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There’s No Such Thing as “One Size Fits All” Parenting

Skipping the Sleep TrainingWhen it comes to parenting, everyone seems to think they have some type of corner on the truth. Bring up any topic from how you feed your baby, to how you soothe your baby, to how you put your baby to sleep and someone will probably try to tell you what’s what and give you some advice (wanted or otherwise). It’s all very well-meaning and I’ve definitely given advice myself from time to time, but the thing is: every baby is different. That little golden nugget of advice that’s being doled out? It’s only as good as the baby it’s being used on and some things just don’t work on certain babies … especially when it pertains to sleep.

For example, when I was a naive mother of one, the sleep advice I would have given to another parent would have likely included using white noise, a swaddle, and setting your baby down when they seemed tired so they could learn to fall asleep on their own. I probably would have also recommended moving your baby to their own room as soon as you felt comfortable, because they would probably sleep much better in their own space. Of course your baby might fuss for a bit, but eventually they would calm down and you would both get some good sleep … because this was my experience with my daughter, child number one. Enter child number two, and all the things I thought I knew about babies flew out the window.

Before I had two children, I only had a sample size of one and nothing to compare it to. Of course I could compare my child to other people’s children, but the fact is, it’s a whole different ball game when you are the actual parent and not just an outside observer. Growing my sample size to two has shown me that kids can be radically different. My second child detests any type of swaddle (I’ve pretty much tried them all) and he laughs in the face of white noise. He sleeps like a dream in my arms or in our bed, but the second I put him down (even if he’s in a dead sleep) he wakes up wailing. And while I’m not completely opposed to having him cry a little now that he’s five months old, I have a sneaking suspicion that he would just cry until he passed out. The few times I’ve left him for work engagements or to get a hair cut or something, he’s cried for up to 40 minutes. The other day while stuck in L.A. traffic he cried for nearly an hour, only to stop the moment I took him out of his car seat. He is incredibly stubborn.

So, for now we’re skipping the sleep training. Maybe after a while I’ll try that Baby Wise thing you all keep talking about, or whatever the sleep training craze of the moment might be. But until then, I’m coming to terms with this extra needy baby I’ve been given … the one who will only sleep on my lap or in a carrier. For now, this works and I’m OK with it … or at least sort of OK with it. One day he’ll be a teenager who sleeps in ’til noon and can barely be convinced to leave his own room. On that day I’ll probably miss this stage … or at least I’ll sort of miss it.

 

Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on TwitterFacebookPinterest and Instagram or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble.

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