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Is sleep training ok from trauma & attachment perspective?
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, Oct 13 2021, 8:04 pm
I'd like to sleep train my babies but I'm worried if there's psychological harm that this does.
Does anyone know what the research says on this?
I know all about a rested mother is better for baby... but is there actually some damage done?
I'm talking about when it's done in gentle way - the 12 hours by 12 weeks method for example. (I don't know it exactly but I heard it's gentle)
eta: they are twins
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momlife




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Oct 13 2021, 8:12 pm
How old are the babies? I would tell you to google “taking cara babies” there are different classes and methods for different age babies.
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WhatFor




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Oct 13 2021, 8:42 pm
I don't know anything about the 12 hour method but not all sleep training involves crying so sleep training doesn't mean trauma and not all babies are "trainable" by 12 weeks.
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amother




OP
 

Post Wed, Oct 13 2021, 10:23 pm
WhatFor wrote:
I don't know anything about the 12 hour method but not all sleep training involves crying so sleep training doesn't mean trauma and not all babies are "trainable" by 12 weeks.


Right I don't think it involves actual trauma but maybe it's not good for them since then they're more separated for more amount of time (although right now it's not like I'm feeding them a baby nurse feeds them) it's more the long term psychology of it that I'm not sure about. I'd never do the cry it out etc. and of course if they aren't ready it's a no go... but when they are.
What can people that are knowledgeable in the mental healthy space specifically in the trauma and attachment theory tell me?
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jd1212




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Oct 13 2021, 10:36 pm
There is highly conclusive data from longitudinal studies consistently showing no difference in levels of attachment, bad behavior, or trauma at multiple age points down the line. This has been a highly studied area (you can imagine people are dying to mom blame) and it has repeatedly been shown that it is effective and doesn’t hurt the baby.

Everything else is anecdotal and conjecture, which really doesn’t matter. Data doesn’t lie.
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amother




Seashell
 

Post Wed, Oct 13 2021, 10:39 pm
People knowledgeable about trauma and attachment will tell you it’s harmful (Dr Gabor Mate, Dr Vanessa Lapointe, many psychologists and gentle parenting coach types).
People who are into evidence based medicine and research will tell you the research does not back that up (Professor Emily Oster, more old-school doctors).
It’s a difficult topic. To me, intuitively it feels wrong to let my baby cry, it also feels wrong for the baby and I to be deeply sleep-deprived. I do not have the lifestyle or personality to work around the baby’s schedule and preferences the way some parenting experts encourage. I’ve sleep trained both my children with mixed feelings but ultimately knew I could not manage otherwise.
You have to do what feels right for you.

ETA: you’re going to get a lot of vehement opinions from both sides of the argument. I find that people tend to vilify the other side and really dig in their heels about whatever choice they made because it was so difficult to do, whether that was sleep-training or enduring endless fatigue. Do your research, make your decision, and feel confident that only you can make the right choice for you and your family. Shut the rest out.
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amother




Eggshell
 

Post Wed, Oct 13 2021, 10:39 pm
It’s very problematic from a trauma and attachment perspective. Specifically the book “ 12 hours by 12 weeks” you mentioned isn’t gentle at all. It’s very old school and it’s really harsh and unnatural on the babies so definitely don’t use that method. Babies thrive the most when they are near their mother or an attachment figure. The whole concept of a baby must spend 12 hours lying in a crib by 12 weeks is really the opposite of the attachment theory. There are gentle ways to sleep train that don’t break attachment and cause trauma though. It’s always good to start good habits when babies are young ( like an early bedtime in a dark room- but always go in to feed when they are crying if hungry) but a 12 week old baby is an infant and not ready for intense training at that point.
Good luck!
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amother




Pistachio
 

Post Wed, Oct 13 2021, 10:42 pm
jd1212 wrote:
There is highly conclusive data from longitudinal studies consistently showing no difference in levels of attachment, bad behavior, or trauma at multiple age points down the line. This has been a highly studied area (you can imagine people are dying to mom blame) and it has repeatedly been shown that it is effective and doesn’t hurt the baby.

Everything else is anecdotal and conjecture, which really doesn’t matter. Data doesn’t lie.


Dr gabor mate disagrees with you.
https://podcasts.google.com/fe.....ep=14

Another podcast (I didn't listen to this one)
https://podcasts.google.com/fe.....ep=14
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amother




Orange
 

Post Wed, Oct 13 2021, 10:44 pm
Also keep in mind that not all sleep training is full extinction (letting them cry till they stop). We did a more gentle method at between 5-6 months, with check-ins and intervals. BH it worked rather quickly and there wasn't a lot of crying. I read the 12 hours book and was kind of put off by that method. 12 hours without eating isn't really realistic at that age and it involves overfeeding in the daytime. I recommend Precious Little Sleep.
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amother




Cornsilk
 

Post Wed, Oct 13 2021, 11:36 pm
Look, to be honest, you won't get a conclusive answer from anyone. You have to do your research and listen to what your gut is telling you and what's right for your family. There is evidence for both sides; I can tell you what I see as more compelling but ultimately it can be argued either way and you will need to decide for yourself.

Having said that, some methods are simply inappropriate no matter what you agree with, so if you do decide to sleep train make sure it's developmentally appropriate for the age & stage.
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smss




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Oct 14 2021, 1:31 am
Healthy attachment is not something you make or break in a couple of nights. The overall relationship is much more important. And if lack of sleep is affecting your ability to enjoy your babies, it might be better overall to gently teach them to sleep independently.

You don't HAVE to sleep train and don't let anyone tell you that you do. But also, it's ok if you decide to.
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amother




Pistachio
 

Post Thu, Oct 14 2021, 1:36 am
smss wrote:
Healthy attachment is not something you make or break in a couple of nights. The overall relationship is much more important. And if lack of sleep is affecting your ability to enjoy your babies, it might be better overall to gently teach them to sleep independently.

You don't HAVE to sleep train and don't let anyone tell you that you do. But also, it's ok if you decide to.


This is just not true. The literal definition of attachment is being responsive to their needs and at the earliest ages more than ever.
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amother




Hunter
 

Post Thu, Oct 14 2021, 8:10 am
Sleep training is problematic from a trauma and attachment perspective. Babies don't need to be trained to sleep- they know how to sleep in the manner that is biologically normal for them. Teaching them that you won't respond when they need you will mess them up.
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amother




Denim
 

Post Thu, Oct 14 2021, 8:20 am
I did the “cry it out” sleep training and it was heartbreaking to go through but after 5 days with 10-15 minutes of crying each night, he got into a routine. I started a little after 1 because I couldn’t take the lack of sleep anymore and no “gentler” methods were working. He’s slept through the night every night since and is the happiest, easiest baby

Overall I decided that short term crying is way better than long term sleep deprivation (for both of us)
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imasinger




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Oct 14 2021, 8:27 am
This is one of those areas where a lot depends on definitions, and people on both sides occasionally set up straw men.

I'd advise you to talk to mothers of twins, and get some real time, IRL perspective.

I personally agree with jd1212; if you're talking about a loving, functional home, the science indicates that reasonable sleep training is not harmful.

The questions become, what is reasonable, and how much cuddling, feeding, attention are the babies getting?

I'm a grandmother, but attachment parenting has been around a while. IMO, you can begin sleep training at an early age by not letting them stretch during the day -- if it's light out, wake them after 3 hours. You can also work on creating sleep cues with routines -- lowered lights, certain actions, spaces, etc. Try your best to catch them to put down just before they fall asleep drinking, that way, if they wake, they eventually don't come to need something in their mouth to fall back asleep.

Any rigid program that promises a certain number of hours by a certain age is probably too drastic.
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amother




OP
 

Post Thu, Oct 14 2021, 9:44 am
amother [ Eggshell ] wrote:
It’s very problematic from a trauma and attachment perspective. Specifically the book “ 12 hours by 12 weeks” you mentioned isn’t gentle at all. It’s very old school and it’s really harsh and unnatural on the babies so definitely don’t use that method. Babies thrive the most when they are near their mother or an attachment figure. The whole concept of a baby must spend 12 hours lying in a crib by 12 weeks is really the opposite of the attachment theory. There are gentle ways to sleep train that don’t break attachment and cause trauma though. It’s always good to start good habits when babies are young ( like an early bedtime in a dark room- but always go in to feed when they are crying if hungry) but a 12 week old baby is an infant and not ready for intense training at that point.
Good luck!


thank you, what are those specific gentler methods? Is there a name for that? Book?
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amother




OP
 

Post Thu, Oct 14 2021, 9:46 am
amother [ Seashell ] wrote:
People knowledgeable about trauma and attachment will tell you it’s harmful (Dr Gabor Mate, Dr Vanessa Lapointe, many psychologists and gentle parenting coach types).
People who are into evidence based medicine and research will tell you the research does not back that up (Professor Emily Oster, more old-school doctors).
It’s a difficult topic. To me, intuitively it feels wrong to let my baby cry, it also feels wrong for the baby and I to be deeply sleep-deprived. I do not have the lifestyle or personality to work around the baby’s schedule and preferences the way some parenting experts encourage. I’ve sleep trained both my children with mixed feelings but ultimately knew I could not manage otherwise.
You have to do what feels right for you.

ETA: you’re going to get a lot of vehement opinions from both sides of the argument. I find that people tend to vilify the other side and really dig in their heels about whatever choice they made because it was so difficult to do, whether that was sleep-training or enduring endless fatigue. Do your research, make your decision, and feel confident that only you can make the right choice for you and your family. Shut the rest out.


thank you, I appreciate this a lot.
I definitely don't judge those who do it. It's hard either way. Just trying to figure out what's right for me and my babies.
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amother




Eggshell
 

Post Thu, Oct 14 2021, 12:38 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
thank you, what are those specific gentler methods? Is there a name for that? Book?

Sure, you can read “ The No Cry To Sleep Solution ” by Elizabeth Pantley
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HappyMom321




 
 
 
 

Post Thu, Oct 14 2021, 1:04 pm
amother [ Hunter ] wrote:
Sleep training is problematic from a trauma and attachment perspective. Babies don't need to be trained to sleep- they know how to sleep in the manner that is biologically normal for them. Teaching them that you won't respond when they need you will mess them up.


Exactly the opposite of this. Babies do NOT know how to sleep - it's a skill you need to help them learn, just like eating solids or walking. They can learn it, but they need you to guide them. When I hear of 1 or 2 year olds who still sleep in Mommy's bed or wake up at night, I feel bad for the child. I'm not judging if you feel that it's right and that's how you want the attachment to form, but if you're exhausted and at the end of your rope, just know that training your child to sleep is healthy for both you and the child! There is NO reason for a child to be waking up at night when they're already toddlers (obviously if they are healthy).
It doesn't teach them that you aren't responding - they are crying because they are uncomfortable (tired) and literally don't know how to put themselves to sleep. Once they learn, you can put them down in the crib and they just go to sleep. Your brain plays all sorts of tricks on you, telling you they will feel abandoned, but the research does not support that. I spoke to both pediatricians and pediatric psychologists about this before I started. They all said it doesn't cause any damage and good sleep is the best thing for your child (and for you!). There are methods without any crying, but they don't work as quickly or as well.

Listen - there is so much out there about sleep training. I personally dislike 12 hours by 12 weeks- it is very harsh, and schedules feedings as well as sleeping, the whole day. I like feeding on demand, plus I would never start training as early as 12 weeks.
THAT BEING SAID - I learned the hard way with my first child. I trained starting at 4 months, and it took until 6 months. With my next baby I started forming good habits from a month old, and it's incredible - now that she's old enough for an actual method, I barely have any training to do. As someone mentioned, Taking Cara Babies is an amazing program.
And you don't have to do the full extinction method (although it works quickest, and when I did my research I saw that there is no data to say it causes any issues. Actually, children who are sleep trained sleep better later on in life). The main goal is to teach a child to put him/herself to sleep without needing to be rocked, etc.

I let my baby cry for 3-5 minutes before going in to give her her paci and calm her down (NOT picking her up), and then do it all again. If you are consistent, it will work rather quickly. If not, you will just confuse the baby!!

Also, don't confuse sleep training with sleeping through the night. FIRST you teach the baby to be able to be put into his/her bed and fall asleep without help. Eventually, you can deal with night feeds.

A life changing thing I learned about is wake hours. Basically, at every age there is a certain amount of time baby can be awake and stimulated. After that, he/she needs a nap. Google it - it's shorter than you think!! And if you put your baby to bed at the right time, it will be much easier. AN OVERTIRED BABY CAN'T SLEEP!! So don't think keeping him/her up will be better. With my second I started pushing her bedtime earlier much sooner, and it was amazing. By 3 months she was going to bed at 8pm, and soon after that by 7pm. Then you get your evenings (and your sanity) back.

In the end of the day, you are going to hear both sides, and people feel very strongly either way. But just know that if you do choose to train there are a ton of different options out there, and I personally feel like sleep training was NOT too harsh on my children (especially if you start establishing good habits early on) and helped make my life normal again.
Also, I saw with both kids: once they started sleeping better, their personalities literally got happier! It was incredible to see such evidence. Kids need proper sleep, and it is a gift for you to teach them how to do it. It isn't something that is just selfish for the parents.

But for sure do your own research and make your decisions. It depends how desperate you are too Wink And be confident with whatever you choose to do! Also, different babies respond better to different things. If you do go with sleep training, my opinion is that it is really hard to do, but sooo worth it. Know that either way you aren't going to severely mess up your child... If either option was that bad, no one would be doing it.
Good luck!!
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amother




Slateblue
 

Post Thu, Oct 14 2021, 1:17 pm
I'm a social worker with twins.
Maybe I messed them up for good, but I did sleep train them using a combination of whatever method my baby nurse used before she left and a modified version of 12 weeks 12 hours.
I can't say that I did what was perfectly right according to all the trauma and attachment experts as I did let my babies cry for up to 5 minutes at a time. Some will say only 5 minutes is not long enough to cause lasting trauma, others will disagree.
I was very uncomfortable doing this and I felt like a traitor to my profession. But at some point the part of me that was an exhausted mother of twins who is recovering from a C-section to boot won and I did what I felt I had to do.
The twins are not even two yet, so I guess we'll see how they turn out:)
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