Overall, sleep training worked very well for our family and it saved my sanity. But in an attempt to not only share the highlights, I also want to share with you five obstacles sleep training has created for us.
I’m always calculating sleep time, nap time, and awake time.
I thought my days of constantly counting time were over when I stopped breastfeeding. Nope. I went from calculating how many hours between nursing sessions, to calculating the hours between my son being asleep and awake. If my son is awake for even a little bit too long, an extreme meltdown is coming, so I’m continuously keeping track of how long he has been awake and making sure he is napping regularly.
My son requires a certain sleep environment.
Our sleep environment at home is a completely dark room, white noise, and a lovey. This can be difficult to recreate when we aren’t home. Before I had kids I thought that all babies could sleep anywhere, well not my kid. I plan all errands around his nap schedule. If I don’t, he will either take a 10-minute catnap in the car and then refuse a nap for the rest of the day, or more commonly, he will fight through the tiredness, stay awake and become that cranky toddler no parent wants to have in public.
Travel is another beast. When we travel, my son sleeps in a pack in play, and we use a SlumberPod to recreate his dark sleep environment. We also travel with a sound machine.
One note: daycare teachers are angels, and I will never understand how they do what they do. My son somehow sleeps peacefully without any of this stuff at daycare.
A crib is his comfort zone.
My son has slept in a crib since he was a little over 4 months, and before that he was in a bassinet. As a result, he has no idea how to sleep in a “normal” bed.
Once when my son was fighting a cold I took him out of his crib and brought him to our bed. I was hoping that the comfort and warmth of being near us would help him get some rest. Nope. He was so distracted in our bed. He doesn’t sleep with a blanket, so he was intrigued by our comforter and immediately turned it into a peekaboo prop. He also doesn’t yet use a pillow, so to him, those are just climbing toys. The remote resting in the bed was a pretend phone for him. Needless to say, it was a long night and he ended up back in his crib. I have no clue what I’ll do when it’s time for a toddler bed.
Our schedule is largely non-negotiable.
I am 100% that parent that plans everything around my child’s schedule. Sorry, not sorry. Of course, we break our routine for things like seeing family or friends, experiences, celebrations, etc. But I really have to weigh every invitation and decision against how much it will interfere with our routine. Please know that if I/we ever arrive late or leave early from something you’ve invited me/us to, that it’s simply because I’m trying to avoid the day being a complete disaster behind the scenes. I promise it isn’t pretty.
We are a morning household.
My son happily sleeps from roughly 7 pm to 6:30 am daily. Yes, it’s very nice to have our evenings free after bedtime. But one thing we don’t get to ourselves ever is mornings. My son wakes up very well rested and is ON from the moment he wakes up until he goes down for a nap. Luckily, I’m a morning person so this works for me. My husband, not so much, and since our son was born he has slowly had no choice but to transition to learning to love mornings.
So sleep training, are there some cons? Yep. Would I sleep train again? Absolutely.
I look at it like this: we only encounter these cons about 10% of the time. 90% of the time we are able to stick with our schedule and are in our normal environment. So yes, dealing with those cons 10% of the time can be stressful and can make me question if this makes sense, but overall it’s so peaceful to know that 90% of the time sleep is not one of our worries.