We didn’t sleep train. Spoiler alert, our daughter sleeps just fine.
With all things parenting, I believe it’s important to do what’s best for your child and family. There’s no one-size fits all and it’s not competition. Whether you sleep train or go with the flow, we likely share similar goals of nurturing self-soothing in our child and sleeping for everyone.
So, why didn’t we sleep train? Well, we tried for a brief period at the 5-month mark. Of the various methods, we tried cry-it-out, fading sleep, and check-and-console. Nothing stuck. Nothing felt natural. Veteran parents encouraged us to keep trying. Like a badge of honor, they told us it was hard.
And it was. It was more than hard, it was distressing. The first pieces of motherhood for me were safety and love. Letting Henley cry until she gave up didn’t feel like love. And it wasn’t helping me find sanity as so many parents claimed. My instinct was to soothe her. Holding back that instinct threatened to crumble my soul, cry by cry. I kept wondering, how was Henley supposed to understand I was trying to do what was “best.” She was still so new to the world.
I didn’t want to keep fighting my instincts. Not to mention we weren’t succeeding. While our fellow parents were finding success with the cry-it-out method, we were floundering and not sleeping in the process.
We ditched our efforts and embraced Henley’s natural rhythm. We’ve had some rough nights when she’s been feverish or stuffy. Otherwise, we’re trucking along with our co-sleeping, let her lead, nighttime rhythm.
That rhythm isn’t totally predictable. Depending on her day, how she feels, the length of naptime, she’ll go to sleep between 8:00 and 9:00 in the evening. Most nights she likes to say goodnight to the world and read the same three books, but some nights she just wants her back patted. Luckily, at two years old, she asks for what she needs. And when she was younger, a little lavender and two rounds of “Hush, Little Baby” in my arms did the trick.
If you’re recoiling at the idea of me letting my child fall asleep in my arms and missed the subtle co-sleeping mention, don’t worry I’ve heard it all before. (Read about our co-sleeping journey here.) Back to Henley, she self-soothes just fine. She gets plenty of sleep (10 hours in the evening, 2 during nap). And she follows a sketch of a routine each day. But she’s also getting to articulate her preferences and needs, she’s trusted as a person (+hopefully trusts us), and we’ve fostered some adaptability along the way.
While it’s not for everyone, skipping the sleep training made sense for us. Henley’s doing just fine and so are we.
Any other skip the sleep training parents out there?