Sleep Training Sucks. Here's How I Got Myself Through It.
How to soothe yourself while your baby cries like a banshee, from audio erotica to books about bad parents.
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My son’s middle name is Morpheus, after the god of sleep and dreams. (Full disclosure, we chose it because of a chance run-in with a poster for The Matrix while walking to the hospital. Laurence Fishburne, you are a national treasure.) Of course, our Morpheus didn’t sleep through the night until he was 14 months old.
We lived in a one-bedroom NYC apartment for the first year, so sleep training attempts mainly included dousing my body with an industrial-sized bottle of perfume to mask my natural scent as the baby howled from five feet away and a device called the “Slumber Pod” that tents over a crib, which I’d hoped would trick my boy into thinking he was alone on a peaceful backpacking excursion through Yellowstone.
Alas, with baby number two, sleep training remained top of mind. At around 6 months, we chose a version of the Ferber method — letting our baby girl cry for increasing intervals of time before going in to briefly remind her that she still had parents.
So, for those moms who, like me, aren’t one of those enviable fuckers who can say, “Oh, I didn’t really do anything — at two months, she just started sleeping!” here are ten tips for when you find yourself white-knuckling it through this phase.
Ultimately, unless your child has a medical condition that interferes with sleep, if you wait long enough, they will stop crying. Then, you can sink back into your pillow for a few moments of blissful silence before turning your attention to that other child you forgot you had — the toddler at your bedside kindly informing you, “Mama, I did a poo.”
Julie Kling lives in the suburbs of New York, where she fantasizes about all of the free time she had before becoming a mother of two. She has written for Salon, the Upright Citizens Brigade, and formerly worked as an Admission Officer for NYU. In addition to writing, Julie runs Global Girls Prep, an organization helping women-identified international students attend college in the U.S.