Let’s be honest. What’s the first thing you think about when you hear the phrase “sleep training”? Everyone’s answer is going to be different, but I guarantee many of you would probably shout out; “crying”, “vomiting”, “nightmare”, “emotional”, “impossible” etc… These words may come up due to experiences you may have had while trying a sleep training method, or maybe your friends have told you horror stories of them trying to sleep train their children, or maybe even social media has shaped your viewpoint on what sleep training is.
Today I am here to shed some truth and light upon some common fears and misconceptions that come along with the words “sleep training”. It’s not to convince you to start any kind of plan with me, but rather to clear the air and give you a different perspective from someone behind the scenes.
Common Fears & Misconceptions
Change or any shift in how we do our normal routine can bring upon fear and anxiety. It’s natural, and I encourage you to not suppress that feeling. It’s okay to be nervous about making change. I believe this fear or anxiety comes from questions and doubts that we have in our mind about pursuing sleep training, such as; “How will she react to the change in routine?”, “What if she cries for hours and never goes to sleep?”, “How will I feel during the process?”, “If I sleep train does that mean I am a bad mom?”, “What if it doesn’t work and I pay this money and waste all this time for nothing?!”. A lot of these questions come from a place of “unknowns”, past experiences, or maybe even what you fear people will think of you for sleep training. My job as your pediatric sleep consultant is to help you answer these questions and shed some light on misconceptions, so you can make a decision that is best for your family. Let’s break down each of the questions, one by one.
“How will my baby/toddler react to the change in routine?” – There is a good chance your child will naturally resist the change. When I say resist I mean crying. Yes. There is a good chance your baby will cry in parts of the sleep training process because that’s their only form of communication right now. Some baby’s/toddler’s resist more and some don’t resist much at all. Regardless, there will be some kind of resistance. Another good point to make is that nobody, adults nor babies, enjoy a change in routine. It’s natural to resist something different. As your pediatric sleep consultant, I give you the plan and tools you need to help your baby/toddler through the sleep training process so that they feel loved the entirety of the time.
“What if my baby/toddler cries for hours and never goes to sleep?” – First of all, I have yet to have a client whose baby/toddler never went to sleep. I think this fear comes from either trying a sleep training method personally or one of your friends or family members tried a method and described to you the nightmare that it turned out to be. Both usually due to not really understanding how to approach sleep training and how so many things contribute to helping your baby/ toddler rest. There is SO much more to sleep training then just how you lay your baby down. That’s why hiring a sleep consultant can be so beneficial and can save you from the nightmare of trying to figure out sleep training on your own.
The more important question though is “Will they cry for hours?” I have to be honest and say that I’ve had some clients who have had to spend an hour using some of the methods that I use to get their child to go to sleep. There are some babies that take an hour and some that take 10 mins. The length of time that your baby may resist sleep is due to a lot of different variables, but none of my clients baby’s/toddlers are ever left behind a closed door, never comforted by their parents! My methods are gentle and I have my parents going in to give comfort to their sweet babes FREQUENTLY! Will there be resistance? Yes. I can never give my clients a promise of how long it will take for their child to initially fall asleep, but I can promise you that I will give you the encouragement, support, the plan to pursue sleep training and be able to comfort your child throughout the process.
“How will I feel during the process?” – Almost all of my clients naturally feel a combination of nervousness and excitement for sleep training to start. Nervous for the obvious reasons of making a change but excited to be getting their family closer to a full night’s rest. I promise to encourage and support you the whole way through. You will never be alone throughout the process. My text support clients even get me for extended hours, between 7-9 PM, on their first night of sleep training just in case they need that extra support and/or encouragement.
“Does sleep training make me a bad mom?” – Um. No. I feel like society puts so much pressure on mothers these days to measure up to the mythical “good mom” image that somebody, somewhere, created. I have so many thoughts on this question alone, but I will make it short and sweet. What you decide is best for your family is the right answer. Whether that is to sleep train or to co-sleep. Do what’s best for YOUR family! The mom that loves and cares for her baby is a good mom. That’s it!
“What if it doesn’t work?”– I have had some clients ask me if there is a guarantee that the sleep plan will work. My answer is simple- there is no guarantee. The reason for my answer is because whether or not the plan works is all based on the parents’ consistency in the plan. I can make you a custom sleep plan for your child and if you do all the steps it will work, but just because you buy a plan from me and I tell you all the steps to take, doesn’t change anything unless you put it into action! It will only work if you put in the work! My plans are easy to follow, step by step, and straight forward so that my clients have a clear understanding of what they need to do and when they need to do it to achieve the goal they’ve set out for.
“Is sleep training only “Cry it Out”?” – NO! This is the one that really gets me. There are so many methods besides CIO in sleep training and out of the 200 families that I have worked with so far, CIO has never been a method that I have put in anyones plan. Yep! You heard right! I have never told any of my clients to pursue CIO. Never. Not once. That’s because there are so many options besides CIO that I know work and allow the parents to be a part of the process. This means that with the methods that I use you are either right there with your child as they fall asleep or you are periodically checking in and offering comfort when needed. The method that I recommend to my clients are based on so many things such as: your child’s temperament, age, parent philosophy, etc. This is why I make CUSTOM sleep plans. Every child, family is different meaning that the sleep training method that you use should not be a one size fits all. I also tailor my methods to my client and their level of comfort. We pick a method that you are comfortable with and that will effectively help your child learn how to sleep independently.
These are just a handful of questions that parents have that lead to fears and misconceptions of sleep training. I was not able to answer them all, because we would both be here all day! But I do hope that this helped shed some light on fears or misunderstandings that you may have had regarding sleep training whether you decide to pursue sleep training or not.
Mama’s I know it’s a big leap, deciding to change the routine and sleep train your sweet child. It’s a decision that only you can make, and whatever you decide, will be the best thing for your family. Whether you sleep train or co-sleep remember that you are a good mom and I am never here to judge, but rather encourage you no matter what your circumstances are in sleep.
If you EVER have any other questions, fears, misconceptions, or concerns regarding whether or not you should sleep train your child, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. My passion and mission are to help every family find rest. I am here for you. Always.