Our sleep training journey

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If you have read my baby record entry on sleep you will know that my daughter co-slept with me for about 14 months. It was her decision to sleep in her own bed when it finally happens (although I asked I never insisted) and she still tries to get in with me half way through the night sometimes but I do now insist she falls asleep in her own bed.

Co-sleeping was not intentional, I briefly tried controlled crying but all it did was make all of us tense, my husband hates to hear her upset and she just learned to hate her bed. Seeing as the main advice was controlled crying I thought we must retry and persevere but the more I researched learning theory and positive reinforcement with horses the more I started to make comparisons between leaving my baby to cry in a cot and learned helplessness; the state in which you give up trying to communicate your wishes and feelings because no-one comes when you call. I couldn’t help but remember what I had read in my Child Psychology course, about the mental states of the children found in Romanian orphanages… a dramatic and exaggerated comparison but the trains of thought often think of extremes and ‘what ifs’, when you lay contemplating the given norms of advice, waiting for your child to fall asleep.

I realised that I did not want to risk my child thinking I had left her or that if she felt she needed me I wouldn’t be there for her. This is why I will always tell people that co-sleeping was the right decision for us. I would not tell others they should do it as it I tiring for the parent and there are risks to the infant (as indeed there are when your child sleeps in a cot) but I felt it very empowering (for our daughter) to allow our child to have some control over the major changes in her life; she doesn’t seem to have the same level of frustration tantrums as many other children her age and I personally wonder if it is in part because of us allowing her a degree of freedom of choice.

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