How To Sleep Train (Yourself): A Shift in Perspective

Tracking PixelThis is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ergobaby. All opinions, advice and the most adorable baby are 100% my own.

Two things I recently Googled: “how to sleep train a toddler” and “night weaning a 13-month-old.”

If only she would sleep through the night, maybe then (surely then!) life will be easier.

I sometimes wonder, “How did my parents’ generation survive without the Internet?” – only to reprimand myself seconds later for such a ridiculous thought.

“We had an entirely different understanding of motherhood,” my mom replies when I ask. There was no internet to turn to, no parenting books to follow religiously, no sleep experts to consult, no step-by-step magic formulas to discover.

Mothers just followed their instincts and did whatever needed to be done.

“How is she sleeping?” asks a well-meaning friend, as we each chase our respective littles around the playground. It truly is the single most uniting topic of conversation among mothers.

“Keeping mama up at night?” the barista smiles, sliding my venti caramel latte over the counter – two extra espresso shots, please and thank you.

“Still waking up multiple times to nurse?” inquires my mom. Apparently, I slept through the night long before I turned one. You’re welcome, mom.

Ironically, we sleep trained Mila around 3.5 months or so, when we first transitioned her to her own crib, her own room.

Like any first-time mom, I asked friends and family for advice, read article after article and book after book, and finally settled on a method with which we were comfortable.

What followed were a couple blissful weeks – until a new developmental phase hit, followed by a terrible cold, followed by a sleep regression, followed by who-knows-what-else.

Anyone know of a book that addresses all of that?!

Despite my type-A personality, I’m realizing there is no magic formula; there is only you, and your child, and that inexplicable drive to offer love, grace and patience (even at 3AM when she’s calling out for you for the sixth time that night).

Thus, my new mantra: If only I can shift my perspective, maybe then (surely then!) life will be easier.

Here’s a good place to start: Instead of sleep training your baby, sleep train yourself. Below is my advice for doing just that.

Foster a comfortable and safe sleeping environment for your little one.

Much of our frustration in motherhood comes from feeling like we have no control over a particular situation.

Developmental phases, colds, sleep regressions – all these things greatly affect our baby’s sleep but are completely out of our control. Thankfully, there are just as many factors that are entirely in our control. Take, for example, blackout curtains and baby monitors and the room temperature and your little one’s sleeping attire.

Particularly noteworthy: the On-The-Move Sleeping Bag from Ergobaby, a 2-in-1 sleeping bag made of ultra-soft, breathable 100% premium cotton. With adjustable shoulder straps and convertible leg slots, the sleeping bag offers a totally tailored fit for your little one, taking them from sleeping to playing with minimal interruptions. Plus, a two-way zipper allows for easy diaper changes, and a seat belt slot allows for easy travel in a stroller or car seat.

The few sacred hours you do spend snoozing, you can do so peacefully, knowing you’ve done all you can to foster a comfortable and safe sleeping environment.

Forget the books, the formulas, the experts. Forget the internet. Trust your instincts.

If you’re constantly comparing your baby’s sleeping schedule to one guidebook or another, you’re setting yourself up for failure. All that advice is conflicting anyway. How do you know whom to listen to?

In the early months after Mila was born, I would agonize over every little detail, worrying whether I was doing the right thing. It’s natural, especially for first-time parents. But soon enough, I noticed that for every expert and study that said, “Do this,” there were three that said, “Don’t you dare do this. Do that, instead.” Thus, I decided there can’t possibly be one right way to mother.

I’m not saying to never pick up another parenting book again – just be flexible with your approach. Every child is different; some babies love sleep; others not so much. If what you’re currently doing isn’t working, try something else. If nothing seems to be working, change your expectations.

Ultimately, you’ll find your own sleeping rhythm, and over time everything will fall into place.

If all else fails, just remind yourself: “They grow up so quickly…” or “It’s only a phase…” or my personal favorite, “This, too, shall pass.”

The baby isn’t the only one deserving of grace. So, cut yourself some slack.

Because I am a perfectionist, I tend to hold myself accountable to unrealistically high standards in all aspects of my life – motherhood included.

As if keeping a tiny human alive wasn’t consuming enough, I also take on freelance design projects, run a blog, keep the house (mostly) clean 99.9% of the time, prepare home-cooked meals on the regular, make myself look (somewhat) presentable on most days, and so on and so forth.

The list is extensive, and nothing short of perfection will suffice.

But when you’re functioning on little sleep, it’s only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down. So I have to remind myself that moms need grace, too.

Maybe that means hiring a babysitter to watch the baby so you can finish that project. Or maybe it’s simply asking your husband to take over baby duties on Saturday mornings, while you enjoy an extra hour of uninterrupted sleep.

The point is that you can’t do it all, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Tell me, what advice would you add to the list? Share your thoughts in the comments, below.

Thank you to Ergobaby for kindly sponsoring this post. All writing and opinions are always my own and never influenced by any type of compensation. I only work with brands that we truly use and love, so thank you for supporting the companies who make possible!


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