I am so happy to welcome Leslie Black (A Kiss Goodnight) back this week for our Expert Series. This post is a good one for anyone out there who is looking for some clarification when the topic of “Sleep Training” comes up. Just a few days ago, I was chatting with some fellow mamas and sleep training was the hot topic. There seemed to be some confusion in the group as to what sleep training really means. I am excited that an expert can weigh in on this on North Shore Mama!
What is Sleep Training?
This is a question I am asked quite frequently. It seems that there are a lot of misconceptions out there about what sleep training really involves. Does it involve “cry it out”? Do I have to stop nursing my baby? Will it mean I am trapped at home all the time while my baby sleeps? These are common questions that I am asked all the time and the answer is…“no”!
When it comes to “cry it out”, I’m not sure what the actual definition is. When I think of it, I imagine a baby or child left on their own to cry for as long as it takes with no intervention from mom or dad. That is certainly not something I would want to do with my children, so I would never ask a client to do it! In fact, in most cases, I would have you in the room with your baby helping them through the process. Now, this doesn’t mean your baby won’t cry at all. When asking a baby to make a change, they will likely protest and often the only means they have is crying. However, when I make a plan for a family, we want it to be as easy and gentle as possible on everyone and that means assessing everything from where your baby is currently sleeping, what “props” the baby uses, when and where you feed your baby, how you feed your baby and what your nap and bedtime schedule look like. So while there are some predictable principles of sleep training, there is actually a lot of specific detail that goes into making the process easiest on your family.
When it comes to nursing or bottle-feeding, there is a misconception that sleep training involves stopping all night feedings. This is not true. When it comes to weaning a baby from night feeds there is a lot that must be considered such as age, weight, health an even your readiness. When a baby is young and not ready to go through the night without a feed, the goal is to avoid using nursing or bottle-feeding as a tool to put your baby to sleep. Once a baby is at an age and weight where they can get through the night without a feed, it is still ultimately your decision to make.
Finally, people often feel that sleep training means they will be stuck at home all the time. During the training phase, you can be stuck at home quite a bit! But once that period is over, you have much more freedom. You will have your baby on a predictable schedule which means having more confidence that your baby won’t get fussy or meltdown in the middle of the grocery store or when you are trying to squeeze in a workout. You will have your evenings back! Once your baby goes down easily (and early), it’s easy to get a babysitter and get some time with your husband/partner, girlfriends or just some time to yourself to get things done. Best of all, you will have a baby that can go to bed without fighting or crying and who will wake up happy after a full night’s sleep.
I hope this information clears up some misconceptions about sleep training. While it is a process that can take a lot of work, once babies are well-rested, they are happy, curious and often more flexible. If you would like more information on how sleep training works and whether or not it’s right for you, please call me for your free 15-minute phone consultation at 604.984.0116.
**Here’s your chance to get some sleep!!!**
Leslie is offering a special discount to North Shore Mama fans of 20% off of a full consultation and 10% off of a newborn consultation. Let Leslie know that North Shore Mama (that’s me ) sent you and enjoy the gift of sleep!
To connect with Leslie, you can find her on Facebook and on Twitter. Make sure you also check out her website to sign up for your FREE “Five Steps To Getting Your Baby To Sleep Through The Night” report!