For most new parents, sleep — or lack thereof — can be the bane of your existence. Those early days with a newborn who eats every hour and can't tell the difference between night and day are excruciating, so it's no wonder that so many of us turn to the experts for advice. But are they actually helpful? Or are they only making an already stressful situation worse?
New Mom's Sleep Rant Goes Viral
According to Ava Neyer, a sleep-deprived mother of 5-month-old twins, the many blogs and sleep websites and books on infant sleep create nothing but confusion for parents. Neyer, like a lot of new moms, was frustrated by all the conflicting baby sleep advice she's received, so she put her frustration into words, and the hilarious rant she wrote as a result has now gone viral.
Apparently, other parents can totally relate, probably because Neyer's summary of the classic infant sleep refrains touches a nerve within all of us. She writes:
"You shouldn't sleep train at all, before a year, before 6 months, or before 4 months, but if you wait too late, your baby will never be able to sleep without you. College-aged children never need to be nursed, rocked, helped to sleep, so don't worry about bad habits. Nursing, rocking, singing, swaddling, etc to sleep are all bad habits and should be stopped immediately."
Neyer goes on to talk about the conflicting advice she's received in regards to swaddling, pacifiers, naps, schedules, crying it out, and just about every other aspect of infant sleep. Her ultimate conclusion is that we should:
"Sleep when the baby sleeps. Clean when the baby cleans. Don't worry. Stress causes your baby stress and a stressed baby won't sleep."
Infant Sleep: Is There a Solution?
In lieu of Neyer's rant, I'm not about to start offering infant sleep tips here. She's entirely right — for every bit of advice you get as a new parent, there will be someone else telling you to do the exact opposite. And as tough as sleep struggles can be, they also teach a valuable lesson in parenting — in the end, the choices are all up to you.
Need sleep advice? Here are my two cents: Take expert advice into consideration, but always follow your instincts. Ask questions. Ignore your critics. When one method doesn't work, try a different one. Be open to new ideas. Be willing to change your mind. Make decisions based on what works for YOUR family. Know that this too shall pass.
And most importantly, remember that (as annoying as this advice may be) there really will come a day when you would give anything to hold that baby in your arms — even at 3 a.m. — just one more time.