I've come to think that anti-sleep training hysteria on here is alienating and potentially harmful.

(95 Posts)
INeedThatForkOff Fri 30-Aug-13 19:27:00

Having read countless threads in which sleep training (and let's not be euphemistic - I mean controlled crying) is denounced as cruel and damaging, I've resisted it until now.

DD is 3.6 and DS is 10mo. I am on my knees with exhaustion and have to return to work. My mum is seriously ill and frankly it's all affecting my mental health.

I got myself a referral to the HV-run sleep clinic. The HVs are Millpond trained and although they often get slated on here I've never met a bad one in my area

DD is responding brilliantly to bribery a reward-based approach, but obviously DS is too little for that. Instead CC with intervals of 30 seconds to 20 mins was suggested, and it is transforming the quality of our family life already.

DS is napping in the day, and although I am well aware of the links between crying and its impact on neurological development, I am convinced that learning to sleep will far, far outweigh this.

He's only slept through once so far, but is staying in his cot and sleeping for longer and longer periods at night.

I'm so sad to have wasted my maternity leave on feeling so down and exhausted. I think perhaps the critics ought to consider the improvement in quality of life that sleep brings to the whole family. I really regret having heeded them for so long.

Greythorne Fri 30-Aug-13 19:28:40

Sounds like you are making a balanced decision for the good of the majority in the family.

Think no more on it.

Ididabravebravething Fri 30-Aug-13 19:30:04

since I joined MN, I now feel guilty that I let my son cry for those three nights. and occasionally worry that I have scarred him.

Although the other two kids are not such good sleepers and I often wonder why he is.

That is not helpful is it grin

RobotHamster Fri 30-Aug-13 19:32:05

I'll be sleep training this time round, if I get another terrible sleeper. I dont think its necessarily a bad thing, as long as its done properly, but I've seen so many threads on here where a 3 or 4mo baby isn't sleeping through and the OP has been told to leave baby to cry it out.

Some people can't leave their babies to cry and think CIO or CC is barbaric, and they are entitled to their opinion of course! But I think when a poster is desperately seeking some sort of help some posters can be unnecessarily harsh.

RobotHamster Fri 30-Aug-13 19:33:41

Sorry missed a bit out - I meant where the OP has been advised by someone in RL (usually MIL or HV wink ) to leave their baby to cry.

bigkidsdidit Fri 30-Aug-13 19:33:55

I agree. I truly believe teaching our children to sleep is an important part of parenting. I didn't do cc, gradual retreat worked for my DS when we did it at six months.

What was notable for me was not only how much happier I was when he slept all night, but how much happier HE was. He was like a different baby. It was astonishing.

I do not believe a couple of nights of a few minutes crying has any effect long term whatsoever, either.

Yonionekanobe Fri 30-Aug-13 19:34:11

I'm sad to have wasted my maternity leave on feeling so down and exhausted

I completely empathise with that statement in relation to DD. I was so obsessed with doing everything 'right' (often per MN advice) that it was five months before DD would take a bottle, and 14 before she slept through the night (and we tried cc which took all of two nights).

There is some fantastic advice on MN (often from those who have older children and don't have a vested interest in babyhood). But there is also some very strong views which may not necessarily be right for your children.

So I don't think you're being at all unreasonable, but if I was a betting woman I'd say before very long someone will be along to explain why cc has damaged our children for life.

LifeofPo Fri 30-Aug-13 19:36:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bigkidsdidit Fri 30-Aug-13 19:36:57

I'm sure they will too!

Today DS2 woke from his nap and started crying and I couldn't get to him for a few minutes as DS1 had done the mother of all poos and I was changing him and washing my hands. If cc damages your child forever I guess that did too.

fabergeegg Fri 30-Aug-13 19:37:57

For the good of your mental health, you will need to accept there is always something more you could/should have done/not done as a parent. You haven't necessarily wasted your maternity leave - look at your healthy children for crying out loud! That's thanks to you! Think of the beautiful moments you have had already - the moments you would put in a memory box if you could. Don't fall into the trap of thinking 'yes but there could have been so many more'. It doesn't work that way. It was what it was. Your kids know they're loved. That's enough. You have the rest of your life with them. Move on.

Re sleep training, I agree. This forum can be unpredictably hysterical and militant on a few issues - despite the general aura of common sense - and sleep training is one of them. It's a very personal decision and I suppose it leaves deep scars if you've done it badly with only a partial understanding of how it's supposed to work. Personally, I understand what to do and how it works - but have chosen not to do it at this time. Equally am very glad for you that it's working.

Mintyy Fri 30-Aug-13 19:38:30

Yanbu. I hate the guilt tripping that goes on. Not sleep training a hopeless sleeper is way more "cruel" imho.

INeedThatForkOff Fri 30-Aug-13 19:40:17

I couldn't get to him for a few minutes as DS1 had done the mother of all poos and I was changing him and washing my hands. If cc damages your child forever I guess that did too.

Yes. And I think it's also unhelpful for lone parents to feel that they're doing wrong by leaving one child to cry while they deal with another. What the fuck else are they supposed to do?

littlemisswise Fri 30-Aug-13 19:42:27

I did CC with both my DC. They are 18 and 16 now. They haven't suffered any damage. They are happy, well adjusted young people. They can form relationships with all sorts of people, were happy to start school etc.

CC is very different from crying it out.

Mumblepot26 Fri 30-Aug-13 19:44:18

Could not agree more OP, for some reason controlled crying was all the rage when I had DD. It literally was the best decision I made, thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my mat leave. She is 5yrs old now, well adjusted, very sociable, kind, intelligent, sensitive and most importantly confident and very secure. Well done and so glad it's working out.

GreenEggsAndNichts Fri 30-Aug-13 19:44:31

FWIW, it's entirely possible you'd have spent your maternity leave tired and exhausted anyway. I know I was tired and exhausted and mine wasn't a terrible sleeper (think he finally slept through around 6 months).

Agree that people here can get quite excited and adamant that their method is best, with regard to just about any subject not just sleeping. Take it with a grain of salt. Do what's best for you and your family.

PurplePidjin Fri 30-Aug-13 19:45:17

It's because people see Controlled Crying and assume it means ignoring an hysterical baby for hours on end. My 9mo wakes 2-3 times a night, sometimes more, and I've been told to leave him to it. Ain't gonna happen. Pop him fed, dry and safe in his cot for 2 minutes while he shouts indignantly so he learns I'm not going to play with him at 3am? Hell yeah.

Love from a cloth nappy using sling wearing hippy mama wink

Yonionekanobe Fri 30-Aug-13 19:47:52

I work with two people who are very anti-sleep training. One has a DD who slept through (7 to 7) at 8 weeks, the other a DS who went 7pm to 5.30am from 4 weeks. I often wonder what their stance would be had they had a one year old who was waking two or three times at least every night.

bigkidsdidit makes a really good point about her DS being happier. I don't believe in the 'happy mother, happy baby' perspective (MH issues being the exception). We are grown ups and parenthood is hard, but it is often the case that an older baby who is not sleeping through will be much, much happier when they have learnt how to.

MrsHoarder Fri 30-Aug-13 19:48:39

Ds stopped sleep regression at about that age with me not changing anything. I'd tried cc a couple of months earlier, he clearly wasn't developmentally ready for it then. There's a good chance doing cc months ago would have had no impact.

Glad they're sleeping better now though.

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Fri 30-Aug-13 19:48:52

I think it's great you are doing what works for you and of course you shouldn't feel guilty!

I think people can often come across as judgemental when actually they are just evangelical because they have found something that works for them and want to share, or their method hasn't worked well/they feel criticised and they want to defend their choice. I think this happens on mumsnet and in real life and fuels lots of sleeping and feeding debates.

No one (I hope!) lets their newborn cry for hours and hours for weeks or has an 18 year old who can't sleep without them, so we are all making valid decisions that are right for our families at that time.

IComeFromALandDownUnder Fri 30-Aug-13 19:49:05

I had to do it at about 9 months and I am sorry I didn't do it sooner. Dd was much happier when she was getting the right amount of sleep.

INeedThatForkOff Fri 30-Aug-13 19:57:40

I work with two people who are very anti-sleep training. One has a DD who slept through (7 to 7) at 8 weeks, the other a DS who went 7pm to 5.30am from 4 weeks. I often wonder what their stance would be had they had a one year old who was waking two or three times at least every night.

I agree wholeheartedly. It's easy to take a stance on something that hasn't affected you. Less black and white when you're in the thick of it.

bigkidsdidit Fri 30-Aug-13 20:02:44

IMO there's also an element in the anti-training advice of 'if ou really loved your DC and were willing to devote yourself fully to them like a real mother you would feed to sleep ten times a night, and deal with the exhaustion'.

When it comes to mental health our needs are as important as those of our DC, I think.

carlywurly Fri 30-Aug-13 20:03:46

Sleep training saved my sanity. I can honestly say I don't think I'd have been able to cope with 2 dcs under 2, a dh who worked away and no family support unless they both slept. And they both did - full nights from 6 weeks and 2 hr daytime naps until almost age 3.

It is about the only thing I wouldn't do differently, and it really didn't involve a lot of crying, just a routine from pretty much the first couple of weeks.

LookAtTheTwain Fri 30-Aug-13 20:06:54

There's a huge difference between cc on an 8 day old baby and a 10 month old.

Do what is in the best interests for you and baby and family on balance.

FoxyRevenger Fri 30-Aug-13 20:14:21

fabergeegg I think all mothers should have your post tattooed on to them immediately, if not sooner.

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