What People Say About Parents Who Sleep Train - Pt. 3
Myth Number Three: “You’re teaching your baby that they can’t rely on you.”
This judgment (and it is always said with a heaping amount of judgment) builds off of last week’s sentiment that you are somehow ignoring your baby’s needs by helping them learn to sleep independently. People who ascribe to this belief are convinced that you are teaching your baby that their needs don’t matter, and that you won’t respond when they need you.
In fact, they may even believe that your baby is going to become hopeless, that they will be so convinced that you aren’t going to meet their needs that they will cease to tell you what they want or need, forever.
I have a few thoughts about this:
You don’t have to ignore your baby’s needs to sleep train them. (We’ve discussed this before.)
Sleep is a need, too! Sleep training is a direct response to this need.
A baby who is sleep trained does not stop needing things, nor do they stop crying to have those needs met.
Parents who sleep train don’t never respond to their babies’ cries.
Babies who learn to sleep through the night don’t stop asking for what they need, and parents who sleep-train their babies don’t stop listening and responding to those needs—they just don’t!
In fact, instead of reacting to every cry, these parents know when their baby is crying out of hunger, out of mess, out of pain, or out of exhaustion, and they *respond* to the specific request in a way that meets the specific need appropriately and effectively.
Now, these babies—they do stop waking their parents in the middle of the night to be put back to sleep, But it’s not because they are hopeless, it’s because they don’t need that anymore. They have acquired a really big and amazing skill and can now meet that need for themselves.
And babies who are sleep-trained do still cry.
They cry when they’re hungry.
They cry when they’re in pain or don’t feel well.
They still need their parents to feed them and soothe them and care for them, and they still tell their parents so—sleep training doesn’t make these needs go away, you know.