gentle sleep training

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Dear new mom,

The moment you let your child cry alone in the crib to “teach” him to fall asleep on his own is the moment you make a choice: to be there for him no matter what or to let him feel alone and scared, wishing with all his heart that you will come back…

Having a baby is wonderful, but it can be overwhelming too! I know how it feels and taking care of a little baby can sometimes be very hard.

You need to be there for him every moment and it seems like your whole life is changing! You love your little baby and you enjoy all those precious moments you have with him, but you are also tired, overwhelmed and maybe even scared of all the changes in your life.

When you feel like this, it might seem a good idea to try those “magic” sleep training solutions and to let your baby “crying it out” until he learns to fall asleep on his own.

But the truth is that the things you win from doing this (those quiet nights you dream of) are much less important than the things you lose when you choose this.

Just stop for a moment and think about what your baby feels!

You are everything for him, you are that one person he can trust and who can take away all his fears and pains. He loves you with all his heart and most of all he needs you near him all the time! Having you close is the only way he feels safe and loved.

And then, one evening, you decide not to be there for him anymore. He cries and hopes that you will come back, but you don’t do this anymore. He is alone in a dark room, and he feels scared and abandoned.

He will cry after you over and over again until he realizes that you will not come back no matter how much he cries. So he stops crying and you feel that the method worked and it was the best choice for you.

But the truth is that he stops crying not because he learned to sleep alone, but because he lost the hope that someone will come back and hug him.

Letting your child cry to sleep is a choice you make. A choice to let your baby wait for you, for your love and the hugs he needs so much. A choice to leave him alone when all he wants is you to be there for him. It’s a choice you make to put the rules of a sleep training above the feelings you have for your baby.

If you feel that you want to enter that room and hug your baby, just do it! You love your baby and he loves you and there is nothing that should stop you from being there for him every time he needs you!

I know it’s hard and overwhelming, but the love you give your baby now is a gift he will carry in his heart for his whole life.

Let him feel loved and safe in your arms anytime he needs your hugs! This will make you feel tired pretty often, but it will also make both of you feel happy.

You will build that strong connection with your baby that will allow him to grow knowing he is loved and protected and over the years this will mean a lot!

Don’t let your baby feel alone and scared because those moments when he gives up the hope that you will come back to him are not what you want him to go through.

Let him sleep near you, hug him every time he needs it and most of all let him know that you are always there for him!

These hard months when you don’t get enough sleep will pass more quickly than you imagine and in the end, you will be glad that you have chosen to be there for your baby!

With love,

Raluca

p.s. This letter is not meant to judge anyone. It’s just an honest letter from a mother who really believes in the power of the love we show to our children.

If you think about trying a sleep training method like CIO (“crying it out”), that encourages you to let your baby cry alone, I only wish this letter will give you another perspective and maybe will make you try something different.

If you need more details about why you shouldn’t try this method with your baby, you can find below some useful resources about it:

– the negative effects that sleep training have on babies (studies showed it could cause harmful changes to babies’ brains, decreased intellectual, emotional and social development and a negative impact on the parent-child relationship)

– the expert opinions of 6 educated professionals who advise against sleep training and explain the reasons why.

Here is a great book that offers gentle solutions to help your baby sleep better without using harmful training methods: The Gentle Sleep Book by Sarah Ockwell-Smith.

If you are a new mom looking for baby sleep tips, please read this! It can change how you feel about sleep training and offer you better alternatives to try! --- Advice for moms

photo credit preview photo:  Tomsickova Tatyana / shutterstock.com – photo credit Pinterest photo: Evgeny Atamanenko / shutterstock.com

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7 Comments

  1. I used the CIO method with 2/3 of my babies with great success. They are 6 and 3 now and have never felt unloved. I know it’s not for everyone but it worked for us.

  2. Well, I don’t have a baby (and I hope I won’t have one in a long time, to be honest), but I truly believe in the Pavlov’s experiment. As long as you “treat” your kids in any way when they cry, yell and so on you will encourage that behaviour. I also believe that a baby is still way to young to feel anything but basic feelings like pain, hunger or any other kind of physical discomfort. More deep feelings like love, fear, safety or loneliness will be taught mostly by the society when he will be able to actually understand somehow these feelings.

    1. Like you said Christina you don’t have kids and sounds like you don’t plan on it, which also sounds like a good thing as you don’t know much about kids. Babies absolutely know feel love and learn this early on by way of parents touch, words, attentiveness, and actions. The more you are there for a child, the stronger more independent they become! They feed and grow and learn from our actions, from CIO all they get is alone, scared and no feelings of love to learn, no comfort for their bad dream or startled awake from a peaceful sleep, they learn that they have to take care of themselves because No one cares.. is this what you would want your kid to learn? And then take this thought through life? I’m alone and have to take care of ALL my needs myself because no one wants to put any effort into me…
      that is an awful way to be.. yes we all need to be independent and self sufficient but this is achieved in a much healthier way by being there for everything showing unconditional love and support during stressful times like learning to sleep, learning to talk, walk, ride bikes… should babes do all of this on their own too?? CIO is what is wrong with America.. too many parents did this in the 80’s and now their are so many people that are not able to care for another, emotionally or physically, they don’t know unconditional love through everything!! They are unable to provide comfort to others, they are emotionally closed off.. we are slowly losing our villages, and ending up with solo high rises that aren’t socially inept. They don’t know how to love deeply.. like a child needs.. so some just shouldn’t have kids.. like you

  3. Great post Raluca! Thank you for sharing your opinion, and also providing the research. I also keep my babies close.

  4. This is 1,000,000,000% how I feel. I tried CIO literally once in a moment of desperation because nothing would soothe my son (only a few months old at the time) and I felt myself getting frustrated and thought my feelings were perhaps making him worse. But all he did was cry harder and harder until my heart was about to explode with guilt (about 3 minutes later). So I pulled him from his crib and he immediately stopped crying. I’ll never know why he was so upset that I couldn’t calm him in the first place but I do know that just my holding him was enough to bring him back down to a place of calm. I never tried CIO again and I never will. My momma heart just cannot take it.

    I brought this child into the world to love him and care for him – not to train him. Babies have natural sleep regressions, sometimes teething and growth spurts cause sleep issues too – regardless of training. But how long do these phases last? Surely not long enough to cause long term sleep issues otherwise no child would be able to sleep properly. Babies are babies for such a short while and in a few years your child may not want you to hug and snuggle them – if they can’t look to you for comfort as an infant or toddler then why would they as a child or adolescent? I’d rather risk a few months of crappy sleep and let my child know he can always count on me to be there for him than “train” him.

  5. I will never use CIO method on even an animal let alone a baby.Not even at gun point.I believe parents who want the easy way out and are unable to make a sacrifice like breaking rest for a few months out of their long life span should not make babies, it’s that simple as parenting is all about sacrifices and putting your children’s needs above yours. . I have a 3 month old sleeping very close to me and he is very happy and so am I. And to the person who wrote that her kids never felt unloved when she did that my question is are you God to know what your babies were feeling while you were doing that or have mind reading skills? If so pls share them with me. Thanks a lot

    1. That’s pretty harsh… remember we’re all mommas who need to stick together and encourage each other, not tear each other down. I can tell you’re passionate about being a momma, and that is so wonderful. So is every other momma on here. We will never think the same on many ideas on raising kids, and that’s ok. At the end of the day, we need to do what’s right and healthy for our own families. It’s hard and takes thought and prayer, but we can do it!