Sleep Training FAQ
Got questions? Here are some answers!
What is sleep training?
The term “sleep training” is pretty loaded these days. From my point of view, it is about breaking old, negative sleep habits and forming new ones that are conducive to a good night's sleep. The combination of a developmentally appropriate sleep schedule, good sleep hygiene, love, intention, and introducing new routines goes a long way! It doesn't look the same for every family or every child, which is why ALL of my sleep plans are tailored to your family and your child.
Who can benefit from sleep training?
The whole family! When the little ones sleep, everyone does! Sleep deprivation can increase maternal depression, suppress the immune system, cause serious disruptions to your family life, and lead to behavioral problems down the road. Your evenings will be yours again - knock out chores, finish up work, or just Netflix and chill! It’s never too late to start! You can start as early as 4 months old (from baby’s due date, if they were early), and you can even start encouraging good sleep habits for babies as young as 8 weeks old.
What kinds of problems do you address?
I can help you with any combination of the following issues:
-Setting biologically appropriate sleep schedules
-Encouraging good sleep hygiene
-Eliminating night wakings (except for necessary feedings in young babies)
-Bedtime stalling and struggles
-Short or non-existent naps
-Major transitions such as dropping naps or moving from crib to bed
-Rebuilding structure after major life events
Don’t see your issue on this list? Call me anyway – we will figure it out together!
My friend/family member/nosy neighbor said they read that sleep training hurts babies and will ruin our relationship. Is this true?
No scientific study has proven that sleep training has any negative effects; in fact, the opposite has been shown. Many of the studies that attempt to prove that sleep training is dangerous use extremely flawed methods. Rats respond differently to stress hormones than people do; we can’t draw conclusions on human biology based on those studies. Studies about prolonged crying often refer to weeks of crying, the kind that results from neglect; the minutes of angry crying caused by sleep training are but a blip on the radar. Increased and improved sleep will only strengthen your family’s bonds. The AAP even says that small doses of stress are good for a child in an otherwise happy family - stressors are needed to form resiliency.
Doesn’t sleep training just mean hours of crying until baby gives up? That sounds terrible!
OK, first – changing a habit is never fun. I’m pretty sure adults would cry every time they went on a diet or quit smoking, if it were socially acceptable. You’re setting vitally important boundaries and limits, so of course they will be mad! Same as if you told them they can’t play with knives while running down the highway screaming profanities. There will always be angry tears coming from your child when you have to enforce the rules. but we know that they’re a necessary evil (the rules, not the kids).
So, as for the crying – there is NO sleep training method that does not involve some tears (see changing habits above). But some methods are slower and gentler than others, and many times I recommend we start with one of these. They take longer, and they are more intricate, but they are less abrupt and they work if applied consistently. For my “tried-everything-else” and my “OMG I am desperate for sleep NOW” peeps, we will go down the quicker path. It’s all about YOU and your family’s priorities and needs.
Why should I pay you for something I can do myself?
There are lots of books and websites that offer up sleep solutions. If you have the energy to find one that fits your parenting style, then read several hundred pages, then consistently apply the method, a big, admiring WOOHOO!!! gold star for you! But if you are a mess like I was, you might not have the wherewithal to do that. That’s where I come in! Daily support and encouragement were so helpful on my sleep training journey (BOTH times) - you don't have to do this alone.