The topic of sleep training has become widely discussed within experts weighing in with different opinions that vary across the spectrum.
From the somewhat extreme “Cry-It-Out (CIO)” method that leaves your baby to cry themselves back to sleep without the intervention of parental help, to having the baby sleep with you in bed (co-sleeping) well after just a few months, parents around the world are trying to find out what type of sleep training is best for their baby.
After scouring the internet in search of some answers, I came to an epiphany that maybe rather than looking for the best type of sleep training is best for our baby, I should be trying to understand what kind of sleep training is best for us (i.e. mom and dad).
The term ‘co-sleeping’ can hold a few different meanings. It can mean when the child shares the bed with you and your partner, sleeps in the same room or when a parent sleeps with them in their room. For the first 6 months of their life, co-sleeping is rightly justified. Afterwards, it’s probably time to adjust to a new method. Prolonged co-sleeping can lead to a number of unfortunate situations like lack of sleep (thus continuous fatigue and short tempers), a lack of privacy and intimacy between the couple (which can lead to poorer communication and partnership), and eventually can lead to a decrease in priority in the relationship.
Child & Family Blog ran a study on how co-sleeping affected the child and the parents over the first 12 months of their lives. They came to the conclusion that the effect on the child didn’t seem to be significant rather the effect on the couples relationship did. Parents that continued to co-sleep after 6 months appeared to have poorer communication skills, a lack of sensitivity to the child and seemed to suffer from higher levels of fatigue. After reading a few more personal blogs on their experience with co-sleeping and the effects on their marriage (like this one from Fatherly), I came to the conclusion that co-sleeping is not for me.
Other than co-sleeping there are other methods like CIO, “Gradual Extinction” and several more. I think until the actual moment my first child comes into our lives, I can’t really know how or what I am going to want to do. But what I have learned from my research is that when the moment does come to decide how to sleep train, it’s essential that both parents are on the same page about what/how to do it (or at least a healthy compromise) and that we will put a priority in finding a solution that benefits us as a couple as well. Because in the end, our child will benefit the most from having parents with a strong partnership that is full of support, appreciation, respect and of course, continued love.