Sleep Training – How do you know if you are ready to start?
I understand that sleep training can be a difficult decision for some parents, and it’s not uncommon to feel guilty about it. You may worry that you’re abandoning your baby or causing them undue stress. But the truth is, teaching your baby to sleep independently is a gift you’re giving them that will last a lifetime.
And here at Live and Rest Pediatric Sleep Coaching we aren’t like others that may say tears are the only way. We don’t want you to leave your baby. We don’t want you to stop comforting them. We actually take a slow and progressive approach to making sleep easier for your little one.
In fact, Hanneke and Dana shared in a live video on our FB Group exactly what we think about sleep training. You can join us there for more support as well!
It’s important to remember that your baby needs sleep just as much as they need food and love. By helping them learn to sleep well, you’re not only improving their overall health and development, but you’re also improving your own quality of life and your relationship with your baby. A well-rested parent is a happier, more patient, and more present parent.
So if you’re feeling guilty about sleep training, try to reframe your thinking. Instead of thinking about it as something you’re doing to your baby, think about it as something you’re doing for them. You’re giving them the gift of healthy sleep habits that will serve them well throughout their life.
Here are some other things to consider when deciding if the timing is right for your family.
Are you going to be around?
We recommend that at least one parent is home for two weeks to a month while you’re sleep training. Traveling within two weeks of sleep training can be hard on a little one and you may end up having to start over.
Is the time right for your baby?
We typically consider the age and development of your baby when we put together a plan. But physiologically you can expect your baby to be ready to sleep through the night once they have hit at least 4 months old and doubled their birth weight. Prior to this, we would look at leaving in a night feed just until they are a little bit bigger.
The best way to quickly and effectively address your baby’s sleep issues is to implement changes when they are healthy and thriving. If your baby is dealing with reflux or colic, mitigate those issues before starting sleep training. There may be some fussing and protest in the first few nights, but we want to ensure it is only due to a change in routine, not actual discomfort. If your baby is healthy, it is much easier to pinpoint the reasons for their fussing.
Is your partner on board?
If you are raising your baby with a partner, it is important for both of you to be committed to the process. The first few nights can be a trying ordeal, and if your partner is not on board, they may convince you to resort to whatever “sleep prop” you typically use to get your baby to sleep. Before getting started, make sure you and your partner have both agreed to the plan and can rely on each other for support.
Are the symptoms of sleep deprivation starting to show?
Are you starting to feel depressed, moody, forgetful, unmotivated, clumsy, or unfocused? Is your sex drive starting to wane? Have you noticed an increased appetite and carbohydrate cravings?
These are all symptoms of sleep deprivation and they’re no laughing matter. Society tends to make light of the whole, “exhausted new parent” persona, but the more we learn about the health effects of sleep deprivation, the less of a joke it becomes. If you’re sleep-deprived or feel like you’re on the verge, now’s the time to take some action.
Does baby have a sleep space ready?
This could be in your room or their own, but it needs to be separate from your own. The room should also be as dark as you can possibly get it. Put up some blackout blinds or, barring that, tape up some garbage bags over the windows. It’s not pretty but 100% darkness will really help with daytime naps.
Remove any mobiles, crib aquariums, or light-emitting devices that claim to help the baby sleep. (I can assure you, they don’t.) An ideal nursery is flat-out boring. Baby should recognize it as a place to do nothing but sleep, so keep their toys put away or in another room.
It never feels like the perfect time.
There’s usually going to be something that isn’t exactly ideal. Teething, crawling, rolling over, and other developmental milestones. These shouldn’t impede your baby’s ability to sleep through the night, and they’re not going to stop popping up until your little one’s about ready to graduate from high school.
We have a great blog all about why those wakings happen in the middle of the night that might help too!
So now that you know all that, if you feel like the time is right and you’re ready to get started, let’s get going! Get in touch and we can start putting together a plan for your baby right away I know it’s a big decision, (It certainly was for me when I first made it with my little one) but the outcome is almost indescribably wonderful for the whole family. I’m ready when you are.
If you want to chat through your situation grab a time here – https://liveandrestteam.as.me/