These days, any parenting decision you make can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion. But at some point, you need to stop living your life based on what others will say and start making choices you think are best for your child. That's one of the reasons why I can't get mad at Katy Landrum, a mom who hired someone to sleep train her 3-month-old baby while she went on vacation. As crazy and controversial as that sounds, at the end of the day, this mother has a right to hire help.
Before you sharpen your pitchfork and light a torch ... as Katy tells Redbook magazine, the person she hired was a sleep trainer -- whom Katy's night nurse recommended -- with close to 10 years in the game.
Having two tots myself (they're now 3 and 1½), I remember those sleepless nights and trying to get my babies to sleep on their own.
... And honey, it wasn't pretty.
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If I'm being honest, if I had the money to hire extra hands -- or fly out my mom or mother-in-law to help me (actually, I don't know how long we would last before arguing ... HA) -- I wouldn't exactly turn my nose up at the idea. Mommies sometimes need a lifeline, and shouldn't feel ashamed to reach out if and when we do out of fear of backlash and scrutiny.
I have to commend Katy for sharing her experience, including her initial reservations about hiring someone to help her 3-month-old baby Bo sleep through the night. As she shares, her decision to eventually do so was influenced by her past sleep struggles with her first baby, a daughter who is now 2½ years old. (Katy says a friend helped sleep train her little girl, and recommended she consider a sleep training expert.)
"... I kept trying to come up with reasons he [Bo] wasn't ready to be sleep trained," Katy admits to the mag. "'He's only 12 weeks old! He'll be hungry without his nightly feeding,' I thought frantically."
But then I reminded myself he's 15 pounds, so he's gotten plenty of breast milk and I knew he was ready to sleep through the night without a feeding. Plus, my pediatrician had given me the green light.
....At $30 an hour, bringing a professional in to manage the process seemed like a no-brainer. It's so painful for me to listen to my babies cry, and I knew I didn't have the strength to do it again.
As far as I'm concerned, you've really got to trust someone (a lot) to put your baby's well-being in his or her hands while you're away -- which makes me believe Katy didn't haphazardly say, "I'm just going to go off on vacation and not give a damn about my child."
There had to be more thought put into this decision. There just had to be.
No matter Katy's thought process or the measures she might've taken to ensure her 3-month-old and 2½-year-old would be safe during her trip, critics online didn't want to hear any excuses ... at all. Here's just a sample of what some readers had to say when Redbook's sister publication Good Housekeeping ran Katy's story:
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Others, however, had no problem coming to Katy's defense.
I'll be the first to admit that I was taken aback when I read that Katy and her husband traveled two hours away to Ojai, California, while a sleep trainer stayed with 3-month-old baby Bo. Even with the texts and updates, there's something about not being close to my baby that would make me feel helpless and not enjoy my trip.
But as a mother who does what I think is best for my family, I feel it's important to remember that other moms are making those same decisions, too.
Sometimes they'll mirror what I think is "right," and other times, they won't.
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I didn't sleep train either of my kids at 3 months, but won't knock another parent who decides it's time -- especially when said parent got the thumbs-up from her pediatrician.
At the end of the day, Katy is going to do what Katy thinks is the right decision for her family. As she says, "... I'm a [self-employed] working mom and I couldn't continue to go on being awake during the night. My days would be so much harder and my business would suffer if I weren't able to get a full night sleep."
I likely would've done things a little differently, but I get it.