Sleep training can be a tough topic to discuss since we all have different thoughts and experiences associated with it. I have friends and family members who’ve done the CIO (cry it out) method and have been very successful and I’ve had others (like myself) who haven’t been able to sit through the cries. I want to make sure to say that I respect every mothers’ decision to parent their child in the way that they want and see fit. This post is not about right or wrong, it’s just about what I’ve chosen for my child and what has been working for us.
A little back story (don’t worry, I’ll keep it short not to bore you):
Emma wasn’t the worst sleeper in the world when she was a newborn, but she definitely wasn’t the best. I remember waking up every two ours with her for months. It was utterly dreadful and, frankly, I was turning into a monster. The lack of sleep was bringing out sides of me that I never knew existed and let me tell you, they were NOT pretty. Once she hit months three and four, it got a bit easier. I had transitioned her into her crib and she was only waking 3-4 times at night and I was able to put her down in about 30 minutes. The problem was that once I was up, I couldn’t get back to sleep for another hour or so. I’ve always been a very light sleeper and had similar issues before being a mom. She hit month five and I decided to try the CIO method. I bought the book by Dr. Richard Ferber and began to read like a mad woman. It even had a nice chart to use during the training so you can log in your time spent listening to the cries. I buckled down and decided to try it. I won’t get into too much detail, but I will say that I spent an hour straight crying my eyes out with her to the point where she began to throw up. That’s when I threw in the towel. I decided it wasn’t for me. I wasn’t strong enough. I felt a huge sense of guilt and failure.
Everything I read and heard told me that doing this for my child would only benefit them and that you needed to, “give them the gift of sleep”. I love my baby like any mother does and of course I wanted her to have that “gift”, but it just didn’t work out. I read thread upon thread of success stories on all my Facebook mommy groups and the guilt just kept sinking in. I felt so bad for putting her through that sort of stress that night that I decided to bring her to my bed and have her sleep with me. Now, it wasn’t the first time that we had co-slept or bed-shared, but it was the first time I got to snuggle my girl to sleep. I remember her holding on so tight to me, like she needed my love in that moment and thats when I decided that I would never deprive her of that. Now a days, she starts off in her crib and when she wakes around 2 am, I bring her to our bed and sleep till morning. She gets a full 12 hours every night and I get some much needed rest as well. My husband doesn’t mind it much since he values my sanity. There are some nights where she sleeps in her crib uninterrupted till morning and always sleeps through the night in her Pack n’ Play with her DockATot when sleeping over at her grandmas. I know what you’re thinking…”Try putting her in the Pack n’ Play at home…maybe she doesn’t like her crib”. Of course I’ve tried that. I’ve tried everything!
Theres a huge stigma with co-sleeping and bed-sharing in the Armenian culture but I hope that that will change with the new generations to come. I feel like these early years are meant for attachment and love so why should I deny her (or myself) of that? Some will say, “Yes, but co-sleeping will put a distance between you and your partner” and my response to that is, 1. Worry about your own marriage, 2. If you’re so concerned with my marriage, Ill reassure you by telling you that we work hard for our relationship and ALWAYS make sure to spend alone time together weather it be on a weekend getaway or just a date night while Emma stays with her loving grandparents.
As she ventures off into toddlerhood, I will watch her to see when she’s ready and thats when Ill try to have her stay in her room all night. It might take until she’s 5 or 6, and if thats the case, so be it. Thats what I signed up for as a mom. I’ve dedicated my life to her and I know that one day, she will refuse to sleep next to me and that my heart will break a little, but until that day, I will soak up every single cuddle and hug I could get!
You do you mama. Whatever works for someone else doesn’t have to work for you. We are all trying our best and as long as your little one is happy and healthy, thats all that matters!