I always assumed that having a baby up eating and screaming all night was the inescapable norm. Then a friend recommended their sleep training program out of the blue one day. She had me at “12 hours” and “they enjoy bedtime”. I bought a book and was determined to settle for nothing less than complete success. And it happened! And it made all the difference with my new babies. You can have control of your life with a baby! These 20 reasons from my own life illustrate the possibilities when you sleep train your baby.
The purpose of this post is to state my personal reasons for the choice to sleep train my babies early and one time. I have a specific program that I have used and tweaked to fit our home and life. I already have endless posts in the works as far as sleep training inspiration, instruction, and implementation goes. Today, in this post, I’m just sharing what causes the obsession.
1. Sleep training allows Me to Prioritize My Marriage
This is probably the biggest reason I decided to sleep train in the first place. I had seen so many couples start to lead separate lives once their first baby entered the picture. One study measured the conflict levels in couples who slept well compared to those who did not. The couples who had disturbed sleeping patterns over fourteen nights reported more daily marital conflict.
I studied this common marriage issue in depth during my undergrad, and did not want to become a statistic. The day I heard about sleep training as an option I decided I would do whatever it took to make it happen. And guess what? It worked! And as a result, my marriage has never been bettter.
I’m not even exaggerating. We have a blast when the kids are awake, and then we have our time as a couple every single night starting at 8 pm. It’s foolproof and consistent. We have time to actually look at each other, talk about our days, dream about the future, and enjoy each other’s company without giving constant attention elsewhere. In addition, we aren’t bleary eyed from losing sleep the night before. I am awake and alert and can offer my husband real life, actual attention.
2. We don’t have to share our bed
This sort of plays off of the last one. I have seen so many moms invite their babies into their bed early on. The result is almost always the same – dad ends up on the couch a few weeks later. This happens night after night.
We didn’t buy a king size bed for me to share with a baby. That’s what cribs and rooms are for. We both sleep well, consistently, and together. And our babies aren’t restlessly tossing and turning, waking up when we are on their side of the bed.
This allows time to enjoy being together without worrying about waking the baby or having to whisper when talking.
3. Intimacy still happens
In hinting at it in #2, I realized that this is a super important thing, and it is a separate thing.
It’s easy for intimacy to be put on the backburner with a new baby around, especially a baby who is in your room or your bed. We have been so happy to be able to keep our space as our own.
Marital intimacy is normal, healthy, and important to every marriage. If you are prioritizing your child at the cost of your marriage, I promise there is another way.
4. We are both well rested
There is nothing worse than sending your husband off to work after you have both been up all night with a baby. As a busy mom, naps aren’t a reality like I always hoped they would be. Neither of us can go very long on a lack of sleep.
I am so grateful that we both get a full night’s sleep, every night. It makes the grind of every day life so much more – doable.
5. Our life does not looks like this
(Except that my kids do eat the dog food…)
The bottom line is, I love the feeling of being on top of my life, and being in control of whatever I’m allowed to be in control of. (And as a parent, that doesn’t always feel like a lot).
The structure provided through sleep training has been the key to my success as a mother and homemaker. And I’m not exaggerating. I wake up every day bright and early, well-rested, and with no excuses not to be a rockstar mom, housekeeper, cook, and everything else I need to be.
6. I am personally a better mom when I sleep well
I have heard several comments from other moms implying that because they allow their baby to control their life, they love their babies more. While I don’t doubt their love for their babies, and I admire the sacrifice they are willing to give at night, sacrifice for children can come in many forms.
There is another level of sacrifice that comes in the form of teaching children – starting when they are babies. A core component of this blog is about the work that it takes to teach and train our kids, because that’s what it takes to help them to be contributing adults.
I am not saying you won’t have successful adults if you don’t sleep train. Frankly, I don’t really believe that it will make a difference in the long run. Training our kids isn’t a one time thing – it’s a million different steps and approaches every single day.
But, because I sleep train my babies, I have the energy to train, to teach, and to love all day long. My kids are up at 8:00 am and we are on the go. I am happy, more patient, and far more productive.
7. Productive mornings while kids sleep late
Mornings are vital to me. Watching many families have kids wake up at between 4-6 am scared me as a teenager (when sleeping until noon was what I lived for).
As an adult I have tried to wake up earlier in order to fit in those things that were important to me before the real day begins. Things like exercise, cleaning the house, food prep, scripture reading, showering, and so on. I always assumed this time would disappear once kids came into the picture.
But my kids’ day starts at 8:00 every single morning. My toddler stays in his room and plays if he gets up earlier, because it has always been a part of our routine since he was trained as a baby.
I love getting things done in the morning, because it allows me to actually be with my kids the rest of the day. Cleaning and cooking and exercising is possible with them around, but it cuts into my time of enjoying being a mom, going on outings, and focusing on them. I love completing as much in the morning as possible.
8. Nap time is consistently awesome
I have a solid 3 hour period every single day that I can plan, complete tasks, or just enjoy a good book without feeling guilty. I love my mornings with the kids. We have so much fun, and I have so much energy. As any mom knows, though, naptime is a wonderful break! Usually by the time it hits noon my kids are screaming and I’m about to be. Then I get to settle them in bed, focus on my own life for a minute, and start again.
It’s a total reset, and then we have a great time in the afternoon again. It allows us to avoid the stress and constant overwhelm that often comes with motherhood.
9. The Sense of Accomplishment
Sleep training is hard work. There’s no way around it. You have to plan your life and be willing to stick to it for weeks on end. There’s always some regression when travelling. There are times when you will be spending all night going into your baby’s room to soothe them, over and over and over again.
But I’ll never forget that first night when Henry slept quietly in his room from 8:00 pm to 8:00 am, I couldn’t even believe it. I felt so good about what had happened. The end result was beyond worth all of the hard work in the moment. Completing a goal, with a newborn who can’t talk or communicate no less, is an incredible feat.
10. Plans can happen
With babies, it can be almost impossible to keep a single plan you make. I’ve seen so many families get stuck in the rut of just staying home because it’s not worth the extra work to leave the home without knowing when your baby will be hungry or tired.
But I know exactly when my baby will be hungry and tired. I can, and do, plan every single day around it. Leaving the house is a reality. And I consistently can lead a full and productive life, even with young kids in tow.
We love to travel, and our opportunities to get out and do things has been no less since having kids. I credit this almost entirely to sleep training.
11. Because I can
Part of my success and drive to sleep train may have been proving a little point to every single person who told me it was impossible. There’s my competetive nature for you.
I knew it was possible because I had heard success stories from people I trusted. So I stuck with it, and it worked! Boom.
12. Hard things should have an end goal
I figured I’d be up with my babies all night anyways, so why not try the whole sleep training thing. I didn’t want to sacrifice my night’s sleep without a tangible result at the end. So I decided to kick it into gear for those 6 weeks of training, with the goal of a sleeping baby at the end.
Trust me, feeding your baby really quick while being half asleep is the easy option compared to sleep training. You have to be able to say “no” to your baby, and instead comfort them every five minutes until they calm down on their own. Consistency is everything. And you will be awake for much of the night.
BUT, it ends, and you will have your full nights back before you know it.
13. Because it teaches them to be self sufficient
Independent children are happy children. I want my kids to learn that they can do things on their own and be happy and successful. My two year old feels so proud of himself when he does something hard, all my himself.
I felt confident as the process continued that my babies felt their own sense of accomplishment and pride in sleeping through the night.
14. Positive sleep habits are the only thing I can teach my newborn
I am obsessed with teaching and guiding children. When we struggled to get pregnant for a couple of years, the main loss I felt was the ability to help future children to grow, to become, and to learn. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.
I was ready and raring to teach my newborn everything, but realized soon that it’s a slow process before they are ready to learn any new skills.
Sleep training allowed me to teach my babies something hard before they even realized it. It kicked off the learning process right off the bat. It taught our kids that in our home we can do hard things that will have endless positive consequences.
15. I love that my kids don’t think sleep is a bad thing
Habits are hard to break. When you allow your child to sleep in your bed, or to wake up and eat whenever they want – that becomes normal and good to them. If you are worried about your baby crying during sleep training, trust me, they will be screaming much harder when they are 4 years old and have to leave your bed, than if they start out in their own space from night #1.
Sleep is normal, good, healthy, and important for babies and children (and parents). There really is no reason to fight naptime and bedtime every single night. Teach your children that they can be happy, independent, and safe in their bed at night.
16. Parenting is hard enough without a lack of sleep
I am busy, tired, and easily frustrated as a mom, and always working at it. I am constantly striving to better manage our home and all of the details. Balancing the whole homemaker thing will always be a work in progress for the vast majority of us. I don’t know how I could do it all on a spotty night’s sleep, night after night, year after year.
I am so glad I can sleep well. It’s one part of parenting that I have control over, and makes everything seem more possible.
17. Teaching your kids “no” is important
Even when it’s easier and more desireable to say yes, the best thing you can do for your kids is to say “no”.
A fantastic article in Psychology Today talks about the value of telling our children “no” even when it seems difficult. “Your child won’t thank you for saying no, but sometimes a no is the best thing you can do for your child. Mountains of research show that the parenting style that is most beneficial for children involves a combination of warmth and limits. As an adult, you have a breadth of knowledge and experience that your child just doesn’t.”
To me, this was important knowledge for sleep training. It was the first limit I could set for my children, and offer warmth and love all along the way. I knew that having children sleep all night would allow them (and me) to be happier and healthier overall.
18. My kids actually enjoy their bed
My image of bedtime with kids was lots of screams, a million pleas, and kids sneaking out of the bedroom all night. (Maybe I’m remembering my own childhood?) While we have still dealt with this as Henry has become a toddler sleeping outside of his crib, we have the tools and confidence to teach him to stay in bed. It also only happens when we allow him to push limits. He is happier all around when we consistently keep the boundaries in place.
Most nights, in the crib (and now out of it for Henry), our kids happily lay right down and quietly go to sleep. One night, in the early days of talking, when Henry stayed up past his bedtime he looked at us and said, “Bed?” He knew exactly where he wanted and needed to be.
19. Save the battles for other things
My two year old is extremely stubborn, strong-willed, and knows what he wants. I feel like I’m arguing with an adult much of the day. Sleeping is one thing that we don’t have to discuss. He understands that bedtime is normal, good, and non-negotiable.
This saves my energy for teaching him not to push his sister, to eat his vegetables, and to share his toys. I don’t want to be butting heads with my kids all day, and the more I can teach up front, the happier I know we will all be.
20. Because babies can learn
This reason is all encompassing to me for all things that parents teach their children. Kids are far too often underestimated. They are bright, smart, and quick to learn. Anyone watching a baby grow for 2 years can see that. There are things that my kids understand months, or even years, before I would have thought to have taught them.
I have decided that I want to give my children’s ability to learn the benefit of the doubt. And it’s worked. I had questions about if they really could learn to sleep. And they totally could! And I believe because they could, any baby could. It’s really the parents that need the training, because babies are ready to be a part of the household.
Sleep Training Is Right for me!
So there you have it…20 solid reasons of how sleep training affects every single aspect of my life. It has changed motherhood for me, and I’ll never go back. I’ve done the research, I’ve done the work, and I’ve seen the results. I feel confident that this is the best thing for our family, and I’ll never look back!
I am passionate about helping moms and dads to reach their potential in every area of their lives, and for our family – this starts with sleep training. If you found that a few of these reasons resonated with you, check out some of our other sleep training posts.
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