How's the sleep going in your house these days? So many parents I speak to tell me that they expect a little sleep deprivation when they're set to become parents. It's expected. We know babies wake up, and we're ready for it. But what nobody tells you is that some babies carry on waking up, long after they 'should' be sleeping through. Or, at least, long after the baby next door started sleeping all night. It's hard not to compare, and when all you want is a goodnight's sleep it's little wonder many of us consider sleep training. So, is sleep training for you?
YOU ARE SLEEP DEPRIVED. We all know what it's like to be tired, but sleep deprivation is something else altogether! Sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture and when you experience it, you know why! So if you're sleep deprived and seriously wanting to get some more sleep- maybe sleep training is for you.
YOU'RE RUNNING OUT OF IDEAS. You've seemingly tried everything. You've tried rocking, shushing, swaying, driving around at midnight, dummies, feeding to sleep, co-sleeping. You name it, you've tried it. And nothing has worked. Nothing!
YOU CAN'T CARRY ON AS YOU ARE. We all reach a point where we need to change things for the better. Some families exist really well on little sleep and prefer to co-sleep etc rather than turn to sleep training. And that is absolutely fine. But If you're reading this and thinking that actually you do want to make some changes to your baby's sleep, then sleep training just might be the answer.
What does sleep training mean?
Just as we all need to learn new skills in life such as how to ride a bicycle or drive a car, some babies need a little help in learning how to fall asleep independently- and how to settle back to sleep after waking in the night. This is what sleep training means. It's literally teaching your baby new skills to develop and use through life.
Types of sleep training
Not all sleep training programs are the same, and not all of them will be right for you. It's important to only go ahead with sleep training if it feels right with you and if you're happy to see it through to the end. Some programs require you to leave your baby crying for longer and longer periods, and that is something that not all parents are happy with at all. It's your decision. Don't let others persuade you one way or another. If you'd rather take a more gentle approach, then that's fine too.
Do your research
It really does help if you research as much as you can. Sleep coaches can be hired, but there are also plenty of books out there and online articles that will help you when you start sleep training. Read as much as you can before you start to make sure it's the right path for you.
If you do decide to sleep train, it's important that everyone in the family is onboard. Make sure your partner and other family members know what you're planning to do and are also happy with it. Sleep training requires patience, time and consistency so you will need help and support. Good luck!