Why I don't 'sleep train' my child


How's that for a blog title?

Like all choices and decisions open to Mums like us, the topic of sleep can be quite inflammatory.

Perhaps you're reading this post to affirm your beliefs that sleep training is harmful to babies. Or maybe you're already marshaling your arguments as to why it can be beneficial.

In both cases, you may be disappointed.

Sleep training has been on my mind of late. Ollie is 17 months old and has recently started waking in the night. He's following a similar routine of waking up around midnight and screaming for Daddy. Then he'll happily sleep on Matt downstairs on the sofa, leaving Matt exhausted or I'll take him and hold him for an hour whilst he screams himself silly. Leaving me exhausted.

So it's not surprising that in the early hours I find myself debating the pros and cons of time controlled crying.

I am not against this method. Far from it actually. We tried it with Lily and it worked perfectly. I wasn't keen on just 'crying it out' but going in regularly to settle her worked wonders. She was sleeping through happily by 9 months.

That's why this post only refers to one child. Because, with Lily, I knew it was time to crack on with sleep training, it felt like the right thing to do.

But Ollie is different. For one, he doesn't have a dummy like Lily did, he's just never taken to one. He doesn't have a proper 'comforter' at all despite me trying to introduce taggies and soft toys. And a small part of me quite likes it. I like snuggling with him, when it is just the two of us and all is quiet. I know this time won't last and I want to make the most of it.

The main reason, however, is that Lily had moved on to formula by 10 months whereas Ollie is still having breastmilk as his last feed of the day.

So here is the dilemma. He will often fall asleep whilst feeding which makes any sort of training defunct. He doesn't go into his cot 'sleepy but awake' so much as 'milk drunk and passed out'. And (whispers) I'm not sure I'm ready to stop breastfeeding yet.

How's this for a blog title:
"Why I still breastfeed my toddler".

Perhaps breastfeeding should be a topic for another day. I don't want to be feeding Ollie in 6 months time. I just don't want to stop right now.

But these two blog titles do have something in common, are part of a wider conversation.

They're both about MY choices. MY decisions. They're not trying to convince you one way or the other. They're not out to judge other Mums.

Just like Lily and Ollie are two very different babies. All babies are different. All Mums are different. That's why we're told to trust our instinct, because we know our babies and ourselves so much better than anyone else.

And that is why, if you came here expecting to judge or be judged. You've come to the wrong place.

So, I don't sleep train Ollie right now but I'm sure I will be in the future. Maybe he'll go back to sleeping OK on his own. Maybe his recent waking is a phase, teething or because of the heat. He can't tell me right now but my instincts are telling me that now is not the time to change the status quo and that I should go with it.

And, you know what? If you're in the same place right now, or battling with another difficult decision, trust your instincts too.

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