Spring Mini Series Installment #2 – Baby Training and Sleep

My dad always used to say “dead man don’t need no sleep” and we would all laugh. We would laugh because we did not yet understand the depth of those words. Parenting is not a literal death but it is definitely dying to oneself in a whole new way and in hardly any other way is this more evident or more felt than in the sleep arena.

Sleep is a very hotly debated topic among parents and understandably so since of all the things in life after baby sleep is in short supply and emotions and exhaustion are running high. There is a line of thought that babies need to be trained to sleep that they are born with messed up sleep patterns that must be set straight by their parents so that they learn “healthy” sleeping habits. To sleep-deprived parental minds and bodies, nothing makes more sense than that. I mean how can it possibly be that waking every few hours is healthy? How can it be that someone can’t wait to eat until later? How can it be that day is a better time to sleep than night? And doesn’t it make sense that a baby must learn what is healthy and right? How else do they know to sleep when it is dark? Plus every other internal signal doesn’t seem to line up with ours and it has to some time, right? Continue reading “Spring Mini Series Installment #2 – Baby Training and Sleep”

Yoga For Gentle Sleep

Some children are natural sleepers. They require little to no bedtime routine, go to sleep easily and sleep all night. They have no comfort objects and sleep just as well away from home. Some of the parents of natural sleepers are the first to object to co-sleeping and easily point fingers when it comes to a child that doesn’t sleep well. According to some, if a child has sleep problems, those problems must have been created by co-sleeping or some other action on the part of the parent. In other words, the parent did something wrong.

I have two children. My three-year-old is a natural sleeper. My five-year-old is not. I spent plenty of time when he was younger reading books about child sleep, trying various methods, and even more time pulling my hair out over why he didn’t sleep well. Several years and another child later, I can see that it’s simply the way he is wired. We’ve parented both kids in exactly the same way. Our daughter sleeps well and always has. Our son does not. It’s just the way it is. Continue reading “Yoga For Gentle Sleep”

Sleeping through the night

Back in November I had written about night-time parenting. I had asked how the situation is in other AP homes. Well, things have changed quite a lot since and I thought it would be nice to give feedback. Continue reading “Sleeping through the night”

Stepping outside of the box AKA Talking for a teddy bear


During the past four years of my attachment parenting journey, I sometimes find myself in situations, especially with regard to discipline, that require me to step outside the box and out of my comfort zone.

A few months ago I was trying to get Ava, almost 4 years old at the time, to sleep. She had had a long day and was simply exhausted, so much so that every little thing was setting her off into a puddle of tears. I was getting frustrated because it seemed nothing I could do was right (in her eyes). Logically, I knew that she was acting this way because she was so tired and had passed the point of no return, but still I felt my frustration growing inside me.

She sat on the bed, slumped over crying and complaining about anything and everything imaginable and I wondered how could I get her to give in to her exhaustion and just lay down. I realized that reasoning with her wouldn’t work at this point. She was too far gone for that. I felt like yelling because my frustration was getting worse and worse – after all, I had things to do too and I didn’t want to spend all of my night trying to get her to sleep – but I knew that wasn’t going to help matters either.

Finally I decided what I really needed to do was take a deep breath, step outside of my comfort zone, grab a stuffed animal and start talking to her as the animal. Talking to Ava via a stuffed animal is a parenting “tool” my husband and I had used with success in the past, though not lately and, given the circumstances, I wasn’t sure how it would fly.

She has a bear named Roger who I always imagine talks with a Southern drawl and is good at cheering her up when she’s down, so Roger was the bear for the job. After a few seconds of talking as Roger, Ava stopped crying and began responding back to him, telling him what was going on with her. Although she couldn’t have done that for me, her mommy, she could do it for an impartial furry third party. 😉

Roger’s silly antics soon had Ava giggling and then he was able to talk her into laying down on her bed, relaxing and getting ready to sleep. As the bear said his good nights to Ava and me, Ava said her good nights in return and was soon calm enough to drift off to sleep.

As I left her room I couldn’t help but feel very proud of myself. I can’t claim to always respond well or the “right” way to every situation, but that night I put my pride and frustration aside and did what Ava needed to help her relax and get to sleep. Had I let my frustration overcome me there’s a good chance it would’ve taken me at least another 30-45 minutes and many more tears (probably on both of our parts) before she was asleep. But by tuning into her needs, letting go of all that I “needed” to get done, stepping outside of my comfort zone, and throwing in a little goofiness, I was able to get her to sleep calmly in much less time. And let’s face it, isn’t goofiness a prerequisite for becoming a parent? No? Well, it should be. The world just might be a happier place.

Amy Gates blogs about green living, attachment parenting, activism and photography at Crunchy Domestic Goddess.