangers…

Ok  wait…stop.

How ridiculous does that sound?!

She loves her school now, the whopping 2 days she’s there every week, and I’ll tell you, I don’t regret the few days she cried when I had to have her teacher take her and hug her/read to her for a few minutes, (I waited and checked and yes, it was not a long time). I don’t regret it when I see how happy she is there now and how much she has learned there with her peers on the days I work, especially since I feel grateful that I am able to spend quality time with her on her off-day.

So while you tried to prove your point, I would hope that as a grown woman you are okay going to school or somewhere new by yourself, eating all your veggies, and falling asleep without needing your husband the whole time, because if not, my friend, you have a long way from being what a momma is all about…

It’s about being there but also knowing when to let your kid mess up. Cry. Find independence.

It’s about making choices and if your kid is sick, and you let them sleep with you in the bed…you didn’t mess up. And if you didn’t let them in your bed, maybe this time because you are sick, that is okay too.

It’s about not judging other moms, heck, not judging anyone. You teach your child kindness and compassion for others this way. And also as a bonus, how to trust instinct and just do what feels right. What feels right for you, may not be what works for your best friend, and vice versa. And that is totally okay.

Ultimately this mommy thing, is about loving and nurturing and making choices that are in your kids best interest.

And for all the others who know what I mean when I say, you momma, no one else, knows what’s best for your baby. 

-Puja

3 Comments

  • Archana

    Hey! I wanted to clarify that there is a difference between CIO and sleep training. Here’s an article that supports with actual facts rather than emotions. It’s a tricky topic, but it’s important parents are aware with actual biological research.

  • Divya

    Hi Puja,
    Well said! I am currently sleep training my 14month old and its just been a week and there is a big change in his sleeping habbits. Was I ready to do it 6 months back? Hell no ! I would run into the room two minutes after he would start crying . I look back and Im fine to have spent sleepless nights and to have spent an hour to put him to sleep and to rock him and put him on the bed but NOT ANYMORE! With him growing and being more active, I need rest and sleep to function as a normal human being and to be the best mom I can be for him. He is now sleep trained and yes, I let him cry !

    As you said , every parent’s situation is different. 6 months ago, I was not ok with CIO but today, I am . Every parent does their best and what works for their situations. Women/Mothers need to support each other and know in their hearts and mind that they are doing whats best for their baby .

    • Neesha

      Hey Divya,
      Thank you for sharing your story. Out of us 4 chaimommas, some of sleep trained some of us didn’t at all but we never judged..only you know what’s best for your child and your whole family and sometimes you have to do what you think is best. So happy your baby is sleep trained.

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