My parenting methods have been observed and studied over many years. Ever since I was a teenager I knew I would have children and growing up in an unstable environment I made it a habit to watch, study and learn how others raised and parented their children. I have followed hundreds of parents and children over the years and made comparisons to discover what was effective.
People always say to me “wait until you have kids, you don’t know.” Or “it’s because it’s only your first kid. ” or “you’re lucky this one is good.”
I don’t believe that. I believe most of what creates a stable and good human are the role models that surround them. It’s providing consistency. That doesn’t necessarily mean having a regimented structure, it just means whatever you decide to do, you must do it daily and regularly and also accept the rewards of your hardwork as well as accept responsibility for when you fail.
I don’t believe that Basia was born a naturally easy baby, I believe I ushered in a good baby because I was mindful of my health (physically and mentally) during pregnancy and I stopped bad habits before they begin to form, and I’m continually being mindful of my actions.
She cried like any other baby, screamed like any other baby, but I do my best to react calmly, lovingly and consistently. Over time I am weaning out the negative behaviours and replacing them with the desired behaviours.
Over and over I learned some things just didn’t work. Over and over I learned how certain things did. By compiling this data and the use of basic psychology my parenting experience spans years. Though this is my first child, and my first time applying these skills, I have very little doubt in the success of many oft methods.
From 3 months on until now at 5 months old our little human falls asleep on her own within seconds. She typically sleeps 7-12 hrs though the night and naps between 30min – 2.5hrs. I’m less concerned about how long she sleeps than I am about HOW she FALLS asleep. Babies are constantly growing so their sleep patterns change, my goal was to train her to get to sleep.
From the very beginning I made sure that when it was bed time or nap time, all Of Basia’s basic needs were met. She was fed, changed and burped. If these factors were addressed there left only one reason why she would be unhappy – she was tired.
Many parents fear or have a misconception when it comes to the “Cry It Out” method because they initially believe it means abandoning their child and letting it scream forever. This is not the case, all you are doing is teaching your little human how to sleep in a particular environment.
For us, we wanted her to sleep exposed to daily noise so that we wouldn’t have to tip for around her. So we always made sure to never force silence or whispers once she’s asleep, yet we also don’t go banging pots and pans and blasting music. We also wanted her to be able to get herself to sleep without relying on someone or something else.
For instance a lot of people like to rock babies, bounce them or swing them to sleep. It’s natural to want to do that, because it makes us feel good when we’re the hero that put the baby to sleep or when we can just rely on a button to vibrate or swing our little one to bed. However what happens when you can’t do those things or you don’t have time or access to these devices?
We knew that we didn’t want to have our child “NEED” to be rocked to sleep, because then at what point do we stop ? When they get older and you have to wean them anyways and by then it will be much harder.
Once we figured out what our long term goals were it was easy to put it into practice. (This was also something we talked about years before the baby even arrived, it ideally should not be something you think about afterwards.)
So, yes in the beginning it was a little difficult but with realistic expectations it took as long as expected. The first couple months a baby grows a lot so I let her dictate when she napped and when she woke. Feedings happened at the regular 1-2hr interval. The only time I started sleep training was at bedtime in this case.
We would give her boobie, bath, read to her and give her more boobie and put her to bed. If she cried, we let her cry for 10-30 minutes and we would check on her basic needs to make sure those weren’t the reasons behind her discomfort. By the end of one month she would fall asleep on her own within 15-20minutes.
“How did you achieve this?”
The biggest takeaway for when I was sleep training my human were these three things:
1. Avoid Creating Dependent Associations (ex. Rocking, bouncing, swinging)
It may seem the easy way out and like I mentioned before, it’s the feel good thing to do as a provider to be able to soothe a baby to sleep, but this will haunt you in the long run.
Over the years I’ve watched dozens of parents make the same mistakes and tell me about how “little Joey loves being rocked to sleep,” or “only the swing can get our little one to bed.” Only to talk to them months down the road and they are pulling out their hair because they can’t get their child to sleep. If you can stay strong on this point you will be rewarded ten fold with an independent sleeping baby.
2. Avoid Touching Them/ Picking Them Up Right Away.
This is where people think they are committing child abuse. When people advise you to let your baby cry, it doesn’t mean you let it cry all night (though sometimes you might have to). You have to use your judgement on this and decide for yourself what is reasonable.
Just because you don’t pick up your baby every time they cry it doesn’t mean you don’t love them. Rather it enforces the idea that you love them more because as much as it discomforts you to hear them, you know it will be better for them in the long run if they learn healthy sleeping habits.
For us, if she was fed, changed, burped and loved if she cried for 30min she wasn’t going to just suddenly die. And remember “if their crying they ain’t dying.”
Set yourself a timer, go watch an episode of Netflix, don’t hover near the baby because they can feel and smell your tension. Just start with small increments and slowly add more time. If you understand that this may take a few weeks or months you’ll be less likely to give up.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but when it becomes a regular thing for your baby to sleep on their own you’ll be glad you spent a little extra time being chill and letting your little one figure it out. Besides it’s important they develop their lung capacity anyways so crying is OK!
3. Always Put Them Down Awake
This one is important, but sometimes if they go down already asleep it’s not a big deal. Just do your best to put them down a little bit awake and don’t try so hard to be super delicate and quiet. Just casually and relaxed put them down after feeding, give them a kiss and walk away.
One of our friends picked up a terrible habit of keeping the entire house completely silent and would basically stay frozen in place if their baby fell asleep on them. Now their child is a toddler and still doesn’t sleep through the night and any noise will wake her up. Ask yourself if you want this? If not, then be strong, be relaxed, be confident and just put that baby down. Gently but not like a bomb will detonate.
If you treat your baby like a bomb she’ll react like a bomb!