Sunday, 17 July 2011

The forbidden practice of sleep training your child

Here I am. With a rant. Just because I can really. There is one thing that annoys me most about other mothers. Their inability to see past their own little bubble. Of course, it doesn't apply to all mothers, not even most. But just a handful. Two words; Sleep training.

For anyone who doesn't know, that applies to parents who use the methods of either CC (controlled crying) or CIO (crying it out) CC means that parents leave their crying babies in their rooms when they have established that the only reason they are crying is because they do not want to be in bed, and go in and check on them at regular intervals until they have fallen asleep. CIO is similar to the above, except the parent leaves the child and does not go in until they are asleep. On the face of it, it sounds quite cruel. So I'll put it into a situation.

Imagine you have a 6 month old child. For 6 months, neither you nor your child have had more than 4 hours of extremely broken sleep. Although you live with the father, he does nothing to help you and has never got up in the night once, so you are left to get up no less than 8 times a night, to a crying baby who is only crying because they want feeding or they just want to be awake. Then, because you and your child are both so tired during the day, that you do nothing constructive. You have no energy to even get dressed and your child doesn't have the energy to try the simplest of tasks like rolling over or playing. The, bedtime comes and the whole process begins again. Makes you feel a little tired just reading it doesn't it? Well, when I was 19, this was my routine. Before I put Grace to bed every night, I would check she was fed, bathed, her nappy was dry and that she was generally ok. She could be giggling away, babbling to herself but the second her head hit her cot mattress, she would cry. I was so tired, getting no help and I was at my wits end. I was already in a terrible place with other things that were going on and the extreme lack of sleep was making me worse, not to mention it was affecting Grace too. Because, of course, babies are human too and need sleep to build up energy for the next day. So I decided to "sleep train" her.

Once she was in her own room, I would take the baby monitor into the lounge (we lived in a flat so her room was next door) and listen out for her crying. I would leave it 20 minutes at a time (unless she was hysterical, in which case I would leave her for 10) I would go in, stand by her cot but not pick her up. She would stop crying until I left the room again. I hated doing it but I knew something had to be done. After less than a week, she was going straight to sleep and not getting up until the next morning, something she has done ever since and she is 3 now.

But there are always the ones who think they're better than everyone else. The ones who say "Well these statistics say this" and "this study says that" or "my 'how to be the best ever parent so you can sit on your pedestal and look down on all the other terrible mothers guidebook' says you should/shouldn't do this." I know people who don't agree with CC/CIO which is fine by me, I may not agree with some of the things they have done. But you always get the minority who have to take it one step further. Did you know, for example, that if you use sleep training techniques, not only are you practically treating your child the way you would treat a dog, but that your child will become an introverted recluse who will fear showing their emotions? No? Neither did I. Because, not only did I not tie my daughter out in the back garden with a bowl of water and a stick, but she is very expressive, a complete extrovert who speaks to everyone. And anyone who knows her will know she is by no means afraid to show her emotions.

But then again, I must be wrong, if the studies say otherwise. You know, the studies done by those people in white coats who probably have no children, the studies done on an "average" and not individual basis? Yes, those. Now, I really don't care all that much about the fact that some people think it's wrong to use sleep training. I would do it again if I needed to. But what annoys me is that people are so small minded. Tell me I'm treating my child like a dog will you? Get a grip! For one, it is none of your business. And two, how about you go and sit with your perfect child in your perfect little world instead of sitting on the internet whining about other people. Seriously, do people really have nothing better to do with their time than to attempt to make other mothers feel guilty for their parenting choices?

Anyway, rant over. To all you "in your face" anti CC/CIO'ers, I say, get off your high horse and stop being a complete imbecile. Nobody likes a know-it-all.


  1. Brilliant. CC worked great for us and our daughter is doing great, also. Great rant.

  2. Thank you :) It's a shame that some people can't see past their own narrow mindedness to see that it is a godsend to some people

  3. couldnt agree more.. once my girl is here in september i do not plan on having her fall to sleep on me at night, picking her up every time she cries or fussing around her everytime she long as she has been fed, has a dry bum and has had lots of cuddles then she will go to bed, and she can shout and scream if she likes.. obviously i dont mean with a newborn who will need sorting every 2-3 hours.. but as soon as feeds start spreading out a bit ill be joining the likes of you and hundreds of other mums with a well trained baby who doesnt throw a hissy fit to get their own way.. i mean going back to when our parents where babies our grandparents probably left them in the garden in a pram to CIO during the day!!(maybe a bit further back than our parents but still!)