The Canadian Bar Insurance Association
Personal Injury

Legal skills useful for sleep training your baby

The sleeping habits of a newborn baby can be challenging, even for those who are expert at pulling “all nighters” — but fear not — it is possible to use your legal skills to sleep train your infant, Toronto plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyer Sharon Bauer writes in her recent Precedent magazine column.

In ‘Life Without Parole,’ Bauer, a partner with Wolfe Lawyers, takes an entertaining look at how lawyers can use their professional skill sets to raise their children. 

In her latest column, Bauer explains how, before her son was born, she wasn’t worried about being kept up by the baby.

“I know a thing or two about pulling all-nighters. After all, as a lawyer, I have to bill 2,000 hours a year. Having a newborn couldn’t be that bad, could it?” writes Bauer.

Except, basically, she explains, it was.

"My colicky son pretty much never slept, especially at night. During my six-month working mat leave, I had to train him to do what I thought was a natural act. And there wasn’t time for anything else. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize myself. The puffy, dark circles under my eyes. The knotted hair. The spit-up-stained pajamas I’d worn for a week,” she says.

However, Bauer writes, her ‘type A personality,’ led her to persevere — and around his one-month birthday, she says she realized something. “All the lawyer skills I started to develop back when I was a junior associate could also help me sleep-train my little one,” Bauer writes.

“To a feisty associate, the billable-hour target matters more than anything. One way to keep yourself motivated is to track your hours. That means docketing, on time and all the time. So I brought that logic into the nursery and downloaded a sleep-tracking app to monitor my baby’s sleep patterns (and my awake hours),” says Bauer.

After two months, says Bauer, the app says she’d spent 372 hours awake with him in the middle of the night.

“If he were my client, I’d be rich. But of course, I’m doing this pro bono. Unlike my billable hours, I wanted this number to go down.”

Bauer explains that she did what any good young lawyer does when faced with a seemingly unsolvable problem: read.

“If memorizing the Rules of Civil Procedure put me to sleep — I mean taught me how to survive in court — then surely there’s something I can read that will teach me how to survive this dilemma. I took a pamphlet from my ob-gyn’s office, which recommended letting him “cry it out” and not to enter the room and console the baby. Well, this approach worked with some opposing counsel. I thought it was worth a try.”

The strategy, says Bauer, was a success — the day her son turned six months old, Bauer slept for more than four consecutive hours.

But while most lawyers’ reward for doing their readings and meet their billable hour target is a bonus, as a parent, says Bauer, achieving her goal meant she actually had time to brush her teeth that morning.

To Read More Sharon Bauer Posts Click Here
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