Childrearing

If You Decide Not To Sleep Train Your Child You Might Regret It

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If You Decide Not To Sleep Train Your Child You Might Regret It GettyImages 480501265 jpgSleep training seemed like a great idea – until I had a child of my own. Before I had children, I imagined I would be the parent with the iron will, unmoved by the subtle manipulations of a whimpering child. In reality, I was the parent who crumbled at the sound of her young child choking through a crying spell. The first time I let my infant cry for a period longer than five minutes, I lifted him out of the bed and whispered apologies into his ears.

I had friends who tucked their kids into bed before the primetime lineup started at night. They had hours to themselves every evening. I always thought they were doing it right, and I was somehow doing it “wrong.” I barely had the energy to glare at them through my sleep-deprived eyes when they bragged about their “nap schedules” at the park.  In those early days of parenting, every anecdote that ended in someone else’s child sleeping or eating just seemed like a cruel joke.

The sleep-training parents were usually the same ones ducking out of playdates because of their kid’s nap schedule. They also had fixed mealtimes and a bedtime routine that involved more than getting their kid into pajamas and possibly reading them a story. I stood in awe of the organization of it all. I could never pull that off. I remember thinking, “God, relax.” Now they are relaxing — because their kids are sleeping. Mine, not so much.

When my co-workers who sleep train talk about their kids being to bed by 7:30, I’m green with envy. If my kids did that, I might actually be able to read a book before I was so exhausted that I fell asleep after three pages, or maybe enjoy some Wheel Of Fortune. But nope. I was the sucker who couldn’t bear to hear my infant cry.

I’m not one of those parents who is constantly entertaining her kids — they are happily playing in their room until they are ready for bed. But there is something about a quiet house that allows you to finally wind down. I don’t have one of those, I probably never will.

The point is — my kids are happy and well-adjusted. So are the kids of my sleep-training friends. If you are deciding whether or not you should, might I suggest thinking about yourself before your baby, just this once? It will probably feel counter-intuitive to pop a baby out and immediately think of your own needs — but if you like time to yourself, you may want to give sleep training more than a handful of tries.

(photo: Getty Images)

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