Tag Archives: baby

To Sleep Train or Not to Sleep Train

That’s the question, isn’t it?

Before I dive right in and give you my two cents on this one, I’m going to forewarn you that what I have to say isn’t cut and dry. It doesn’t necessary fall neatly into black and white, yes or no. And most importantly, only YOU can decide if, when and how you want to sleep train your baby. I know, I know. Everyone says this! But that’s because it’s absolutely, totally, unequivocally TRUE. The unfortunate part is that if you’re anything like me, you may not entirely understand and appreciate this right away. It took me some time to settle into my new reality where…

  • I’m a mom.
  • I make important and critical decisions every single day.
  • There are no right and wrong answers. Ever.
  • I don’t have to (and I shouldn’t) listen to anything or anyone else except my own motherly instinct.

What kind of “sleep training” are we talking about here?

Everyone has a different idea of what “sleep training” is. Are we talking about cry it out (CIO)? “Ferberizing” or the Ferber Method? “No tears” approaches? Something that falls between the two?

What does “sleep training” mean to you?

Before you start or try any kind of method on your baby, you need to answer this question. But it’s more than just what is sleep training…

What are you trying to achieve?

This is a farrrr more important question to answer. If you do decide to “train” your baby to sleep, you need to know what kind of results you’re after because you wouldn’t be considering it if you were satisfied with whatever sleep habits your baby already has, right?

clockWe all have a different idea of what a “good sleeper” is. To some moms a good sleeper is one whose longest straight sleep run is five hours and who wakes up for 1-2 feeds a night. To other moms, a good sleeper is a baby who sleeps 12 hours straight through the night with zero wakings. And for some moms, the time stretch makes no difference at all but they’re more concerned with whether or not their baby can fall to sleep on their own (without incessant rocking, singing, snuggling, etc.).

You’re considering sleep training your baby. Why?

This may be even more important than the last question because it forces you to dig a little deeper.

Okay, so you want your baby to sleep better. Yeah, who doesn’t? But you’re a parent now. And do you know what that really means? It means you’re forever changed. It means that you now have someone else to care for and to make decisions for other than yourself – and you LOVE that person more than you love yourself. It means that you relinquish all your personal wants, needs, priorities and conveniences to those of your kid.

It’s not about you anymore. It’s about them.

You want to sleep train your baby because if he or she were a better sleeper that would be a whole lot better for YOU! You’d have your sleep back. You wouldn’t have to wake up multiple times through the night. And you wouldn’t have to go to sleep at 9pm to feel rested the next day.

I’ve got news for you.

Being a parent is horribly inconvenient. But you chose this role. You were excited to have a baby and to start a family of your own. Along with that come adjustments and sacrifices. Some big, some small. All significant.

So then, is sleep training your baby the right choice if the primary reason you’re doing it is to make your life more convenient.

“But my baby will be healthier if he gets a good night sleep.”

Yeah, I’ve heard this one before. Sounds good. Makes sense. Yes, we all need sleep to be healthy and to feel good.


Does this take priority over tending to your baby when he tells you he needs you? Babies’ only way of communicating with us is by crying. If she’s crying, she needs something. She’s scared, uncomfortable, sad, in pain, overtired… she’s something. And she needs you to help her.

And you’re going to sit back and say, “Oh, he’s just manipulating me. He knows I’ll come if he cries but he doesn’t really need me. I’m going to let him scream bloody murder until he falls asleep so he knows how to do it on his own.”

You know what else? Lots of times this extended, excessive crying even leads babies to puke because they’re crying SO HARD! What!? Are you serious? And CIO advocates then say, don’t worry, it happens, just go in, change them, put new sheets on the bed, don’t make eye contact, put them back down and walk out. WOW. So now, parenting, which is one of the closest and most special bonds that exists between people on this earth, has become a detached, disjointed, cold and heartless interaction.

In business terms…

How can we compare baby sleep training to business? Think of how you would go about training a new employee.

Would you neglect, abandon and leave them to figure out how to perform new duties on their own? Would you expect them to single-handedly learn key aspects of your business that you’ve lived and breathed for years? Would you block out and ignore their pleads and cries for help in their first days, weeks and months on the job?

teacherA good teacher, coach or trainer is…


Learning how to sleep is a skill just like any other. Mastering a new skill takes time. It’s a process. And it’s one that calls for a caring, respectful and motivational teacher.

The “pros” and “claims” of sleep training in a CIO way.

  • Your baby might master the skill of falling asleep on his own
  • It works fast (usually within a week or so)
  • Other than listening to your baby cry, it’s easy (as in, it doesn’t break your back, it takes up less of your time in the room with your baby, essentially, it’s a “hands-off” approach)
  • You’re teaching your baby sound sleeping patterns which are important now and throughout her life
  • Kids who complete the training may be less likely to throw tantrums before bedtime and to wake their parents through the night, and may be more likely to settle within 10 minutes at night
  • Parents who complete the training may experience less stress, better overall mood and improved interactions with their children

crying-babyThe “cons” of sleep training with extended periods of crying.

  • When a baby is highly distressed, the stress hormone cortisol is released, and in excess, this kills neurons which may lead to negatively affected brain development
  • Stress early in life can be associated with a poorly functioning brain and stress response system later in life, which in turn, can lead to various disorders
  • Studies show that babies actually learn to self-regulate in the company of their caregivers who tend to them when they cry – if they’re left alone to cry, then learn to shut down when faced with excessive stress
  • In a baby’s first year of life, trust is being established, with you, with the world and with themselves – if their needs are dismissed or ignored, they learn that their relationships and the world cannot be trusted which can lead to low self confidence, feelings of mistrust and a general emptiness
  • As a caregiver, if you learn to ignore your baby crying, this may inadvertently make you less susceptible to your baby’s more subtle signals of need or distress
  • Studies show links between a caregiver’s responsiveness and most, if not all, of their baby’s positive outcomes including intelligence, empathy, lack of aggression or depression, self-regulation and social competence
  • If you leave a baby to cry, yes, they’ll eventually stop crying but not because the problem was resolved but because they gave up hope that you’ll come to help them – this can lead to a detached baby who is less responsive, appears depressed and who lacks empathy
  • The parent-child relationship is all about the parent being there for their child – leaving your baby to cry without comfort or response damages the relationship that you’re working so hard to build
  • Children whose parents are not consistently sensitive and responsive often suffer from insecurity
  • It doesn’t always work, AND, even if it works the first time parents often need to retrain with CIO over and over again (after travels, after teething, after milestones and growth spurts)

Why I didn’t do CIO.


Many studies show that there is no correlation between later-in-life consequences (such as those listed above) and whether or not children were sleep trained with extensive crying.

Having said that!

If there is even the slightest chance that I am putting my baby at risk of developing any of the risks listed above, then why and how, could I do that? In the world I live, I wouldn’t be able to call myself a good mother after that.


I simply CANNOT listen to my little prince cry for more than a few minutes. Not only do I strongly disagree with it, but I am physically, emotionally and mentally incapable of doing it.


I’m a strong believer that if it’s easy, it’s probably…

  1. Not the right choice
  2. A cop-out or a pipe dream
  3. Not going to work

And if I don’t feel right about something then I know there is no way I’ll be able to see it through, execute it successfully, or live with the guilt of having made a poor decision that I knew in my gut wasn’t a good one.

What I DID do and am still doing.

Just because you don’t want to let your baby cry it out alone, doesn’t mean there’s nothing else you can do to help him establish good sleep habits!

In my case, with my little prince, here’s what I do before every nap and bedtime:

  • Do quiet play about 15 minutes before I think he might go down (in other words, no Jolly Jumper, no dance offs and no high pitched, over excited talk)
  • Walk into his room and close the door
  • Talk to him, tell him it’s sleep time
  • Turn the fan on (I’m a big fan – pun intended – of white noise)
  • Sit down in our rocker and read him a book (or two or three)
  • Get up and close the blinds or turn out the light
  • Sit back in the rocker and offer the boob
  • Sing a silly song I made up as I walk him to the crib, lay him down slowly and put him in his sleep sack

This last step with the song is a brand new addition to our routine! Before that, I used to read a book above his head in the crib but lately it seemed as though this was almost exciting him too much, so I’ve switched to the song. I know he loves when I sing to him despite my horrid excuse for a voice so it makes sense.

Now, sometimes this works beautifully and within a few minutes he goes to sleep without a fuss. Other times, it doesn’t work at all and he needs me to pick him up, rock him, cuddle him and be with him. (Which I remind myself is so precious, so special, and so temporary, and therefore, I relish in it.) Sometimes he does long stretches between feeds. Sometimes he sleeps right through the night. Sometimes he wakes up often. There is definite progress but there are also so many uncertainties…

But there are a few things I’m sure of, and they outweigh what I’m unsure of.

I’m sure our routine will change again soon.
I’m sure he’ll need my help going to sleep many a time over.
I’m sure it won’t be easy.
I’m sure that eventually, he’ll be able to go to sleep on his own EVERY time.
I’m sure I’ll always be there when he needs me.
I’m sure that I’ll never regret being a super sensitive and responsive parent.
I’m sure it feels right.
I’m sure that one day, I too, will sleep soundly again.



My Baby Makes Me More Efficient

Whether something is decided to be a benefit or a disadvantage is relative. What we think to be positive or negative has everything to do with our outlook, our point of view…our perspective. One person’s drawback is another person’s triumph. What one person perceives to be a problem, another person thinks is their greatest advantage.

The Right Mindset Will Get You Everywhere

A number of years back, after university, before I became self-employed and when I felt generally lost in life, I began to read Eckhart Tolle books, I created a dream board and I familiarized myself with the law of attraction. Through these personal teachings, I grew self aware of the debilitating capacity of my own thoughts and understood that my unhappiness was, simply put, MY FAULT.

It was an empowering realization.


Because this meant that I could control my state of mind. That I could choose to see the good in every situation. That even though I knew I wanted to make big changes in my life, that my happiness wasn’t the byproduct of my surroundings.

It was me.

“My Baby Takes Up All My Time!”

The first words that come to mind for a suitable response are…

No shit!

Like I said before, raising a baby is a FULL TIME JOB. Not part time, not contract…FULL time. For new moms like me, it’s certainly an adjustment and I’ve learned what it feels like to be robbed of my personal time.

Feel like writing a blog post? (ahem, hem) Better postpone that inspiration for the next time your baby decides to take a nap.

Dying to go to the gym? That’ll need to be timed impeccably around feedings, naps and babysitters.

BUT…I’m Now a Much More Efficient Person

The fact that the amount of time I have in a day to complete my to-do list has been cut by 75% is actually a huge benefit. You see, I now have less time to do more. And so I’ve become highly efficient at everything I do.

Let me give you a few examples:

  1. I make to-do lists in order of priority. Thought you were forgetful during pregnancy? Just wait. But these lists (thank goodness for Evernote) don’t only help me remember what I need to do, but they also serve a second, very important, function: The moment my personal time kicks in, I’m ready to maximize it.
  2. When my little prince goes down for a nap, I move like a bat out of hell! As I’m bouncing, dancing, swinging and cajoling my son to sleep, I’m thinking about what I’m going to do when it’s lights out.
  3. Every time I get a few minutes throughout the day, I break a sweat knocking items off my list. You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish in 10 minutes when you have no idea when the next 10 is coming.
  4. I’ve become a GREAT multi-tasker. My little guy has officially entered the phase where he loves to see and explore the world around him. So, I’ll often kill two birds with one stone carrying him around the house and doing the odd (one-handed) job here and there. Everybody wins!
  5. I’ve become an even better uni-tasker. When I had all the time in the world to get things done, it wouldn’t really matter how long it took me, or how I did it, or whether or not I got distracted while doing it. Now, I’ve learned that in many scenarios, being a uni-tasker is far better than being a multi-tasker. Sit down, concentrate and get ’er done. Then move on to the next task.
  6. When I work, I’m more focused. Knowing very well that I have a limited amount of time has worked wonders in my business life. When the prince is fed, happy and sleeping, it’s my time to be productive. So I bear down and get to it. No messing around. And it feels great!

Adaptation is Key

evernoteYou’ve got free reigns to sit there and complain about the fact that your new baby leaves you with little to no time for yourself. Or, you can chalk it up to an albeit different interpretation but one that actually has great benefit.

While I’ll admit that at first it certainly didn’t feel like a benefit, after a couple months whizzed by, I began to notice that my efficiency is sky high!

Fellow new mothers, I swear, my baby makes me more efficient!

What about you? Has your baby given you a new superpower? Do tell.

Life’s Ultimate Transition to New Mom

Going from a kid-less, entrepreneurial, social fiend to a seldom working, homebody mom is no seamless adjustment.

Awesome? Yeah.
Easy? No.

Life is characterized by transitions. By accomplishments and milestones that signify change and that make up who we are.

In my 32 years, I’ve transitioned from child to adult, from gymnast to dancer, from student to working professional, from single to married – all with relative ease. My most recent transition from “just me” to “me plus one” (and no, I don’t mean my husband) has been my most challenging and rewarding transition to date.

What I Thought

Ha! Can’t we all relate to this? I can think of several statements I’d start with, “Well, I thought it was going to be like this…”

It’s natural. We’re human. As much as we know we shouldn’t, we make presumptions. We guess, we plan, we imagine and we create conclusions in our minds before an event has even taken place. We think it’ll help us prepare for what’s ahead. But, more often than not, it simply makes us turn around when it’s all said and done and say, “Well, I thought it was going to be like this…But it was actually like this…”

I Had It Allllll Planned Out

During my 38 weeks of pregnancy, I was able to design and plan out my life as a new mom. First, let me tell you that I don’t shy away from challenges and I think I’m capable of pretty much anything. (Doesn’t every mom entrepreneur need this mindset to survive?!) So I figured that within a few weeks – yes weeks – that I’d be a fantastic mom, that I’d be running my business at 50% capacity (at least!) and that I’d be enjoying social outings on a regular (maybe modified outings, but outings nonetheless).

Ha! BIG ha! Joke’s on you, mom.

How It Really Went Down

Let’s put it this way, it’s been 14 weeks and while I do believe that I’m a pretty great mom, my business is at about 20% capacity and a social outing to me these days is a trip to the drugstore. There’s a reason why full time employees get a year’s maternity leave! I mean, seriously, how many hours do I think there are in a day? Truth be told, I spend the bulk of my days breastfeeding, changing, wiping spit-up off sleepers that have only been worn a few mere moments, eating with one hand, peeing with my son sitting on my lap and trying to get a little sleep in half-hour spurts if I’m lucky! Let me paint you a little picture: no exaggeration, right now, the only way I could write this post is by standing with my son in a carrier strapped to the front of me, with my Macbook perched atop the fireplace mantle (which just happens to be the perfect height) and my ten fingers drumming away furiously on my keyboard in an effort to get all my thoughts out before my little prince decides he’s had enough in this position.

mom-carrying-babyAs I listen to my husband’s stories of the new programming code he mastered that day, of how many visitors his website got, of the new client that hired him…I can’t help but feel, well, a little lacking in the intellectual stimulation department. And as I get friend invites to go on Vegas trips and I watch new pics of wild nights out get posted on social media…I can’t help but feel left out.

Life has changed. I’m missing things. I can’t do everything I once did.

But then I remind myself:

If I had a childless life right now, that means I wouldn’t know what it feels like to…

Create another human being.
Become a real family.
Fall asleep with your baby on your chest.
See your baby’s smile for the first time.

I’m not missing out. Life’s most meaningful moments have only just begun.

Just Because I Say it isn’t Easy, Doesn’t Mean it isn’t Rewarding

The most difficult and complex experiences in life are the ones that are most rewarding.

They’re the ones that push you to the limits and force you to dig deeper than you ever have before.

They’re the ones that make you a bigger, better person.

They’re the ones you always remember and the ones you share with others.

They’re the experiences worth having.

A New Outlook

The first three months of my baby’s life have been a huge – astronomical – adjustment. I’m forever changed. As I gaze into my little Brody’s eyes, I’m filled with a feeling I’ve never had before. Of course I feel love, I feel pride, I feel gratitude…but it’s much more than that.

Sure, we can go through life living, working, playing. But if we never choose to have children, what happens when we’re gone? Where does it all go? What’s our purpose? What makes it all worthwhile?

No, no. Not good enough. What I feel as a new mother is something big, something significant. It’s legacy. My son is an extension of me and of who I am. He represents what comes after.

The Takeaway

Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned over the last three months:

  1. Giving birth is the most painful experience I ever hope to have in my lifetime. It’s also the most incredible…IF you get an epidural.
  2. Husbands give birth too. (Don’t think it’s easy for your partner to watch you in agony knowing he can’t do a single thing to help you.)
  3. When the nurse puts your newborn baby on your chest, instantly nothing else in the world matters. (And that feeling never really fades.)
  4. It’s crazy how you can feel so much love for someone you just met. Now I know what love at first sight really is.
  5. One of the most special days in a person’s lifetime is the day they bring their newborn home from the hospital.
  6. A long, continuous sleep is something I won’t have again for a very, very long time. And I’m okay with that.
  7. If you’re not fortunate enough to get a good latch, breastfeeding pain is a very close second to labour.
  8. Breastfeeding isn’t just how you feed your baby. There’s a whole science behind it.
  9. There are lots of successful entrepreneurial traits that also make you a successful mother.
  10. If you’re determined enough, you really can conquer anything.
  11. This couldn’t be more true: “It takes a village to raise a baby.”
  12. Days pass like hours, hours pass like minutes and minutes pass like seconds.
  13. You can’t work full time and be a fantastic mother.
  14. If you’re too busy worrying about time, money and work you miss all the good stuff.
  15. I constantly feel guilty when I’m not working.
  16. My son has already taught me to dismiss my guilt, to take these precious months in stride and to treasure: Every. Single. Moment.
  17. Sleep is EVERYTHING.
  18. No matter how fit you are, nothing can prepare you for new mother back and neck pain. And nobody gives you fair warning!
  19. You can lose your belly in a week and half.
  20. Finding the perfect time to have sex…when the baby is quiet, when you and your partner are together, when you’re both in the mood and when all the stars align in perfect cosmic balance…is f*cking challenging!
  21. Watching your baby change, grow and evolve every day is better than sex. Uhhh…okay, maybe a tie?
  22. You can’t put a price on a good support network.
  23. Giving birth should also include the growth of a third arm.
  24. It is possible to painstakingly miss someone after just one hour.
  25. All the judgments you ever had about other parents go out the window, because now, you finally get it.

New mom, motherly entrepreneur, business woman and expectant new mother! What are you learning as you make your journey?

Comment, share, vent!

I want to hear all about it.