To have a baby that won't sleep — at all — is to know true anguish.
Sleep training tends to punish babies and toddlers for problems that don't belong to them. They are left to cry, put down while they still need a hug, denied milk when they are hungry and ignored when they most need comfort. I don't actually believe any parent wants this for their children, yet their exhaustion leaves them with no other choice. Or so they think
It's one o'clock in the morning and your son, or daughter, is bouncing up and down on the bed, grinning and giggling at you. In their world it's playtime. No matter how hard you encourage them to sleep it's just not happening. An hour or two later they finally wind-down and drift off to sleep, before waking for the day shortly after.
If you want to make parenthood truly lousy then hold in mind an expectation that your baby should sleep through the night. Or your toddler. Or your pre-schooler. Marry unmet expectations with sleep deprivation and you have a potent dose of guilt, failure and worse still, resentment.
It is however a simple matter of fact. No baby sleeps through the night, they never have and never will. Ever. Similarly, no adult has ever, or will ever, slept through the night either. Why then is so much time and money spent on trying to achieve something that is totally impossible?
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If we have realistic expectations we realise that what we really need is not to train our babies and toddlers, but build a network of support once again for parents, a 'village' as some say. The issue really is a problem belonging to adults and society, what really needs fixing?
Babies are incapable of self soothing or self settling in the true sense. Sure, they can suck their thumb, stroke a lovey or take comfort from a dummy/pacifier. This is their limit though. It's like 'self soothing lite'. This 'self soothing lite' requires the baby to be in a position where everything is fine.