Saturday, 5 May 2012

Perchance to Dream

It is with a heavy heart that I have just read about another blogger's decision to 'sleep train' her child because, at 14 months old, they 'still' aren't sleeping through the night.  Others' comments expound the importance of enforcing a sleep routine, and sympathise with the supposed 'stubborn', 'strong-willed' child who refuses to sleep when they 'should'.  Now, I know I am going to seriously get some backs up here, and you may all hate me by the end of this post, but here goes...

It's past 11pm and both Lara (26 months) and Sophia (4 months) are wide awake and here in the sitting room with us.  Lara is practising running, flying and stretching (don't ask!), and Sophia is watching her and laughing.  Neither of them will be asleep for a good while yet.  Both will be nursed or cuddled to sleep, possibly in bed, possibly on the sofa, and then will sleep in the family bed with us.

During the night, Sophia will wake for a feed two or three times, and Lara will wake once, or maybe not at all.  All I have to do is turn on my side to feed one or the other, so I barely even wake up.  Both snuggle into me for comfort during the night as & when they need to.

By now you're probably screaming at the screen, or at least have an aghast look on your face.  I know co-sleeping isn't for everyone, and I respect that, but it works for us.  But I must just say that co-sleeping is absolutely wonderful, I highly recommend it, and will post more about the practice another time.

You may not want to co-sleep, OK, but why do you feel the need to force your child to go to sleep at a certain time, and stay awake for a set number of hours?  Can I just ask how many adults you know who sleep through the night?  I don't know any.  Not one.

Most adults wake up at the end of one or more 90 minute sleep cycle, if only briefly.  Many get up to go to the loo, or to have a drink of water.  Many have notebooks by their bed to jot down dreams or things they've suddenly remembered.  No-one says they should be subjected to 'sleep training' because they don't 'sleep through the night'.  Rather, their interrupted sleep is seen as normal.

So why should a baby, who has a far shorter sleep cycle than an adult, be expected to sleep for six or more hours without waking?  Especially when their tummies are so tiny, and their digestion is speedier than ours.

Babies wake usually because they're hungry; because they're thirsty; because they feel alone and panic; because their busy brains are processing all the learning they have done that day and its too much; or, most rarely, because something has disturbed them.

They don't wake to annoy you; because they are stubborn, difficult or wilful; because they are manipulative, or spoilt, or greedy, or any other negative reason sleep trainers and their ilk can muster.  Nor do they not go to sleep at the alloted time for these reasons.

A 14 month old is a baby.  A two year old is a baby.  A seven year old can even have the characteristics of a baby.  THEY ARE NOT TRYING TO RUIN YOUR SLEEP OR TAKE YOUR EVENINGS AWAY!!!!

If you want your baby to go (back) to sleep, feed them, comfort them, rock them, stroke them, talk to them, sing to them.  Maybe they want to get up for a while to be with you, that's not so bad is it?  You are the centre of their world, you matter.  They need YOU.  Not a comforter/dummy/mobile/CD/night light - YOU.

And no, you are not creating 'bad sleep habits', where did that ridiculous idea come from?!  You are giving your child what they need, that's your job!!  They won't be coming round to you to nurse or be rocked and cuddled when they're thirty, not even when they're in their teens.  Perhaps remember that now, and take all the cuddles you can, while you can!

Why does our culture assume that a child needs to be asleep by 6pm/7pm/8pm?  Do you tell any adults in your home when to go to bed?  Do you deny them food or drink or entertainment because you have decided it's their bed time?

Do you know people who are 'larks' and go to bed early because they wake up at 6am?  And 'night owls' who would prefer to stay up way past midnight every night?  We accept this as the norm in adults, so why would we not expect our children to be the same?

Lara is definitely in the owl camp, as are Steve and I.  We can't expect to tell with Sophia quite yet.  But both sleep peacefully until 9 or 10am usually.  If Lara was going to attend school this might be a problem, of course, and we would perhaps need to tweak sleep times a bit, but I don't think we could ever imagine having a set bedtime.

For one thing it's added hassle!  Why not let a child sleep when they're tired?  Why is that such a controversial idea?  Who decided that children would be unable to realise when they were tired, and choose to sleep accordingly?  Surely it can't be that we reach adulthood and suddenly, magically recognise tiredness and the need to sleep.

Sleep is a natural state, a bodily necessity.  Even a very small body must know that.  Be brave and let them develop their own natural sleep patterns and habits.  They will, if you let them.

Before you consider sleep training, ask yourself why you want and expect your child to sleep at the times you set.  Is it to fit in with societal norms?  Is it because you (and our anti-child culture) think it's good for them, or for some reason necessary?  Is it because you want your evenings on your own?  Is it because they have to be up and alert at a certain time, or you do?

How about spending a week, just seven days, living and sleeping according to your child's rhythms?  The first couple of days may be strange as you all adjust to this new idea, but after that just sit back and observe.  Left to follow their natural rhythms, when does your child sleep and wake?  When do they nap?

Both of our daughters have their own natural patterns which they have fallen into.  We are all happy with them, and are relaxed about it, which ensures peaceful days and restful nights for us all.

The only time we ever had a problem was for a few weeks at the end of last year when we foolishly tried to impose a semi-pattern on Lara.  It was awful, and we soon went back to what was natural.  I hasten to add that the only one of use who cried during that time was me!

Our natural sleep pattern is simple, when we're tired we sleep, any and all of us.  When she's tired during the day, Lara will climb up onto a lap, maybe nurse, maybe not.  She recognises when she's tired, and she will then sleep for as long as she needs.

At night Lara asks to go to bed when she feels tired enough, sometimes that's as early as 7pm if she's had a really busy day, more often later, much later.  One of us will go and lie down with her, and may or may not get up again once she's asleep.  She will then sleep in for as long as she needs to the next morning.  If we have an appointment it's different, but mostly we plan life around when we wake, rather than forcing ourselves into an unnatural pattern.

Before you sleep train your child, please, please, please ask yourself WHY you think they should sleep/wake at x time.  Ask yourself why you expect them to be in bed.  If it's to have child-free time, ask yourself why you had children in the first place, surely it was to enjoy them and have fun with them, whatever time of day or night that may be.  Is it so very important that they follow a routine (my most hated word!!), or is it more important that you have an amazing life togeher, tuned in to each other's wants and needs?  And maybe, just maybe, devote some time to discovering their natural sleep pattern.

Whatever you do, please do not let your child cry it out.  A child should NEVER be left to cry, the psychological and emotional damage you are (unintentionally) inflicting is tantamount to child abuse.

To get your child to sleep you could:

  • Rock them
  • Stroke them
  • Hold them and cuddle them
  • Wear them in a sling while you do whatever you need to do
  • Go for a walk with them in the sling, or pushchair even
  • Breastfeed them
  • Sing to them

None of these things will damage your child.  Controlled crying, in whatever form or guise, will.  Please don't do it, whatever society/Supernanny/friends/neighbours/family tell you.  You owe your child more, so much more.

May you all live together peacefuly and happily, whenever and wherever you sleep.

Further reading:

Psychology Today
Digital Journal
Dr Sears
Natural Child Project
Australian Association for Infant Mental Health

And don't forget to enter our competitions!


  1. Since this post is an open attack on me and my parenting I thought it was only right that I respond, perhaps against my better judgement (see post

    I don't see much of the "respect" you refer to in your post when you accuse not only me, but other working(and non working) mothers at the end of their tethers, of child abuse, unintentional or not. That is very hurtful and I thought mummy bloggers were supposed to support one another, not makes their lives even more miserable than they already are (see

    I'm not sure of your situation, but my older son is at school and I have to leave the house to go to work at 7.30 am, often after 2/3 hours sleep night after night. I work not so we can have luxuries, I do it so we don't lose our (small) house. I cannot let my children run around at 11pm at night and sleep in until 10am as you can (though I would not dream of criticising anyone else for making this choice)as at that time I have been at work for hours.

    As it happens I haven't had to leave my son to cry as he has taken to the new structure in his life and slept through straight away. He is so much happier in himself and I feel human again.

    I don't mind a debate, and I respect your approach to parenting and agree with lots of the ideas you have. But you argue that all babies are different, well so are adults, we are all human and we all need different things! Am I not "allowed" to have any time to myself or sleep alone even if that is contributing to good mental health for me, which in turn makes me a better mother?

    I'm trying not to let your cruel words upset me, but I'm afraid they have. The last thing I want to do is leave my baby to cry, but if I do, for a few minutes, that does not make me a child abuser, or even a bad mother.

    1. Oh my dear, I really didn't mean it to seem like an attack on your parenting or your family life. If that is how it came across I am genuinely sorry. I was simply trying to explain that, from a natural parenting viewpoint, there are alternatives. They might not be ones you, and others, had heard of working, or considered.

      I am so glad to hear that your son is sleeping better and not crying, because it does genuinely upset me to think of all of the poor children out there who cry themselves to sleep at night.

      I know the vast majority of parents will only ever do what they think is right for both them and their child, but unfortunately what is deemed best for children has been skewed by Victorian thinking for the past century and a half, and the practices we follow now (routines, sleep training etc) reflect that.

      I fully understand that our lifestyle does not suit everyone, but I hope that by representing peaceful parenting and a nurturing lifestyle, we may help some people to listen to their instincts and not to what they 'should' be doing.

      As long as you and your children are happy and maintaining the lifestyle you want, then that's great. Yes, ours is different, but that doesn't mean I'm judging or criticising you personally, I am just airing my thoughts on the practice of sleep training, and controlled crying in particular.

      I will stand by my opinion, which research backs, that it is a cruel practice. But I hope I can aim to understand other mothers' and families' needs at the same time as disagreeing with some of the practices they follow.

      I am very pleased to hear that both you and your son are feeling happier now, long may it continue. Lx

    2. As a child psychologist and Mom I applaud your post. There is research that shows crying it out is harmful to a baby neurologically. Having coslept with our now seven year old I can say your approach to let your child follow their sleep rhythm will pay off dividends in many ways. I would love to expound but need to run. Will comment more later. Just wanted to say great job.

  2. I wish people would just live and let live. I think it is great that you enjoy your children and that you feel you are doing the right thing. But please get out of your head that it is right for everyone else. Because it isn't. Children are all different, parents are all different and this set up is most certainly not ideal for everyone.
    And just to correct you on one point, I'm an adult who sleeps all night. Every night. I shut my eyes and I open them in the morning. I have found sleep interruptions the closest to torture I have ever experienced. I'm in awe of how you can function in the day having had two little ones waking you up several times a night. But I think it is great... For you. It would not work for me.
    Mum to 2 gorgeous boys (3.5yrs and 21 mths) who sometimes sleep all night in their shared bedroom.

    1. I am very happy for you that this works for you and you family. As I have stated in my reply above, I was not criticising anyone, I was airing my opinion on a practice which many people have problems with, for the reasons stated.

      Very often mothers feel that their baby should be sleeping through by a certain time because it is one of the questions they often get asked, along with the 'good baby' idea. I am simply saying that there is another, more natural way, and maybe it is worth trying.

      I was not criticising individuals, I was criticising the relatively recent school of thought which believes that sleep training and controlled crying are an acceptable form, or even necessity, of parenting.

  3. I am going to say here what I said to pret-a-mummy. Only you know what works best with your family and children. No one can possibly understand your exact situation. I've done co-sleeping and let my baby sleep in her cot and I go by what is right for us. You have your opinion about sleep training and that is fine, but openly attacking another mother for trying to do her best by her family is juvenile and petty. I am sure what you do works well for you, but that is why you do it, because it works. I'm fairly certain that if you didn't find this method of sleep acceptable you would be looking for another alternative. In addition, what you are doing may also be classed as "sleep training" as it is evident by what you say that your children are trained to require your presence in order to sleep. I'm not saying that is a bad thing, but it is just as much sleep training as anything else. I'm truly glad what you do at bedtime works for you, but that doesn't mean it is suited to everyone.

    1. I am so sorry, your comment went into spam and I was out all day, only just retrieved it. I certainly have no intention of censoring comments!!

      I was in no way attacking anyone, openly or otherwise. As I have stated, I was simply trying to offer an alternative to leaving a child to cry, as like many mothers I find this acceptable. I am sorry you found this juvenile and petty.

      My children don't need me to help them go to sleep, rather it is what they naturally prefer. Nature dictates that an infant of virtually any species needs its mother, human babies perhaps most of all, certainly for the longest time.

      Our nearest relatives, the primates, would never think to putting a baby down to sleep, mainly because of the associated risks. Human mothers and babies are not so far evolved from this. It is why our baby's cry tears us apart, and our milk flows when we even think about our baby.

      If I go out, which is admittedly rare because I would rather be with the my family, my husband or another family member helps them get to sleep. Lara will also now, at the age of 2, just curl up on the sofa or in bed on her own when she feels tired.

      Yes, a more natural approach works for us, but maybe it would work for many others if they ony knew about it or tried it. I am trying to get that message out there, but maybe it will be drowned out by the controlled crying message instead.

      However, I am genuinely sorry that any of you feel criticised by my comments, that was not my intention.

    2. Thank you for taking the time to reply. Personally, I don't feel criticised in the slightest. I co-slept with my daughter for 3 months as she was terribly colicky and it definitely made a difference during this terrible time. However, eventually we noticed she was restless in our bed and it was having a detrimental effect on her during the day. She became very irritable and was far less content. We decided to try her sleeping in her own space (moses basket) and found this made a huge difference. She slept better and was far more alert and content during her awake time. Had this not worked we would have persevered with the co-sleeping or looked for other alternatives. I feel it can be very much a case of trial and error as to what works for an individual child or family.

      While I do understand and have heard of many (extreme)cases in which babies have been left to cry for prolonged periods of time, I don't think that in the case we are talking about there was ever any suggestion of a child being left to cry uncontrollably for hours on end without any form of comfort or assistance.

      Although I didn't take what you said as criticism I do feel the suggestion that leaving a child to cry for any period of time is barbaric is a touch extreme. There are times when it is simply not possible to comfort a child.

      I think there is a lot of mis-information out there regarding the variety of different approaches there are to this particular situation. I feel time would be better spent outlining the benefits of each approach, rather than blindly dismissing other approaches if it doesn't fit our lifestyle or beliefs.

  4. Thank you for posting your thoughts. Please excuse me – this may get a little long!

    I do think that you have misread the post a little. Nobody is talking about babies being naughty. Nobody is talking about denying a hungry baby food, or refusing a baby love and comfort. Everybody is talking about trying to reach a balance in which the baby knows that they are completely safe even though they are not at that moment being rocked, or nursed, or cuddled to sleep. The formation of "bad habits" is not a baby's decision to cause trouble, but parents encouraging a dependency upon unsustainable practices in order to become comfortable.

    I love the idea of the co-sleeping that you describe. I am clinically obese; suffer from a sleep apnoea and am about to let breastfeeding go because, after ten months, my supply is failing. Natural is great when it works, but a lot of people simply don’t have perfectly functional bodies.

    Letting a child choose their bedtime is a great solution if you live a very “crunchy” way of life –opting out of a lot of the restrictions of modern life can be extremely freeing, but it is not for everybody. You may sometimes see friends who do not choose to spend their time with children. You may need to get up early to take a child to childcare. If parents have demanding jobs or other commitments beyond the home, it is necessary to try to find a way that works for the whole family.

    If a child is not comforted by feeding or nappy change, does not appear to be unwell or uncomfortable, and does not calm after having a cuddle then it is so hard to know what to do. A baby crying from overtiredness is a particularly distressing sound, but I know that with my son it ends after significantly less than five minutes, and he is out like a light for hours afterwards. Life is exciting – with so much scope for overstimulation whenever you leave the house. It’s no wonder that we do not work on a simple tired = sleep, not tired = awake basis.

    The backlash against letting a child self-soothe is very interesting, and I believe stems from a place of erring on the side of caution. I am sure that, as a co-sleeping family, you will have encountered this attitude before, in particular the case of the terrible posters in the US that compare co-sleeping to sleeping with a gun or a knife. You can see what they are trying to achieve – far too many babies have died as the result of improper co-sleeping situations (particularly parents who have used alcohol, tobacco or drugs) and they simply want that to stop. Unfortunately, in doing so, they have insulted those parents who are responsibly and lovingly trying to do the best by their children. I believe that this is exactly what is happening with this situation – nobody wants parents to misinterpret the methods used and let a distressed baby cry, so it is easier to write off the entire process.

    I am certain that nobody expects children to be convenient – if we wanted a convenient life, we’d get goldfish! Someone who did not care for their child’s welfare would simply ignore them. Eventually, the child will learn that his cries are not answered. Seeking a way to nurture contentment and confidence in a child is a sign of love, even if it considers more than the immediate moment. A child who learns that mummy always comes back even if she leaves the room and that his bed is a safe place is certainly not worse off for knowing it.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      My references to the idea of babies being naughty came form some of the comments on the post, not the original post itself.

      I'm afraid I can't see why rocking or nursing a baby to sleep is an 'unsustainable practice'. I would think it rare also to see a baby who would not be comforted by its mother's presence and touch, however 'overtired' they might be.

      I am sure you don't believe them yourself, but your referemces to the anti-cosleeping adverts highlight an American movement's total misunderstanding of the practice, and I intend to post further on the practice of co-sleeping and the guidance offered.

      Statistically, far more children die from SIDS than die from co-sleeping every year, and most of the co-sleeping deaths are unfortuunately in deprived households where drinking, drugs and smoking may take place, or where unsafe sleep (e.g. on sofas) takes place. In countries such as China and India where co-sleeping is the norm, SIDS is virtually unknown, indeed researchers found no name for the syndrome! (Unfortunately I don't have the references to hand right now, but I'll dig them out for my post.)

      I certainly did not intend to say that people who practice controlled crying are purposely neglecting or harming their children. I believe the vast majority of parents will do what they think best for them, but sometimes we follow societal norms and ignore our instincts at the expense of our children.

      Unfortunately, Western society is not child-oriented, it is driven by economics, and the parenting practices we follow, which surfaced in Victorian times, came about as a way to put the needs of the economy and society above the needs of children and families, parents as well. Perhaps this is why most working mothers feel torn, but do not feel that, economically or socially, they can become 'just' mothers. That is a tragedy.

      On a personal note, I am so sorry to hear that you feel the need to stop breastfeeding. Have you tried taking some time out with baby, just the two of you skin to skin for a few days to see if that will help increase your supply? there are many alternative methods out there, such as herbs, which could also help. Please let me know if I can help at all, Lx

    2. Sorry, I think I may have failed to explain myself adequately regarding co-sleeping. I know that it is a positive thing. I simply meant that you must find it extremely annoying, just as we do, that well-meaning people who have misunderstood something you practice are accusing you of risking your child's health and happiness. I would suggest that you observe sleep training in action rather than dismissing it as simply leaving a child to cry. I've made the same mistake - I used to consider home-schooling to be an irresponsible parenting choice before I understood how it worked. Now that I have learnt much more about it, I recognise that while still not for me, it's an extremely positive process for many families. In fact, I’m definitely overdue on a blog post about how wrong I was and all the interesting things that I’ve learnt!

      I don't believe that it's possible to label someone's parenting techniques "unacceptable" and "cruel", while insisting that you are not criticising that individual. It is not necessary to excuse your views if that is how you feel, and you have given it what you consider to be adequate thought.

      You make a great point about our expectations of how things should be, but I think you have missed out an important segment of society in your assessment. Plenty of women enjoy their careers and also want to experience the joy of being a parent. Then there are those, like me, who want to have a spacious home, to have nice things and to travel, something you can only do with adequate household income. Neither group are working because they are afraid of being "just" mothers, and both have every right to do what they do, even if it is not "natural".

      Thank you for your advice regarding breastfeeding. I am not in a position to take time out in that way. Thankfully, with a background in statistics, a keen interest in reading about parenting issues, and an excellent understanding of science, I am able to recognise that even without further breast milk, my son will still flourish, as the majority of the genuinely causal variables (and therefore benefits mistakenly attributed to the act of breastfeeding) can be maintained - lots of reading and conversation, maintaining a smoke- and drug-free home, good quality diet. I am disappointed to miss out on the lovely experience of breastfeeding, but confident that the decision is right. Not to mention the fact that the little oik seems more interested in tweaking my nipples than latching onto them these days! Please do take a look at my blog if you would like to read more about my breastfeeding journey.

      In case anyone was wondering – yes, I do talk this much in real life.

      (P.S. Sorry - posted using my defunct blogger account by accident)

    3. Thanks for coming back to me again, Becca.

      I'm afraid I could never observe controlled crying in real life, it makes me cry if I mistakenly see it on "Supernanny" or suchlike!

      As for labelling people through condemning what they do, I believe it is perfectly possible to like someone and accept them, without agreeing with everything they thik and do, although there are of course extreme examples of when that might change!

      I have always read Pret-A-Mummy's blog with interest, and that is partly why I was so upset by what I read yesterday, although my reaction would have been the same to anyone practising sleep training in this way.

      I will never excuse our lifestyle and parenting choices, however unacceptable or uncomfortable they may seem to others. But one of my reasons for blogging is to attempt to put natural parenting choices out into the mainstream. This is what I attempted to do last night. Perhaps someone somewhere will find it useful!

    4. While I totally agree that we may all have friends with different parenting styles (Merely Mothers did a great post on this recently -, I don't think I could be friends with somebody whom I felt was treating their child in a "cruel" way. In fact, if I believed that a parent were acting cruelly, I would contact the necessary authorities. I have witnessed the long-term damage that child cruelty causes - one friend was found in a nappy that was several days old when social services took him away from his birth parents, and my ex-boyfriend was beaten regularly by his father. Both still bear the emotional scars decades later.

      Anyway, must remember that blog posts are not chat rooms and stop pestering!

    5. Ha! Too easy to get into debate tho! I will read the post when I get time. Quite agree on child cruelty, seen far too much in my teaching career and elsewhere.

      Thanks again for your interest, Lx

  5. Hi. I had to Google the opposite of nocturnal to reply to this post and apparently its diurnal or crepscular .. But anyway my point is thats what we are so by asking who says its normal so sleep through then I think the answer is simply nature. I know there is research to say ignoring a babies cries causes developmental issues because gaining a response from a cry is the babies first steps in understanding how to communicate but in this case the controlled crying is only being used as a short term measure (I believe its working already) .
    Most people have to be able to function during the day whether its work or a trip to the park or whatever so surly its better for mums and babies to aim to be on the same pattern as the rest of our not nocturnal society. Cath.

    1. We are indeed diurnal, but unfortunately we are surrounded by electrical waves, artifical light, WiFi left on all night, microwaves etc, all of which interfere with our natural patterns. This is why I suggested taking some time to reconnect both with your child and with nature, to see if the natural patterns would re-establish themselves.

      I know my own children struggle to sleep even when tired if the tv is on, or they feel overstimulated by their environment, food they have had, etc. I wasn't criticising, as I have explained above, just trying to say that there is an alternative, a more natural way, which is more peaceful for both mother and child.

      Yes, we do need to be in sync with the rest of society, but we don't need to be slaves to it, and all too often that's what happens it seems. Having to resort to unnatural parenting practices is perhaps a symptom of that.

      I am unable to condone leaving a child alone to cry, even in the short-term. In arms crying is quite a different thing.

      Thank you for taking the trouble to comment, Lx

  6. Controlled crying is barbaric. I doubt any of those 'believers' in it could find a respectable child psychologist to back them up (and no, gina ford is not a psychologist, nor in fact is she even a mother!). Crying is natures call for help, a baby has NO other means to communicate that. By ignoring those cries, even for a few minutes creates lifelong emotional issues. Your choice.

  7. I think the main point is that we all want to do our best for our children, and there are many ways to parent, we each have to choose what works for us in our circumstance, and what we feel comfortable with. I think what's important is to support each other as mothers. And that means sharing advice in a friendly way, not insisting that others approaches are wrong and/or dangerous. There is a massive spectrum of things between total sleep freedom and it's polar opposite of Cry-it out. I co-sleep, but my 8mth old is still asleep by 9. It's not black and white for many of us, but somewhere between the two. Surely we all have to leave babies to cry sometimes- to attend to another child, or a trip to the loo, or to deal with something hot on the oven?
    I support some of what you say, but not the decision to start your post directed at another parent. If you had not done that I would not have had any criticism. I would have enjoyed your post, and taken from it what applies to me and mine, and left the rest as an interesting view into someone else world.
    Best wishes x

  8. Hi Sonya,

    Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your support and understand what you say about the spectrum of parenting. Yes, very occasionally my children will cry without being held, but as you say, it is fleeting.

    I hadn't meant starting the post that way to be a criticism, it was a way in to the issue which I hoped partly explained my emotional response. The post was already half-written in my draft folder, and reading the posts and comments I read yesterday prompted me to finish my draft and post it. That was the only reason I began it that way.

    I am more than happy to alter the beginning if it would go some way to abate the feeling of being criticised. I hope Pret-A-Mummy will read this and tell me if she would want that. As I mentioned to Becca, I have enjoyed Pret's blog, and was both surprised and upset by the decision to sleep train in that way. No, it is not my child or my family, but I hate to imagine the sense of abandonment these children go through, however well intentioned and organised the process may be.

    I knew the reaction to this post wasn't going to be great, but I had hoped it would generate discussion and thought, and that people might take something from it, as you said. I certainly never set out to upset and offend, and, perhaps it does not appear so, but I did choose my words VERY carefully!

    Thanks for your interest, Lx

  9. wow! Reading this makes me feel quite sad actually. We are all mothers, we all do what we deem best and we should all respect each other decisions because ultimately we will all live with our actions.

    I have strong views about sleeping. My daughter has suffered with asthma from the age of 6 month and there is no doctor who wouldn't tell me that "sleeping is healing". When you are unwell, your body tries and sleep it off to get better. To me, giving my daughter the gift of being able to self settle herself to sleep, when in good health, has been a saviour! She has endured 2 or 3 nights of properly-practised controlled crying to get there, but I'm so happy we did it! She quickly learned that, like her mum and dad, she loves sleeping, 12 hours straight, as it happens! And, no, none of us wakes for a pee or to jot ideas in this household. Perhaps we are naturally born Victorian, or rather lazy Mediterranean as that is where i am from, but all of us sleep, for hours, and love it.

    Going back to her asthma, the fact that she is such a good sleeper has been a huge help in recovering fast after each acute episode. She knows that I'll be there when she is unwell and she knows that she can do it on her own when she is recovering which helps us to have a clearer picture on her wellbeing. I personally think this is empowering for us both and her ability to settle herself to sleep has been a great tool for us. I simply know that 9 times out of 10 a slightly restless night means asthma might be on its way and I just increase her meds and hopefully prevent the worst. I'm sure that an attached parent such as yourself would have your own way to be in tune with her health, but for me, the fact that I have her sleep to go by is just a great and invaluable tool.

    I think my daughter is lucky because she has been told that she can sleep on her own, for as long as she want, at times that are socially fitting with our jobs/society/social life. I also think that your daughters are lucky because they have a mother truly committed to be "tuned in" with them. What you do wouldn't work with my lifestyle, my marriage and whatever else, so let's just all do our own thing and not feel sorry for the way the rest of the world live.

    Finally, there is no science to back up a way or the other because there is no clinical studies that you can do on small babies, so let's not bring up science or the word "abuse" into it. It is instincts and cultural influences that guide us through this sleeping issue and I feel happy knowing that, amongst other things, I'm preparing my 19 month old baby to be able to cope with school hours in future. But then some parents homeschool and what not, so, again, it might not be yours or someone else's need to have a child who is getting night sleep rather than morning sleep.

    Each their own, let us all just pat ourselves on the back for doing the best we can for them.

  10. A Blog to me is just that. it's a journal entry. I don't see the need for such defensiveness. I have never sleep trained my child. They fall asleep on their own and babies are for holding. I have come under fire for carrying my toddlers. I have come under criticism for co-sleeping and for nursing them to sleep.
    I don't understand either why people think it is necessary to force children to do X when they're only little once. You do what you think is right but i can say, with teens in the house, that children WILL fall asleep on their own and learn independence. All my kids have given up nursing, given up family bed, and go to sleep on their own and I know the baby will learn the same thing when she's ready. Anybody feeling attacked I would say, this was not aimed at you.. it was obviously a general theory journal entry. This is why I don't blog much. My blog is my opinion and things happening in my life. It is not up to the critique of others.
    attached parents have attached kids and they are well adjusted and they're only babies once.

    1. Well this blog entry has started with the opening line of "It is with a heavy heart that I have just read about another blogger's decision to 'sleep train' her child because, at 14 months old, they 'still' aren't sleeping through the night." and then goes on to compare sleep training to child abuse. To then post a direct link to this on Pret-A-Mummy's blog I would say is aiming it's attack right between the eyes!

      It was after clicking through to this link from Pret-A-Mummy that it was with a heavy heart I read yet another mother criticising a fellow mother. I was actually initially very interested to see what the alternative Attachment Mummy was offering having a 6 month old baby myself. At this age naturally I am more than happy to accept night time waking, however once he gets to 14 months old I am praying we will get full nights otherwise I too will be looking into sleep training. The reason being that I will be back at work and my child will be going to nursery. Much as I would love to roll into work at 11 I don't think the explanation that I live by my own clock would go down too well (apologies if this sounds facetious).

      Unfortunately for us my going back to work is a necessity, and no not because I want to fill my cupboards with Marc Jacobs handbags but because my mother has Alzheimer's. My brother and I are going to be topping up her care home fees so to ensure she gets the care she needs I will be going back to work. Maybe I could be a SAHM caring for both my son and my mother? Well I'm afraid not, the days she has stayed with me in my house have been the most stressful and quite frankly dangerous days in my baby's life.

      Before anyone wonders why I've gone completely off topic and wandered onto Alzheimer's, my point is none of us knows what issues a fellow mother has going on in her life and what sacrifices she may or may not have to make. Fair enough for Attachment Mummy her lifestyle works really well for her. In different circumstances I may even do something similar myself with regard to sleeping and bedtimes. I never had a set bedtime as a child and my brother and I had some pretty late nights. I don't remember if this made us tired for school but my mum believed in letting us stay up to have discussions, watch documentaries etc. as she believed them to be great educational tools and wanted to treat us as equals. Whether this helped or hindered I couldn't say but we both excelled academically. For other children a lack of sleep or boundaries may be a hindrance, all individual I guess and that is the crux of it...If this blog entry had started with the line "I've just read of a fellow blogger's issues with her child's sleep so I'd like to share our experience to see if it could work for other's depending on their circumstances.", the reaction would have been very different.

    2. I think many are misunderstanding this post. Attachment Mummy is not giving her "take" on things, nor is she expressing opinion. She is expressing pure, biological fact. We love to say things like, "Do what's best for your family," but in reality, we are often disconnected from what that really is, due to a drastic shift in values and habits culturally. We don't realize that "what's best for our family" is often incredibly short-sighted. A few extra nights' sleep is not worth the damage to a child's brain and psyche.

      It simply is not best for babies to cry by themselves. If that is a route you "must" take, I would venture to say something isn't right. Your lifestyle may need some evaluating. Yes, many will get defensive about this, but if we are to truly affect change for a more peaceful world, we have to have our eyes wide open to the possibility that what we're doing is not OK (whether it be changing our diet, our sleep, our jobs--whatever!). Yes, it's inconvenient to rock a child for hours when they don't want to sleep. It's sometimes maddening to sing to or bounce a baby that is jittery and isn't going down. But it's respect. And it's biologically appropriate. Babies are not meant to sleep through the night for YEARS, especially breastfed, co-sleeping babies.

      Kathy Dettwyler, a biocultural anthropologist has a wonderful article about this. Please check it out if you're open-minded to the idea that perhaps there is something to the argument that babies SHOULDN'T be sleeping through the night.

      Megan Massaro, co-author, The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby's First Year

  11. This isn't an attack on anyone's parenting style but an acknowledgement of what a baby/toddler biologically NEEDS and expects.

    Sleep training a baby is done at the expense of the little one's psychological and emotional well-being. Any 'satisfactory' results are surface, and the child's submission should not be seen as success but as an indication of a broken soul and heart.

    A child expects to be loved, welcomed and HEARD. If a child is forced to undergo sleep training and/or controlled crying, this basic biological need is inevitably ignored.

    The implications of ignoring our child's cries for help, love, protection, safety and companionship are lifelong.

    Sometimes we just have to get honest with ourselves, as parents, and ask what is wrong with OUR lifestyle that we can't take the time, energy and love to fully meet a child's needs.

    Veronika Robinson, editor, The Mother magazine

  12. Thank you Attachment Mummy for your compasstionate blog post, so lovely to read. Much love and support xxx

  13. Caroline Spear7 May 2012 at 13:51

    I love your blog and totaly agree with you. We did not get "sleep routines" with our 4. We tried a few times and it was exhausting and upsetting. If we treated prisoners as we are told to treat babies / toddlers we would be tried for inhumanity. To ignore the needs of a child, to leave them alone, crying in the dark, because we do not want them around? Well, why did we have them in the first place? Leaving a child to cry raises cortisol levels in the brain, this is damaging. Why do you want to harm your baby?
    We did not know what real sleepless nights were until ours went into thier own room. And the children continued co sleeping with each other. It was a delight to wake up to find out who was in which bed!
    It never made sense to me that we take it as "normal" that a couple share a bed, yet we deny this vary basic human need to our children!
    They have bonded in ways I rarely see with other children (and far more deeply than I with my sleep trained siblings).
    Letting them sleep when they needed to meant we saw more of them, they often woke later in the day, which actually gave me a few free hours at a time that worked for me.
    Ours are teen/ grown up now, they all know their own sleep needs and patterns, and follow them. Following their needs, and allowing them to trust themselves saw a smoothe transition to college and paid working life routines too.

    I wish deep joy and love to all parents and children.
    Caroline :-)

  14. Fabulous! Its lovely to read about a family where the children are being care for AND respected as people.
    I could not agree more with waiting until someone is tired before they go to sleep.
    I could not agree more with the easiness of co-sleeping which makes breastfeeding possible.
    A really lovely article! Thank you for sharing.
    I recently found this article that you might be interested to read... kind of brings it all back to what the Homo Sapien was designed to do, makes you realise that you really are on the right path to bringing up healthy (mental and physical) children in todays world with practises that are fronded upon in this current western-parenting-culture we find ourselves in.

  15. You sound like things are just right for you, I have quite 'alternative' arrangements with my one and only boy whose nearly 6. We slept in my bed until he was about 5 months old, then he would 'wander' in the bed, a cot side helped a bit but when he pulled himself up on it I decided it was time to get a futon and we put that in his own room, but I would still get in it with him to sleep, sometimes I would fall asleep myself, it was absolutely wonderful, seeing that sleeping body there, all soft and warm, safe and sound. My boy now sleeps on his own, on the same futon, in his own room and when he gets up in the morning he comes in and sees me, for a cuddle and kisses, sometimes he dozes off and sometimes he doesn't. I think how lovely that is, I wouldn't want him wandering off and switching the tv on and watching it by himself, which is what some parents I know do, what a lonely life I think. Anyway, your situation is working for you so well done you. Elaine.

    1. Hi all

      It is sad to hear mums feeling attacked by this. I so beleieve we have to support each other - we mammas need each other so much!
      But I can see that Attachment Mummy is talking about childrens needs, not muumy's needs. So its not about attacking anyone, but when you see a child hurt / crying, you may want to protect that child. Its NOT ABOUT ATTACKING MUMMYS!!
      Its hard for all of us. (and in case anyone's about to fantacise about my life, I dont have any family support,no I dont own a house, or go on holidays, I survive financially...)
      But ultimately its about a child's best interest. And that is about not being left alone, crying for help.
      Society is not set up to support mums who want to be able to devote themselves to their children. But we can work together to challenge that, be apreciated as mothers, so we feel able to respond to our childrens needs.


  16. Hello Attachment Mummy - it is interesting to read the responses and to feel the perceived hurt (and I'm sad that is the case) from others when I personally feel none was expressed. I hear that you are pained about the large number of children who routinely cry alone in bed and I feel your courage in expressing what is ultimately a care for children while predicting a less than favourable response.

    My anxiety about children crying alone is partly because babies have no concept of time or any knowledge that their mother will return. I am interested in the many scientific studies which reveal how prolonged crying negatively affects the chemical state of the brain. For me this supports how co-sleeping is an evolutionary survival behaviour. Co-sleeping is when the baby is generally within arms reach, bedsharing is when the child is in bed. I appreciate that sharing sleeping space might not be safe, practical or comfortable for some parents (and is not recommended if the mother is not breastfeeding as she will sleep more deeply and be less aware of the baby). I've also read the studies supporting co-sleeping due to the response time to a child's cries - studies show that when children are responded to more quickly and their needs are met more consistently, this contributes to a child feeling secure.

    Sleep training invariably involves 'controlled crying' or 'crying down'. Sleep training involves 'teaching' your child to sleep. Nursing a child to sleep when they are ready is meeting their need for rest. Babies know how to sleep - they do not require training but they often require the presence of a caregiver. It is totally normal for children to want constant physical contact, we are, after all a 'constant contact species'.

    My main point is that while we can all express an open tolerance for decisions which must, by necessity, suit each family's situation - we must also respect the evidence-based research supporting co-sleeping and bedsharing and the multiple benefits these offer. We must also, for the sake of all children, pay close attention to the research showing the implications of 'controlled crying' on neurological development.

    For those curious to understand more about how children sleep there are great links on including a resource from the Infant Sleep Lab at Durham University.

  17. I can only comment on my own experience and what felt right to me. We co-slept with our children and I breast fed them on demand too. They both naturally weaned themselves and progressed to their own beds around the age of five. I didn't find attachment parenting to be unsustainable. In fact it became less necessary for them as they grew to be confident and more independent. It didn't encourage dependency or bad sleeping habits; they sleep easily and soundly. My children, who are now 16yrs and 13yrs, have always preferred to sleep without a night light and slept through the night long before they finished weaning. Both still feel comfortable coming into our bed for a cuddle and often do when they wake in the morning before getting ready to start the day. I also home educate. My daughter is an independant learner and is on track to get A grades in her GCSEs and will be going to college. She also models which would be difficult if she had gone to school. My son decided to go to secondary school and has a 100% attendance since starting. I'm so glad we provided what they needed when they needed it and they are each doing what they want and enjoy. I will never regret not having the money I could have earned or the bigger home we couldn't afford because I had something much more precious, my young children's company and lots of wonderful adventures, and even though they are now teenagers, sometimes exhibiting irksome teenage behaviour, we still have lots of lovely cuddles!

    1. I only mention the money and the bigger home because they are things we could really use!

  18. (Part 1) I'd like to point out that Pret-A-Mummy was not practicing Attachment Parenting before she turned to her Expert Nanny. AP is informed by child development science and research, not the whims of crunchy-granola types.

    I disagree with Anon above that, in this case, Son 2 will have "lifelong emotional issues." I’m not concerned that Pret-A-Mummy's child will be damaged by CIO; he has loving and attentive parents who are doing well by him on the whole. My reply is not about who is right or who is wrong on the co-sleeping topic. There are a lot of misunderstandings of Attachment Parenting. Pret-A-Mummy (may I call you PAM?) is just another of many who fit a pattern that I'm going to write about, and I only use her as an example because her post was the jumping-off point for this discussion on this blog. I'm sure we can find many other examples at many other blogs (forgive me, PAM for making an example of your blog post even though you are not special in this instance!)

    PAM's writing belies a common problem of parents who "try" (her words) AP but lack the DEEP, in-your-bones, paradigm-shifting understanding - not just "knowing," or "reading a lot about" - of what attachment parenting is, and what it means on a day-to-day basis. Without that deep knowledge, they set the stage for "we tried everything, but nothing worked except [insert non-AP practices]. The AP practice in question (co-sleeping, in this case) is bound to fail in those circumstances because the foundation on which AP flourishes hadn't been built. It also made them susceptible to non-AP suggestions, and so when the right person comes along* and present the non-AP practice in the very way that the susceptible parents are open to hearing it, well, the parents are susceptible.
    *As to who is the right person, who knows? Maybe it's the expert nanny, but why PAM felt she was more qualified that the expert doctor, or the health visitor, I couldn't guess. For other mums, maybe it's Grandma. Or maybe it's just the Nth person to come along, and we're too exhausted and desperate to have any skills of discernment!
    (continued below)

  19. (Part 2) The parents in this case wanted to "try" attachment parenting. Note that PAM didn't write "we are attachment parents," or "we're going to raise Son 2 with AP." They didn't know enough about AP and were unable to see that what they were doing (let's use their lack of schedule here) wasn't working for their child. Y'know, kinda the opposite of Attachment Parenting! Yes, AP is about creating a strong bond that’s most easily formed through certain practices; we’ve seen those lists of what's AP and what's not. But the overarching theme of AP which informs that list is this: KNOW YOUR CHILD and APPLY AP TOOLS THAT WORK FOR YOUR CHILD. So PAM and Mr. PAM did not know that Son 2 was desperately signaling the want of a schedule. I don't know why PAM and Mr. PAM didn't have/want/think of a schedule, but I suspect that a misunderstanding of AP is to blame. Wonder Nanny comes in, gives them a schedule, and she’s a GENIUS! and so it becomes very easy for her to add that Son 2 can cry, alone, in the middle of the night, for at least half an hour. These beleaguered parents have been given "control!" But why did they give away their control in the first place?
    The thing is, the parents should never have lost control. AP does not condone giving away your controls. The parents job is to always be in calm control so that they recognize what's not working, and make changes, and so that the child knows the boundaries and has the confidence that his parents are not going to be tossed around helplessly by the storm of his childish desires.

    So, in sum (finally!), I think that had PAM and Mr. PAM actually been practicing AP all along and had sought AP support and tools when they ran into unfamiliar territory, Son 2 would not be left to cry, wondering what he did wrong to deserve abandonment in the scary darkness of his room.

  20. We tried 'Baby whispering' with DD1- with many tears from us all- but I didn't have the confidence in instincts (I'm not sure I felt I had any then!) so with DD2 I was sure we'd find something better, and we did. Somehow I had more confidence, and less tolerance for crying (anyones) so she slept in our bed and wow, sleep! It was magical, how rested I could be with a young child!
    When she was 5 months I read '3 in a bed' by Deborah Jackson, only to learn we'd been doing it dangerously (phew, we all survived) but it was really affirming.
    Enough so that when we moved when DD1 was 4, we moved into a smaller house and the 4 of us slept in the smallest bedroom which was a giant bed. Elder daughter had more reassurance at night, which I think has helped her, and younger one gradually moved a little further away- I was struggling with working almost fulltime, lots of night feeding that I couldn't sleep through.

  21. Hmm, I find it really interesting that there seems to be so much "we're all mums together, we shouldn't be critical of one another" about at the moment - not just here, but on other blogs and sites I've come across, too. Firstly, I didn't read this post as an attempt to get at Pret-a-Mummy, more as a thoughtful critique of a practice she has chosen; I personally don't see anything wrong with that.
    Secondly, as a co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, autonomously home educating, stay at home mummy of three myself, I don't feel that I am 'in it together' with parents who choose to use controlled crying, time-outs, send their babies to nurseries etc etc, so why would anyone expect me, or another mother in my position, to pretend to some sort of solidarity with them, simply because we have motherhood in common? To see how ridiculous this notion is, you only have to transfer it to all women who haven't got children - what, other than childlessness, would any rational person expect all of that cross section of women to have in common?! I don't have a problem with them criticising my life choices, so why should my opinion offend them, providing it's expressed without animosity? I mean those who are making different choices to mine no ill-will; but I do feel sad for their children. Perhaps it's more important that we honour our own life choices, take what's helpful from what others have to say, leave the rest and make a conscious choice NOT to take others' disagreement with choices that we have made and are happy with so personally? In fact, perhaps it's when we feel that we are on shaky ground in terms of what we ourselves believe to be right that we become most defensive...
    I agree that it's important that we treat one another with respect, but that is different to pretending that all choices are equal - they're not, no matter how much the culture in which we are living encourages us to think otherwise; as others have said, controlled crying (which is completely different to crying in arms or being put down whilst another child is attended to etc) is a technique for meeting the parents' wants, not one designed to meet the child's needs and there is ample research to show that it is damaging to the baby's welfare and the parent-child relationship, in many ways, both short and long term, which, at the risk of being controversial, makes it hard to argue that any informed parent making that choice is trying to do the best for their child, in my opinion. Controlled crying is an intrinsically disrespectful way to treat another human being, so it's ironic in the extreme that those parents who practice it seem to be so vocal about their own right to or need for respect!

  22. Off subject a touch but we are all for attachment parenting. Maybe society would not be in such crisis if parents did not banish children to full time nursery so young.
    Its great reading other parents share our views, most families around us think our children are smothered, I say they are loved and protected. The early years are so precious why give them to a stranger with a childcare qualification.

  23. I read your post at the EC forum and have been thinking about the back and forth arguments all day. I read a lot of parenting blogs and I'm always a bit surprised when parents document their sleep-training course and go on to talk about how it worked wonders and their 4-6 month old baby is now sleeping 12 hours straight!!! Okay, I admit to being a little jealous (if only it were really that simple-ha!).

    Since we're trying EC this time around, I am really curious about those diapers 12 hours later! Who wants to sleep in 10 layers of cloth/wool diapers, eco-friendly disposables, or Huggies over-night-12-hour-super-absorbant-chemical-laden-Winnie-the-Pooh-butt-covers? Yeah, I'll personally take a pass. At 4 months, my wee one still wakes twice a night to pee (and sometimes poop). I am very curious to know how parents who have travelled the sleep-training path approach the potty-learning project later. Even with my 4-year-old who wore cloth diapers and slept with us, I always changed her diaper if it was wet when I woke to nurse her. 12 hours is half of a baby's day--half of her life over the course of years. I can imagine it's tricky to "un-train" a child from sleeping through his/her potty needs by allowing them to sleep long periods of time in a wet (hopefully not pooped in) diaper.

    Self-soothing? A baby really lacks the means to "self-soothe." If I am cold at night, I "self-soothe" by adjusting my covers; if thirsty, I drink some water; if I need to pee, I get up and go to the toilet; if hungry, I get a snack; if worried or scared, I cuddle my husband, etc... A baby can self-soothe how? Sucking on his/her fingers? Crying? Kicking to move a gas-bubble? My four-year-old has some self-soothing skills now--she gets up to pee, she gets a sip of water, she comes to our bed if she's scared. She nursed to sleep until well over 3 years old and now "sleeps through the night" by all relative standards at 4.5 years old (and has since she was about 3.5).

    However, I do have empathy for families that feel so at the end of the rope with sleep deprivation and social expectations that cry-it-out approaches sound appealing. I often hear "Our baby only cried for three nights and then he did it! He slept a total 12 hours straight and now we all feel so well-rested!! How can that sales pitch not sound appealing to exhausted mommies?

    So many divisive parenting topics exist--breast vs. bottle, vaginal birth vs. cesarean, public school vs. private vs. home school, to vaccinate or not, cloth vs, disposable, sleep train vs. co-sleep vs. bed share...really now, if there were only one "right" way to bring up decent human beings we'd seriously be further up the creek than we are already. Short of living in caves, it's hard professing to be 100 percent "natural" while typing comments on a blog while my "attached" baby snoozes in my lap. I think there are far worse problems that children face than the informed parents trying to "help" their babies sleep by using various crying methods. They're at least "trying" something. Some people fail to even try for their children. It's certainly not the path I'd suggest or that works for us, but it clearly works for some adults. I can't imagine their babies are thinking "This is working for me" during the initial set periods of screaming.

    Just keep writing and hope a tired mommy finds your blog first and decides bringing her baby to bed is maybe the cozy way to go. Maybe you'll plant that seed somewhere for someone.

  24. As it is getting late, I don't have time to read all the comments, but didn't want to read your post and run. I applaud your honesty. I hate the controlled crying method and anything to with the baby-intolerant guru Gina Ford. I am co-sleeping and b/f my 21-months-old son, did the same with the older son. I find it the safest option, I know exactly when my child is awake, when he has a bad dream, I just give him a hug or a little pat on the back and he doesn't need to sob himself back to sleep. I don't think we need to justify our way of life to anybody. Just enjoy your children. Love.

  25. i love the content of your post, and agree fully with what you say...but feel it would be far more helpful and possibly influential if you could find a way to change the tone so it reads less critical - I KNOW that's not what you intended and as someone fully in-line with your thinking I don't feel attacked at all, but can see how one could. Maybe enhancing the 'sharing your own experience' which you do so well, and playing down the 'imploring' a little could help. I don't pretend to know how one could write something that they feel so passionate about without it coming accross that way, (I don't even manage so well in conversations) but I feel you have something wonderful to share and some fine tuning at this stage could be really good.... hence the reason for my feedback....but please don't feel criticized by me! ;-)

  26. I have reread you post on a fresher head in the morning and still don't see why some people got so nervy about it. I personally also think taking a child to bed at 6pm is only for the parents' convenience. You cannot expect a child to be alone in the room from 6pm to until you get up yourself in the morning. I think there is a lot of brainwashing in the media and by the so called parenting gurus that babies should fit with your lifestyle, not the other way around, and if you want your adult time, the baby has to be trained not to be an inconvenience to the adult life. I hate that expression "me-time". A rather selfish approach. If you become a parent, you might reconsider your priorities and realise that your life has changed now, It is about your child now, not you. personally I try to avoid the so called sleep-training blog posts as they annoy me big time.

  27. I've just read your post and the accompanying comments with great interest. I consider myself an AP and am quite opposed to leaving babies to cry.

    That said, I found myself in the unenviable position of suffering from post-natal depression and having a one year old who often slept no more than 90 minutes at a time and always needed nursing back to sleep. We did co-sleep for at least half the night, but the almost-constant nursing was exhausting me as I have never been able to do it half-asleep and it always takes me ages to fall asleep again regardless of how tired I am. This mix wasn't good for any of us, I was constantly irritable and my depression was at its worst. I hated how my son would see me cry and yell every single day. I had no choice but to find some way of helping him sleep better.

    I eventually stumbled across a sort of "halfway house" method. At 13 months, my son did cry himself to sleep for a few days, though either myself or my hubby stayed with him until he did, offering constant reassurance. We also used white noise which really made a difference in calming him.

    I have to be totally honest and say it's not the way I wanted to do things. I'm never going to agree that crying-it-out is good for kids in general, only that in my case I had to choose the lesser of two evils. I would never have left him to cry alone and it has lessened my guilt that I did not do so.

    I don't want to seem spammy, but if you or your readers are interested in how we did things, I did write a blog post about it here last year: Please delete the link if you feel I've included it inappropriately.

    My son is now almost 23 months and has continued to sleep well. He is now in a toddler bed and comes into our room to nurse whenever he wants, which can be once a night or three times.

  28. I love this post, amazing. I will email you tomorrow/Sunday maybe even Monday hun x

  29. Its lovely to read about a family where the children are being care for and respected as people.

  30. I totally agree with the controlled crying even though my mother in law again told me today how well it worked for her. Yes well your son (my hubby) doesnt go to bed till 3/4am so I can see how well that routine works. I used to exclusively co sleep with my son but since he turned 1 he seemed to want his own space, he falls asleep on the sofa about 9/10pm and we put him to bed, he wakes up at 6/7am for a bottle which he gets in our bed then we have snuggles till 9/10 when he wakes up. It works for us but as you said we will have to adjust it when he starts nursery or school.


Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!

Comments will usually be visible after moderation.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...