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Baby sleep training

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Rabbi Ari Shvat

Shevat 3, 5779
Question
Shalom, As an exhausted Mom of many young children, I have been struggling with the issue of sleep training my babies/toddlers for years. I had very poor sleeper (like waking up to nurse 10 times a night every night). I tried to read all the information out there, opinions from psychologists, peditricians and sleep experts, but there is no consense at all. same for rabbis in my impression. same if you ask parents. only many opinions out there depending on personal experiences and beliefs. some say sleep is a learned skill and it is very important to get your child the sleep they need for their develepment. so it’s ok to guide your baby (within an age appropiate framework of course, not in the first months etc). other say it will damage the brain of your child forever. or they will end up needing a therapy. lots of emotional discussions. so this in my burning question: Is there any halacha that I need to know regarding teaching my baby to sleep? what do I need to know and to consider to make a good decision? (trying to limit the crying as much as possible of course, staying with them when lying them down, for example; but at the end of the day babies tend to cry or scream a lot if you refuse to nurse them to sleep, no matter if it is the first or 5th time a night; I hate crying babies, but I know so many mothers who are extremely exhausted and I can’t believe we just have to endure this!? with post partum depression rates from 10-20% - what are we expected to do...) I would really appreciate an answer. Thanks Sarah
Answer
No, it's very flexible and subjective for you to decide, and there are no limitations and halachot on the issue. The Living Torah and Hashem want exactly what you, the parents want, that the children should be loved, happy and normal, healthy and not too spoiled. This is true for mothers, as well, that they too should be happy, normal, healthy, loved, etc.!
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