*This is an opinion piece and contains information that worked for us. You’re welcome to try what we did*
I put that disclaimer up here because even though Sleep Training babies is a real thing and not one for the faint-hearted, I am still writing it from my heart and not my head.
Why? Here’s why.
When I met Sassi, not the first time in the OT or even in the room an hour later, or even when we went home. Perhaps sometime within the first week of her life when I started feeling more like a mom and less like a deer caught in headlights. So when that point in my life came in, I promised myself I will raise her more with my heart and less with my head.
Anyone who has known me for over a week knows my fixation with logic and all matters head. My baby I wished to raise with my heart.
In this entire race against Time where we live our lives like a rat, always running and not knowing where we are headed, I want to raise a child from my heart. Feel her. Listen to her, see her. Every coo, every turn of head, raise of a brow or a tiny smile.
Which brings me to the sleep training part. The world was an overwhelmingly bright and shiny, new place for her when she got here. I GET how she wanted to cling, I get that at 8-9 Months she suddenly realised Mum can get up and go and separation anxiety hit her like a train in the dark, I get the helplessness of being so small and non-communicative that crying is all you can do to share any information. So I decided to follow her lead. She gets fed when she wants to (Feed on Demand), eats what she wants to (Baby led weaning), Gets the toy she jumps at, then why must sleep be any different?
We went with the flow.
Past the initial few months once she started wanting to stay up to just play and not be upset or in pain (gassy!) we would follow her lead. Dying to pass out, there were so many sessions of tickle monster, singing made up songs, rocking, airplane flights, this stuffed toy chasing that stuffed toy, naming all our toys (yes. ALL. Imagine the time we had) and what not. Around 16-18 weeks she started waking up only around twice a week in the middle of the night. At week 23, she slept through the nights flawlessly, continuously to date.
The trick? Feed them before they wake up in hunger.
To date S has a 2 hour digestion cycle I feel. So once it’d be around 2 hours since she last nursed, I’d feed her in her sleep. A week or so and she started prompting feeding in her sleep herself.
Part deaux of trick? Cosleeping worked for us.
She would roll over and tug at me in her sleep for food, nurse and roll back away.
More recently at 10 Months or so she has dropped most of her night feeds too.
Please note, none of this was prompted. Which means these are perhaps natural milestone babies are supposed to come around to naturally and by themselves. Because no one taught this one. She’s doing it all on her own.
I personally (very personal and emotional opinion) feel Cry It Out must break something inside that tiny developing brain. Not IQ or brain function-wise but mostly emotionally. I read somewhere that during wartimes many orphaned babies were brought somewhere and since there were so many of them there wasn’t enough staff to attend to them. They cried and cried unstoppable for a few days but eventually, they stopped crying. Because they learned that no one will come. There’s no one who will come to comfort them.
We have a lifetime to develop self sufficiency, let’s learn to love and be loved first.
Saying a little prayer for my darling daughter’s beautiful life and that she loves and forever remains loved by all around her.
Most of them at the very least.