I’ve been reading up a lot on babies and their sleeping habits as a newborn. It didn’t dawn on me that the western culture of only having 3 months of maternity leave would affect my thoughts on sleep training but it has.
Turns out that during most of my readings there were 2 sides. First, babies should be sleep trained (or preparing to) after their first few weeks of being born. That they should learn how to self-soothe, and the the crying-it-out method isn’t that painful when done right. ( I was shocked when a woman said she couldn’t let her baby cry for 45 mins….DUH! that is way too long??) Secondly, babies apparently don’t have the skill to learn how to self-soothe after a few weeks, and that we should allow the newborn to take their time. That some babies/infants won’t learn to put themselves to bed even after being a year old.
Now of course there are different angles to this such as babies needing routines, not all babies needs are the same, the feeding habits, etc. But something I realized is that Side 1 above generally came from women who need to get back to the working world versus side 2, women who decide to stay at home or have a lot more maternity leave (such as Europe) have more time to tend to their babies sleeping needs. I am purely generalizing and making an opinion from what I analyzed (because I like to read between the lines.)
I do believe that women like me, who will eventually need to get back to work after maternity leave will consider side one above. Unless I can afford a nighttime feeder for my newborn once I start work again, I have to think about getting enough sleep to get up the next day. So I look at what my options will be once that time comes. I don’t envy or look down upon women who stay at home, actually I give props to those women, because I can only imagine that it’s just as hard BUT, they do get to spend more time with their child which I think gives the baby more attention. They get to spend more time tending to their child’s needs, versus choosing to split their time between work and their child.
Since this will be my first child, I have not yet put any of the above into practice, but it was something I noticed as I read. I do believe the US needs to work harder to provide longer maternity leave for women and better benefits since we lag behind the other less industrialized countries. BUT here comes my summary. There will never be a perfect mom, or a perfect way to raise a child. We WILL make mistakes, some we will be able to fix before its too late, some not. Deciding on whether we want to sleep train our child early will be our decision as parents. The way I see it is…so far I’ve decided I will, and it will be a trial and error type of phase. IF it works out, PRAISE THE LORD…if it doesn’t then on to the next option. Regardless I will make sure my baby stays healthy, grows happily, and has everything it needs to live a long life.
EDIT : I wrote this before baby Esther was born, it’s not really relevant as much since she is now in an incubator and sleeping habits are not the same as a 9 month born baby…but I’ll leave it out here. I still think there are two sides to sleep training 😉