Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How (Not) to Get a Baby to Sleep

I just ran across a link to this essay on babies and sleep from another blog. This pretty much sums up how (not) to get a baby to sleep.

One observation I have made over the last few years is that when it comes to parenting it's always the parents' fault - sleep and feeding are probably tied for first on the Parents Make or Break It short....I mean long list. Then, of course, there are issues of discipline, potty training, etc. Really, does our kids' future rest solely on our shoulders?

Let's just forget that our kids have their own individual personalities with their own levels of maturity, their own strengths and weaknesses, and their own buttons that get pushed. Instead we'll assume that whatever wonderful theory we put into our blank-slate kids will give us the same result every single time. And then let's proceed to worry that, when things aren't going perfectly, we have the wrong method and this other method that does all the "wrong" things according to our current method is actually THE RIGHT WAY. And then let's bang our heads against the wall as we fall into more frustration, confusion, and guilt when the new and better method is failing just as miserably as the first. And then, maybe we should write a book about what eventually worked for us (never mind that fact that by the time sleeping worked for our kids they were already in middle school) so that other parents can follow our example of method-searching, frustration, head-banging, and a lack of results.

But then, of course, maybe I'm just speaking from my experience because I haven't got this sleep thing (or many other things, for that matter) figured out. Maybe I just haven't found the right method yet...

If you've ever felt guilt or shame in regards to how you get your own children to sleep, or if sleep is a topic you hope never comes up in conversation so that you aren't tempted to lie about how your child does (or doesn't) sleep, then read this essay and have a good comforting laugh. :) Then think of how it applies to those other touchy parenting subjects that make you cringe and want to crawl into a hole so that no one can tell you that you are doing it all wrong. And just for fun, let's throw childbirth into the mix as well so that we can all see how there really is MORE THAN ONE WAY to skin a cat...or to have a baby and to raise him/her into productive adulthood.

Let's be realistic here, the reason your kid didn't make the cut for varsity football or the gifted and talented program is not because you had an epidural during their birth or let them cry themselves to sleep or breastfed until they were 3 years old.

And now I will remove myself from my soapbox and hope that you will, indeed, get a good laugh and a sense of grace as you navigate the complexities of babies and sleep and other controversial areas of the parenting journey.


  1. Love it...

    My least favorite thing for people to say to me (and I've heard it how many times) is "Is he/she a good baby"? WHAT?!? You know what they are referring to, "does your baby, 'sleep through the night'".... So, a baby's good or bad traits rely on whether or not they are "good" sleepers... I always say, "Yes, my baby is a good baby. No, they do not sleep through the night, neither do I- never have, never will!"