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.
Unknown said...

My two are so different, my first was sleeping through after a version of sleep training. This one isn't at 16 months, still wakes 2-3 times a night and still breastfeeding! You're right all babies are different. And you just take each day as it comes because they're different too! #TwinklyTuesday

the Frenchie Mummy said...

I think you are very right syaing that it is your choice. We are all different and things work differently for all of us. As long as the routine fits your lifestyle, keep doing it! I stryggled to follow a bedtime routine advised in books at first and felt guilty. But I understood later on that is wasn't fitting our lifestyle. Your little one is gorgeous BTW #TwinklyTuesday

Unknown said...

I sleep trained my first but not so sure with my second. Thing is you don't know how alike they will be...also not sure I'll be having more than 2 so you want to make the most of the snuggles!! You have to do what feels right Hun xx #twinklytuesday

Sarah Arthurwears said...

I'm still breastfeeding at 19 months and I don't think we will be stopping anytime soon-I'm in the middle of drafting a post about it and honestly I never thought I would still be! Arthur has never once slept through the night and wakes regularly for milk at night time. He ends up in our bed usually by midnight as it is the best way for us all to get more sleep. I do think every child is different, but I also think little boys tend to be a little more needy. I know sleep training just wouldn't work for us but it can be hard to explain that to other ppl who think you should. #twinklytuesday

Messy Mama Crafter said...

I love this post! My two are completely different and both have taken to sleep very differently. Although I have never attempted any sleep training with either, I can see why people are open to trying it as I have heard many great things about it. I just know it isn't for us, but you're totally right! Only we, as their parents, know what is best for our children. #TwinklyTuesday

Unknown said...

Great post, I definitely opened it half cringing expecting to feel judged for my choice to sleep train my two (in fact I normally stay away from posts with titles like that) so was glad to read instead that you are completely right. Its your choice and about your child. Every child is different and every parent is different and we all have to try and find the best choice for both. Enjoy those snuggles, as long as you are happy with the way things are then it is nobody else's business anyway :) xxx #twinklytuesday

Our Cherry Tree said...

Exactly! No two babies are the same! xx

Our Cherry Tree said...

I found so many negative articles and judgmental comments when I was looking at options online. Mums can be so cruel to each other and I just don't get it - we're all different, our babies our different and we're all doing the best we can!
And thank you, I think he's scrummy, but I am biased! xx

Our Cherry Tree said...

I'll admit, I don't plan on having any more children right now so am making the most of the baby snuggles :) xx

Our Cherry Tree said...

I didn't expect to be breastfeeding this long, I always thought it'd be 10-12 months. A lot of people seem shocked when I tell them I still feed Ollie and so I'm a bit reserved about mentioning it.
Now that you mention it, Ollie does seem a bit more needy than Lily, but it's hard to compare!
You shouldn't need to explain your reasons to anyone, if you're happy with what you're doing then don't change it. xx

Our Cherry Tree said...

Thank you! Glad you liked it! I didn't want to write a post that would judge other Mums, but wanted to share where we are right now. xx

Our Cherry Tree said...

I've seen so many cruel and judgmental comments online about this topic and I think it's ridiculous - it's no ones business what works for you. I did sleep train Lily and it was brilliant, now isn't the right time for Ollie but I'm not ruling it out in the future!

Lisa (mummascribbles) said...

We definitely know our children and what is right for one, isn't right for the other. We have the issue that Zach won't fall asleep without one of us in the room which is going to be a little tricky once number two arrives in a few weeks! We did a little tester the other day and he's just not ready and he's so sad when we aren't there, I can't bear for him to be sad for such a silly reason! I may regret it but it's my choice and I quite like that special time when it's just me and him and he's dozing off! It's when he keeps turning around before be manages to fall asleep! That drives me nuts hehe! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

Crummy Mummy said...

We did sleep train BB, but not Little B. He's been a total nightmare on the sleep front. Not sure what to do when number three arrives! #twinklytuesday

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