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I Regret NOT Sleep Training My Child…There I Said It

We’re parents and therefore not perfect. We have all learnt from our mistakes and this one is mom no exception. She regrets not sleep training her baby because her now 4-year-old is struggling with sleep. Parenting | sleep training | #sleepbabylove #sleeptips #sleeptraining #parenting

I regret NOT sleep training my baby…there I said it.

The quote above showed up in my Facebook feed from a mom’s parenting group.

I slowed my scroll…
It’s not something I typically see…

It’s nice to see the perspective of hindsight.  This mom has a 4-year-old and she’s still struggling.  Multiple wake-ups.  Feet in face and bed companion each night.

This mom is surviving just like the rest of us.  The difference is her 4-year-old, can’t sleep without her.  Doesn’t have the skills.

While I don’t know much more about this mom’s struggles, I do know many of my clients have been where she is.  They assume their problems will go away.  They figure that things will automatically get better.

The timing is never right.  There is always some teething or developmental milestone getting in the way.

You Can Only Start Sleep Training Once You are Ready

The interesting thing is that I spoke to this mom 4 years ago. She had a baby that was up every hour.  She was surviving and she was NOT open to letting her baby cry (at all).  She didn’t hire me to help and I didn’t push it since I truly believe you have to be ready when you teach your baby independent skillsShe wasn’t ready.

So here’s the thing…her baby isn’t a baby anymore.

Bad months turned into bad years and now she has a school age kid that’s not getting enough sleep!  And, that’s when the comment came out of her mouth.

Woulda, shoulda, coulda…

Sleep training saved us AND her. Once we fully committed, it was the best decision we ever made. I desperately wish we did it earlier.

I Know About The Sleep Struggle

I relate to this mom more than she’ll ever know.  I also have had the regrets of not sleep training my older daughter.

Isn’t it ironic???  A sleep consultant had a bad sleeper?  Yes, it’s true!

First time parenting kicked my butt and I was in survival mode for a long time. My justification is that I just didn’t know better. I was very naive. While although things were bad, my baby did sleep through the night.  But, she woke early, had a pacifier addiction and was short napper for toooooo long of a time.

It wasn’t until we dealt with the awful transition from the crib to toddler bed (the reason why I coined #cribtillcollege), that I finally had to put on my big-girl panties, come up with a plan, get consistent to stop her from jumping out of bed a million times.  Oh yeah, she was 4!

So, I relate.  I wonder what would have happened if I focused on independent skills (and ditching the pacifier) earlier?  Would my then 9 month old take longer than a 40 minute nap?   Would I have dealt with less 2-year-old tantrums in the middle of Target? What would have been our path?

We Are Definitely Not Alone!

I asked the awesome mamas that follow me on Facebook to see if anyone else had regrets about NOT sleep training.  Here are a few other perspectives:

I regret not putting it into effect so much earlier. Sleep training saved us AND her. Once we fully committed, it was the best decision we ever made. I desperately wish we did it earlier.

I thought things would get better.  Nope they didn’t!  I might still be sleeping with my son until college.  I should have done something about it earlier.

I was of the mindset that CIO was cruel. I didn’t sleep train my first until he was 2. He’d nurse to sleep. Once I noticed it was purely for comfort on for a minute or 2 I decided to stop. I gave cuddles and kisses kept the room dark and stayed until he fell asleep. I can’t do that with my second. I nurse but if he wakes up after a full feed when set down in crib I leave the room. So far it’s worked for his naps. Nighttime he nurses to sleep and he slept for about 6 hours straight last night. I know CIO won’t harm my child and I finally get a break at night. I was nursing him probably 7 times a night.


Regrets and self-doubt are always going to be part and parcel of being a parent!!!  While we can’t live with regret, we sure could wonder how things would have been different.  The regret of NOT sleep training is going to be real for some parents (including me)!  But, at least it made me do things differently the second time around!

I’m curious.  What’s your perspective?  Did you regret NOT sleep training?  I’d love to hear from you – comment below!

Susie Parker is founder of Sleep Baby Love and a Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant through the Family Sleep Institute. When Susie's not ridding the world of sleepless families, she loves spending time with her two girls that have given her a ton of real world sleep experience head on.

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