A mom’s guide to prepare for sleep training

So your baby doesn’t sleep, which means you don’t sleep. Mama, I so have been there. If that’s the case, you may be ready to try sleep training—extinction, Ferber, cry it out, or whatever name you’re using. And if that’s true, you need to prepare for sleep training.

And I’m not talking about prepping your tiny Sleepless in Seattle. I’m talking about preparing you for sleep training.

Because while sleep training is hard on the baby, it’s equally (if not more) difficult for Mom.

I’ve sleep trained both Peeper and Kiwi—and am SO FREAKING GLAD I did. But it’s still hard to worry about your baby and know you could end her tears by sticking a boob in her mouth or bouncing her for 2 hours on a giant yoga ball.

Despite that anxiety many of us moms feel, studies repeatedly show that sleep training is not harmful in the long run. A recent study out of Australia showed that the babies in a Ferber-like sleep training (where they’re allowed to cry for gradually longer periods until they fall asleep on their own) had just as strong bonds with parents and fell asleep on their own faster than their peers in a control group who did not do sleep training. What’s more, they actually had lower evidence of stress in the afternoon than babies who weren’t sleep trained.

Plenty of parents still debate sleep training, and that’s fine. But for someone reading this—likely a parent who is ready to give it a try—having someone try to convince you that sleep training is unsafe is just not helpful.

That’s why I offer these tips to prepare for sleep training. They’ll help you stay strong, get through the few tough days and make it to the other end. When you and Baby are sleeping better, I’ll take a bet that you’ll be glad you tried sleep training, too.

Prepare for sleep training, cry it out or Ferber—by prepping yourself, Mama! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

I have bounced all the bounces: When sleep training works

When I graduated high school, a group of friends and I went camping alongside the sand dunes at Honeyman State Park. We went skinny dipping, we played drinking games, we flirted—and, gathered around a campfire, we burned the spiral notebooks and three-punch paper we had filled with notes on biology, history and literature.

As remnants of high school went up in smoke, I felt ready for a new chapter to begin.

I’m considering doing the same with our giant stability ball—because that’s apparently what I do when sleep training works.

Don't let anyone mommy guilt you about sleep training your baby. Ferber works—and it gave me my life back. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Don’t follow this advice

Worst baby advice // new parents // kids // Ten Thousand Hour Mama

It’s almost a cliché that once you become a parent, everyone—friends, family, randos on the playground—are suddenly an expert at how to raise your child. Sometimes the advice is helpful; sometimes it’s ridiculous; most of the time it’s confusing. (And sometimes it’s obnoxious enough to inspire a rant by yours truly and make me swear off online parenting advice altogether, like this.) But the worst parenting advice seems to find us all, new parents and veterans alike.

Every so often, a mother-to-be or new mama asks me for advice. I could say a lot about getting help with breastfeeding (if you choose to go that route), finding support in other mothers, bringing spare onesies when you fly and plenty of other tips. But what I usually say instead goes something like this:

You are the expert on your baby. You carried her for 40 weeks; you know her better than anyone else in the world. Do what you feel is right and ignore the other advice. Be confident that you will make the best choices for your baby and your family.

I’m grateful to the people who told me something similar. They gave me the support and confidence to follow my own parenting path (one that my husband and I walk together, of course).

Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Here is the worst parenting advice I’m glad I ignored.

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