Friends- I’ve been holding in these feelings for a while, but it’s now time for me to get this off my chest and defend what I do.
In this episode, I’m giving you all my raw thoughts about the anti-sleep training world and some of the horrible, dangerous messaging I hear.
Learn more about sleep training, attachment, and mental health here:
- Does Sleep Training Ruin Healthy Attachment?
- Sleep training, healthy attachment, and mental health- how and why these 3 go hand-in-hand with Dr. Jill Satin, PhD
Want to get your little one consistently sleeping 11-12 hours at night so you can be a functioning human? Join my FREE training HERE!
Hey there, you’re listening to the, My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.
Hi everyone. Hope you’re having a great day. So I am getting a little bit feisty today. You know, I, I thought about whether or not I wanted to record this podcast episode, and then I kind of hit my wit’s end when it comes to this particular topic. And I just have to let this off my chest. So I’m here today to talk about my feelings about the anti sleep training world and the messaging that they are often sending to their people. There’s no words to describe how much this messaging makes my blood boil. Namely that a I am this horrible, terrible person for teaching exhausted parents, how to sleep, train their babies, and B that the parents themselves are doing this terrible, awful, horrible damage to their little ones. I just got a call, uh, this morning from a prospective client whose four month old is waking her up every 90 minutes all night long.
And she is desperate for some help, but she is petrified about doing any kind of sleep training, even damage even, but she is petrified about doing any kind of sleep training, even gentle sleep training because she read somewhere or was told, or, you know, saw something that said that if you’re a baby cries and you don’t, you know, help them fall asleep, that it’s going to damage them for life. This messaging is unbelievably damaging. It is predatory. And most importantly it is 100% false. There is no evidence to back up any of these strong, unbelievably horrible things that this world says. And I don’t want to dive into detail when it comes to, you know, specifically the discussion around attachment, because I actually have a separate podcast episode where I interviewed Dr. Shawna Alverez who spoke all about attachment parenting versus attachment theory and sleep training.
And she goes into this in much more detail, basically explaining why she agrees with everything that I’m saying that it’s unbelievably harmful messaging that it’s false. And she goes into Intuit in much more detail. So I’m going to link that episode, um, below in the show notes. So you can take a look at it. But the one thing that I do want to emphasize when it comes to just the piece about evidence and the fact that there is no evidence to back this up, I have seen time and time again, people asking for proof, you know, prove to me that if I sleep, train my baby in some way, shape or form that it’s going to affect their attachment. And I haven’t seen anyone in that world be able to produce a shred of evidence to back that up. What they might do is they might say here, check out this article.
This article explains why sleep training is damaging. Here’s the thing parents listen up. An article is not evidence. An article is literally just explaining someone’s opinion in more detail. And maybe that person who’s explaining their opinion might have a bunch of letters next to their name, but you know what? There are just as many articles written by people who also have a ton of letters next to their name who are going to disagree with it and show the, and, and, and look at things from the completely opposite perspective. And so it’s important to recognize that when they are showing you an article as a form of evidence, that’s actually not evidence. It’s just explaining someone’s opinion, but in order to prove a theory, to be fact like, you need to have studies to back that up. So if you need that evidence, absolutely take a look, listen to, you know, my, my interview with Dr.
Dr. Shawna Alverez. But because we know that these statements are 100% false, it makes my blood boil, knowing what kind of damage this is going to cause because for so many families, sleep training is an absolute godsend. It is precisely what they need to be able to get their little one sleeping so that they can feel like a functioning human again, so that they can feel whole again, so that they can take control of their physical health, of their mental health, of every aspect of their life, of their marriage, of their business, of their job, all of which is suffering because their little one isn’t sleeping. And given that all the statements are 100% false. It’s so unfortunate to me that this messaging is so prevalent. And of course, you know, when, when a sleep deprived mom is feeling so vulnerable and so desperate, and here’s this, it’s going to take a toll on her and it’s going to make her, you know, think twice about making this parenting choice.
That really should just be seen as that it’s a parenting choice. It’s a risk, it’s a completely respectable parenting choice to make, because here’s something that I want to emphasize so strongly here. I purposely don’t go around preaching, sleep training to everybody. Why? Because it is absolutely irrespectable parenting choice, but not every parent decides to sleep, train. Um, some don’t feel the need to, for some it they’re able, they figure out another way for everybody in their family to be able to sleep. And you know, what if what you’re doing is working for you and you decided to not sleep train, that is fantastic. Good for you. You figure out you do you, right. I would never tell someone to do something that works for them, but for a lot of families, sleep training is what they need because they’ve tried everything else they’ve tried.
Co-sleeping, they’ve tried this. They’ve tried that, and it does not work. And the status quo is just not working for them. And as a result, their physical health is suffering. Their mental health is suffering. Their marriage is suffering. They’re falling asleep on the job. You know, they’re barely functioning. And so sleep training for so many families that I work with is an absolute godsend. And you know, something that Dr. Shauna Alverez, I keep referring to this podcast episode, but I think it was so unbelievably helpful. What she continuously emphasized throughout this interview is that there is no one size fits all approach to raising a healthy, emotionally stable child. There are multiple routes that you can take that will get you from point a to point B and with sleep and sleep training. It’s no different. Some might choose to sleep train, and some might not.
And that’s okay. But the problem that I have with the sleep, the anti sleep training world is that they don’t agree with that. They say, no, you got to do things my way. This is not an acceptable parenting choice. And if you do it, it’s going to harm your kid. Even though I don’t have any evidence to back that up, this is just what I think. And then as a result there, it’s not respectful of any other choice other than what they are telling people what to do you see? I would have no problem if their messaging was, Hey moms, you know what? If you don’t want to sleep train, I’ve got another option for you. You know, you can come to me, come and, you know, do my program or get my support. And I’ve got another option for you because sleep training might not be for you.
That’s fantastic. Amazing. I am all for offering multiple options so that parents can figure out what works for them, but that’s not the messaging here. The messaging is you sleep, train your baby. You’re going to harm them. Even though I don’t have any evidence to back that up. And I have a really, really, really big problem with that. Because for so many families, the consequences of not getting their little one consistently sleeping through the night are astronomical. Here’s another thing that drives me, absolutely crazy about the messaging in the anti sleep training world. What drives me up the wall and it is that what they are offering to the vast majority of these exhausted sleep deprived. Parents is not helpful. It’s not helpful whatsoever to tell an exhausted mom, enjoy the snuggles. The days are long, but the years are short or just enjoy it.
They’re not going to be young forever. That’s another way of saying, suck it up. Buttercup, quit complaining. You decided to become a parent. You decided to have a baby. And so chronic sleep deprivation needs to come along with it. That’s not helpful. It’s not helpful to, to tell a mom, you want a break during the day. So you want to be able to put your baby down for a nap and have an hour and a half to yourself. No, sorry. You don’t get to have that break. You need to hold your baby the entire time for their nap and you have to enjoy it. That’s terrible. That’s awful. And it’s not the least bit helpful. And it doesn’t validate the fact that this mom does in fact, need that time to herself to be able to recuperate. So this completely unhelpful, you know, guilt ridden messaging of this is what you should be doing and you should enjoy it is so it’s such a, it, it, it, it messes with people’s minds because what it does is it tells an exhausted mom, if you don’t enjoy this, if you don’t enjoy waking up with your baby all night long, or you don’t enjoy holding her all day long for naps, then it must mean that there’s something wrong with you.
And I’m not just making this up. I’ve had numerous people reach out to me, tell me that they feel guilty for wanting to put their baby down for a nap independently so that they can have a break. Why is it now considered selfish for a mom to want a break? Why is it considered selfish for a mom to want to sleep at night when sleep is not a luxury? It is a physiological necessity. Just like air, just like water and just like food to be able to survive. Why is a mom considered selfish for wanting these basic things? It’s a problem when Eliana, my middle child was four and a half months old and she was waking me every 90 minutes all night long. There was someone that I bumped into, you know, one day I remember, and I was telling her how exhausted I was.
She was asking me, oh, you know, how’s the baby. And I was like, oh, baby’s not sleeping. And I’m losing my mind. And this person, I’m assuming with the best of intentions, you know, said something along the lines of like, oh, just enjoy, just enjoy those nighttime snuggles, because they’re not going to last forever. And, you know, enjoy them while they’re young, because this isn’t always going to be the case. And I’ll tell you what I said to her, which I think gave this person, you know, a, it managed to open her eyes a little bit to, you know, really what she was telling me. What I said to her was, I agree. I want to enjoy my little wines. And I can’t do that when I’m so exhausted from waking up every 90 minutes all night long. So to those of you who hear that messaging, and you’re not quite sure how to respond to your well-intentioned, you know, family members or friends start with that.
You know, that’s where I start, where I I’ve always said, I know that my kids are only little for a short period of time. I’m talking as a mom whose oldest kid is now 10. So yes, I absolutely agree with the general framework, that general sentence of like, yes, the days are long and the years are short. The days are long, but the years are short. 100% agree. And as a result for me, sleep training was the best thing that I could have done because it meant that I was able to enjoy and really appreciate those years when my kids were little. And now JJ, quite frankly, is still two and a half. So in my eyes, he’s still very little, but I absolutely agree that to a huge extent, the time flies by. And I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy that time with my kids when they were little, if I wasn’t sleeping properly at night.
So here’s, I think to those of you, you know, who might have concerned or critical family members, you know, or friends that might know that your sleep training, first of all, I am of the belief that you don’t have to defend your parenting choices to anyone that your parenting choices are between you and your partner. But I also get that if you’re close with your family members and close with your friends, then you know, you might still feel the need to explain why you are making this choice. And so I would start by really addressing your why, why do you need to sleep, train your baby? What is going on in your life that is causing this, that, that as a result of this sleep deprivation, certain aspects of your life are suffering. And so I coach my clients through this, you know, my clients will say to me, Eva, you know, my, my mother is so against any kind of sleep training and you know, or my mother-in-law, or, you know, my sister thinks that it’s, you know, the worst possible thing in the entire world.
And I think that if you start by explaining your why, you know, you say, listen, I’ve tried everything else, nothing else is working. I’m really, my anxiety is really out of control right now, or, you know, my depression is really at an all time low, really at an all time high. Um, my marriage is suffering. I barely had any energy to talk to my husband at the end of the day. I don’t even have time to talk to him because it takes me two hours to get the baby to sleep only for her to wake up two hours later. You know, when you explain the bigger picture to your loved ones, in terms of why you have made this specific parenting choice, it’s, you can almost guarantee that, you know, your parents is going to take a step back and go, oh gosh, you know, it didn’t even occur to me that you were suffering so much, right?
I wasn’t aware that, you know, you were suffering so much or that, you know, the toll that you’re, that the toll that it was taking, you know, on all these aspects of your life, I had no idea or, you know, mom, I’m about to get fired from my job because I’m making so many stupid mistakes that I never make because I’m so sleep deprived. You know, these are really big things that when you explain to your family members, again, you don’t owe them an explanation, but if you want to have a respectable conversation, this would be where I would start with. I would start with the Y because the Y is the huge part of this conversation. Another aspect, when it comes to your, why that you can emphasize is that this is something that’s going to benefit your little one, hugely. I mean, let’s not forget that your baby or toddler or preschooler is also human, who is going to who, who also needs wickedly, awesome sleep, just like us adults do, because let’s not forget that when your little one is consistently sleeping through the night and napping like a champ, it’s going to help support their immune system.
It means that they’ll be happier and less cranky during the day because they’re more well rested. You know what? It’s also going to help with. It’s going to help with their nourishment. It’s going to help with feeding because it means that a, when they wake up completely well rested that next day, they have the energy and the wherewithal to explore eating, explore solid food, actually have the energy to be able to sit down and concentrate on picking up that piece of chicken and putting it in their mouth and chewing it and swallowing it. It also means that even if they’re not on solid food just yet, or they’re not eating solid food, primarily that, and they’re still relying on milk for nourishment. It means that they can now look at milk as a form of nourishment, as opposed to a means of falling asleep, which is going to help them eat better during the day as well, because they’re not using the breast or the bottle to fall asleep and snooze on.
So to those of you listening here who are on the fence about sleep training, you’re dying for a good night’s sleep. You’re really suffering from not sleeping properly, but at the same time, you’re feeling hesitant because of this messaging in the anti sleep training world that you have heard. I want you to know, first of all, I hear you and I see you. You are not alone here. There are so many people in your position who are feeling stuck. And I want you to know that if you feel the need to sleep train, if you want to sleep, train your little one, that it is a completely respectable choice and understandable choice for you to make. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to, but remember that there are multiple routes that you can take to get you from point a to point B so that you can raise that emotionally stable child that you want to raise while at the same time taking care of yourself and your family’s needs.
So I am giving you permission to explore sleep training as a completely respectable parenting choice, because it is please do your best to ignore that very damaging predatory and most importantly, false messaging that you might hear elsewhere because there isn’t an ounce of truth behind any of it. So thank you so much for listening in to this rant of mine. I do selfishly feel a little bit better now that I got this off of my chest, and I hope that this benefits even one person listening in. And one more thing I want to mention is if you are today, struggling with your little one sleep and you want to get them consistently sleeping through the night so that you can go back to being a functioning human. Again, I’ve got a free masterclass that you can check out that will teach you how to get your little one sleeping like a champ so that you can wake up and feel normal and human and sane again. So I will post the link to that below. You can check out that free masterclass in the show notes. Thank you so much, everyone for listening in and have a wonderful day.
Thanks guys for listening. Have a great day. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listeners. So feel free to DM me on Instagram @mysleepingbaby, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org until next time have a wonderful restful nights.