LET'S STOP SHAMING PARENTS FOR SLEEP TRAINING AND RECOGNIZE THAT THEY ALSO NURTURE THEIR BABIES
I just came across a Facebook post with an influencer sharing her blog post titled, "Let's Nurture Babies Who Won't Have to Recover From Sleep Training."
RECOVER from sleep training! Is this shit for real?!
Umm. Sleep training does not equate to lack of nurturing.
You might imagine that reading just the title itself caused my face to turn bright red, smoke to come out of my ears, and my head to nearly explode.
SIDE NOTE: I beg of you not to go search for the blog as that will just give it more traction and contribute to the epidemic of parent shaming. I have to share the title though in order to get the point of this post across. One, because I am using this platform to vent. Ha. And two, to provide you with some reassurance that sleep training and nurturing your baby are not exclusive.
Sleep training is not something one has to "recover" from unless possibly referring to the short term hurdles. But come on. We know this author means long term recovery as if sleep trained children experience trauma.
Along with several studies about sleep training or, in a more technical term, behavioral sleep interventions, there is a well done study to show that one cannot tell the difference between children who went through sleep training and those who did not, Five-year follow-up of harms and benefits of behavioral infant sleep intervention: randomized trial.
But sometimes NOT sleep training is something one does have to recover from. It just depends on your family's needs and preferences.
For example, one of my clients who was struggling with her 4 month old's sleep was experiencing hair loss, postpartum depression, guilt, and more. You can hear more about her story on the After the Stork Podcast!
And while that is just one anecdote, there are plenty of studies to show the importance of sleep for a mother's mental health along with its role on one's overall health, one's ability to control their emotions, and more.
I wish people with large platforms would stop contributing to the unnecessary shame or guilt of parents who already deal with enough.
Everyone needs sleep! And sleep training is a vehicle that helps some families get there. Period.
The author says, “It sends sleep-deprived mothers a dangerous message; that if her baby isn’t sleeping, in the way society unrealistically expects, she’s a bad mother. She’s doing something wrong. Or, worse still, there’s something wrong with her baby. In these moments, vulnerable parents are more easily bullied or coerced into harsh sleep training methods by friends and professionals who should know better."
How does this author not see the hypocrisy here? Blog posts like hers do the exact same thing.
They "send sleep-deprived mothers a dangerous message; that if" they sleep train, "they are bad mothers. That they are doing something wrong." I mean look at her wording! "Harsh sleep training."
And while sleep issues are not always a sign that something is wrong. Issues with sleep do sometimes stem from underlying medical issues. For example, several of my clients mention the only way they figured out that their child had an ear infection was because of their overnight sleep being off.
Why must people continue to write shit like this? You don't need to cause parents who want or need to sleep train to feel like crap in order to lift up parents who don't sleep train.
If people are in fact bullying parents to sleep train, well, then I would encourage that to stop in addition to encouraging those who choose not to sleep train to stop bashing it.
Both ways of parenting can exist without needing to put one way of parenting on a higher pedestal than another.
Now, I am not arguing that there is no pressure from society for parents to have "good" sleepers. There definitely is.
I mean, who didn't get asked, "How's the baby sleeping?" when catching up with someone after you have given birth?
Often times, the pressure that society puts on parents to have "good" sleepers is due to lack of knowledge when it comes to sleep development and what is realistic for a child's age. Along with ignoring the reality that people are going to parent differently. Accept it.
But the same goes for how society often portrays sleep training. The negativity around it often comes from a place with lack of knowledge and experience with it.
BOTH families who choose to sleep train and families who choose not to sleep train can co-exist and respect one another's decisions while doing so.
Excuse my French, but for fucks sake! Can we stop with writing the parent shaming posts just because you prefer one way over another? If you are going to share what works best for you? Just remove all the things added that are judging the way you don't do something. Aka, the way that perhaps someone else might do.
Alright...Stepping down from my soap box now. Gonna get some fresh air. Maybe doing some breathing exercises.
But before I go, just remember. Your child is worth it. Your family is worth it. And YOU are worth it.