Keeping Your Words Meaningful (WIO)

Dear Four and a Half Month Old Wee Babygirl,

You sleep like a baby. Which involves a lot of sleep for you and not much for anyone else around you, particularly for me.

So very sleepy, I am.

At night you do not scream, seldom cry, but you raise the alert that you need to be held near. You toss from side to side and your little mouth seeks. Slowly you escalate from tsking to cawing like a little crow. I marvel at how you ask, ask, ask. Patiently. You so clearly understand that your asking will be answered. I can’t help but smile as I pick you up or snuggle down to nurse you.

Baby trainers say that I’m training you to manipulate me into picking you up, and would probably be aghast at the idea that I don’t even wait for you to escalate to crying before I do so.

I’m not a baby trainer.

I firmly believe that crying has a specific meaning. It is a raising of alarm that there is something wrong. I do not want to change that into something that you simply do and that I simply ignore. I do not want to break your communication now and fix it later. I want to listen and to keep your words meaningful.

I do not see it as “teaching you to cry”. Rather, I’m teaching you the meaning of crying. Crying is a raising of alarm. Crying is something that you do when you are upset or hurting.  Crying is not something that you do when you ask for something the first time. Asking is something that you do without tears.

Right now I would rather teach you the meaning of trust than teach you to sleep. Sleep comes on its own as your body grows and all those baby reflexes fade into the past and your sleep becomes less shallow as your body learns to regulate itself without needing to be so near.

Trust, however, is a harder thing to learn.

So no, we’re not “sleep training”. We’re trust training. We’re training on the meaning of communication. We’re training on the meaning of met needs so that when those tempestuous toddler years roll around you’ll understand deep down that your needs are always met and we can learn together about wants and how they are different from needs and how it’s okay to cry and I will be there to offer you comfort the way I have every day since you were born.

I will not seek to build a house on sand with no foundation. Instead we will build the foundation strong.

Sleep will come later. It has for your brothers and it will for you.

I can wait it out so that you can trust me.

<3 Mama

  12 comments for “Keeping Your Words Meaningful (WIO)

  1. Simone
    September 6, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Wow! You are AWESOME! It’s amazing to me how most people I know, most of whom I agree with on most baby stuff, still did some amount of sleep training. I agree that trust is so important and that being sleepy or not going out much without my baby or the house being dirty are acceptable side effects to maintaining that trust. Thanks for showing me I’m not alone! (ok, I wasn’t alone… There’s always been my sister and thankfully my mom “on my side” too!)

  2. Rachel
    September 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Thank you for this! Your posts always strengthen me and help validate my beliefs. I am struggling as a first time mom with trusting my instincts and not letting others opinions or advice bother me. I was just trying to explain my theories on not sleep training and building trust with my husband last night. I forwarded him this post. Thanks again! I love reading all of your posts, but this one really hit home!

  3. Rachel Shuck
    September 6, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I want to say something profound and heartfelt (like this post) but it basically boils down to “I have SUCH a blog crush on you”! Another great post that spoke to me. :-)

    • sarah
      September 6, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      Sometimes the simple says it best. :) Glad that my posts speak to you, it makes me happy that I am not alone in feeling this way.

  4. Brittany
    September 7, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    We are raising our second child this way from birth and starting to treat my toddler’s need for connection at night this way. It is scary to me in some ways because I know no one else who does it really. But it just feels right for our kids and the parenting style we have developed over the last 22 months. So far though my son is a better sleeper because we aren’t trying to force him to do it our way! NEVER would have expected that!

    • Majka
      September 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      Dear Sarah,
      I absolutely adore your blog since I’ve discovered it 😉 I totally agree with your opinions and my believes meet fully with yours. I am a first time mum living abroad far from my family. At the moment I’m really struggling with a nursery stuff telling me how my 6 months old baby girl is spoiled, doesn’t want to sleep alone in the cot, how I have to “sleep train” her because it’s “not normal” that a baby throws fits like my little one does.. Trust me, if I had a choice, I wouldn’t ever consider putting her in a nursery at such small age… So far it’s only 3hours a day, but I’m already freaked out by a day when she’ll have to stay all day.. Wish I could facilitate her sleeping there.. I wish I could stay with her, cuddle her all day, put her on breast whenever she wants or needs it…let her fall asleep in the safety of my arms… It’s all filling my eyes with tears…
      Your blog is more than just a blog..it’s food for my soul, like a jug of fresh cold water in the middle of a desert.
      Thank you for doing this
      Love, M.

  5. Jen
    September 9, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Thank you for these posts. I too have a 4.5 month old daughter who likes company during the night. I am not yet at the place you are with her yet,but I’d like to be. Her older brother still isn’t a sleeper and I always thought we’d sleep train her ASAP so we would make the same “mistakes” we made with our first. However, now I can’t do it, much to my husband’s dismay (and his lack of sleep as well). It breaks my hear to hear that cry. So as I feed her, I read your posts and they definitely help me feel better about where we are on this journey.

  6. Sarah
    September 11, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Trust training. That is a perfect term. Your words are so healing to me, another tired mom. It has always felt right to me to keep my children close in the night (and during the day, too), but sometimes I get caught up in my own weariness and begin to resent the frequent wakings. Still, I wouldn’t change anything because we, too, are trust training.

    • sarah
      September 11, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      They are healing for me, too. Parenting my first was rough because of all the things that I was told that went against every fiber of my being. With my second my partner trusted me and I was able to parent freely alongside him without having to fight over my desire to respond or shoulder 100% of parenting because of a non responsive partner. Now with my third it is simply relaxing into what I already know is coming and finding it joyful.

  7. Jen
    April 11, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Phrased so perfectly. Your words are healing – that is such a beautiful phrase. I don’t know now how I found your blog yesterday, but I’ve been reading it as much as I can in the last 24 hours and feeling healed. Finding grace. My 2nd is 4.5 months old and I’ve felt so alone (despite his ever presence on my body) until reading your blog. Thank you. Truly.

    • sarah
      April 11, 2013 at 11:39 pm

      *hug* You’re not alone. That much I can promise you. Have you found the Wait it Out group on Facebook? It’s got over 1400 members.

      • Jen
        April 14, 2013 at 10:04 pm

        Would you believe, in this day and age, I don’t have a Facebook account? I deleted it to be more present with my children, husband, and friends (not making a judgment on anybody else’s choices)…..but, I will reconsider if for nothing else, but to join your group. Sarah, thank you, as well, for the hug. I needed that!

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