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The other day I saw on instagram a friend’s story celebrating that his partner was now getting a good sleep as well as their baby, because of ‘sleep training’.

August 22, 2023

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For those unfamiliar with it, one of the biggest struggles for couples that just had a baby is getting decent sleep (sometimes they’ll barely manage a couple of hours per day, because the baby wakes up crying at random intervals through the night)

Sleep training was a method developed under the promise of improving sleep for the baby, the parent together with supporting the growth of a “strong, independent” baby that learns “self-soothing” early on.

In simple words, you let the baby cry without comforting them until they realize nobody is coming and have no choice but to calm down on their own and fall asleep again.

Do this for a few days and suddenly you’ll have a baby that sleeps through the night and doesn’t wake up..

On paper it looks like every parents’ dream:

Everyone sleeps better, becomes happier, stronger and less stressed…

The problem?

Attachment for babies is not only important, it is necessary to develop the part of their brains primed for bonding, connection and trust.

They outsource the regulation for their nervous system to the adult because they cannot and do not know how to do it on their own..

So when they cry and the parent doesn’t come, it’s not that they’re “self soothing, becoming independent and sleeping better”

They’re actually becoming fragmented, experiencing one of the first and worst of traumas:

The story of “I am alone”, “Nobody can help me..” “I can’t trust others to be there for me.”

The whole thing is quite heartbreaking for once they grown up, they become the child that remains quiet during abuse..

They have learned that their parents aren’t there for them, so why would they speak up and cry out?

They’re the perfect target for predators, and the seeds of social dysfunction are also planted deep in their psyche.

This is not a surface story that they carry, it is literally the neural pathways and brain development that is forever altered, making it harder for them to establish bonds, seek and receive help and feel safe and like they belong.

But sleep training is super popular and there are millions of people that swear by it..

Not knowing that the guy who founded all of it had a philosophy that encouraged never to kiss or hug your kids, never to tell them you love them, never to come when they cry..

So that they wouldn’t grow up seeking to receive love and validation from others, so that they would be more self-reliant and independent.

He filled workshops with thousands of people around the world and sold even more books…

(Yet everywhere they teach sleep training, they leave out the part where two of this “man’s” kids attempted suicide as adults, and struggled with mental illness.)

So when I saw my friend sharing that, it broke my heart because I’m witnessing the celebration of the induction of trauma on a baby..

It’s not ill intended, but it’s a poorly informed choice.

I wrestled with my “coaching etiquette” of never offering unsolicited advice, yet I gave in and send him a message with some of what I shared here – inviting a dialogue and the space to extend some detailed research by respected Doctors on the topic.

He replied in a firm way that he stood by his choices and that he was not open to dialogue.

I respected that and moved along..

But I was left with a pain that’s hard to describe.

Because I was the child left to cry out all alone.

Not always, but I clearly remember the couple of times when that happened and the heaviness I carried for years after.

I vomited all of that pain out during a few Ayahuasca ceremonies, realizing that a lot of my “hyper-independence” was far from virtuous. It was trauma coping, keeping me distant from a world I didn’t trust, with my walls always up.

I felt pain because of how easily people can be convinced that something detrimental is instead useful (and vice-versa)

I saw how someone who is good with words and leverages logic to prove a point has the power to impact millions of babies, even when his own life is full with contradicting results.

Nobody would buy a book on how to manage your wealth from someone who’s bankrupt, yet somehow most of the self-help industry is just that: the blind leading the blind.

And I was reminded that people would rather be right and suffer ugly consequences than to healthily question the beliefs they’ve invested themselves in, because to question means you might come up with a different answer, and even if the results would be in your favour – you would have to admit being wrong in your previous assumptions..

And people would rather suffer -being righteous- than thrive through a change of mind.

PS: I originally shared this post in my fb group The Circle

Please join if you’d like to be part of a deeper dialogue on conscious relationships and reclaiming the sacredness of family.