What if I don’t want any tears?
Wanting to respond to your baby’s cries is natural and a biological maternal response. As a mom of 4 little ones, I completely understand this instinct. Where it gets tricky is when our instincts can sometimes interfere with our babes expressing themselves. I truly believe that “no-cry” approaches do not allow our babies the opportunity to express themselves while they learn something new. In addition, reacting to each cry can stimulate them, and make it even more difficult for them to fall asleep.
Think of other important skills you will teach your child as they grow: eating healthy food, walking, holding your hand in a busy parking lot, gentleness, manners, and using the potty. All of those things are important to your child’s health, safety, and physical/social/emotional development. You wouldn’t spare them learning those critical life skills just because some, or even a lot of tears may be involved while they are maturing. How much more should we expect that a skill that is introduced and taught to your little one when they are tired would involve some crying? Sometimes little ones, and even us “big ones” cry when we are struggling to learn a new skill, but often times there is growth to be had on the other side of struggle.
As a mom first, and an experienced sleep consultant second, I will take into account everything that I can to limit your baby’s crying, but I do not believe that all tears signal that something is wrong, and so I will encourage you to not react as such.
How long does sleep training usually take?
2 weeks is considered the critical window for teaching and “solidifying” independent sleep. However, in my experience, the skill of falling asleep independently is learned very quickly, even within the first night of sleep training. Getting your child’s naps to the length that they “should” be for their age is what can take a couple weeks, sometimes even longer.
Will my baby only be able to sleep with white noise and total darkness if we follow your recommendations for his nursery?
A baby who gets quality sleep the majority of the time is less likely to resist sleep in less than ideal conditions because they are not in the habit of fighting sleep.
Will my baby be able to take naps in the car, stroller, or carrier after they are sleep trained?
Yes! Naps on the go are reality, and it’s good for all parties involved for your baby to still have some flexibility in their sleep. However, naps on the go on the best quality sleep for your baby or toddler, so they shouldn’t happen too frequently.
My child still needs feeds in the night, can we still sleep train?
Before we work together I ask families to ask their child’s pediatrician for their advisement on how many feedings your child needs. We will pay attention to behavior around night feedings to know which ones are necessary, and which ones are functioning more like help back to sleep. If a baby needs their night feed(s), they can still be sleep trained!
Will my child outgrow his or her poor sleep habits?
Studies show that some sleep issues can take until after age 5 to resolve, and even then some issues do not resolve unless addressed. However, the most critical years for brain development are in the first 5 years of life, and consolidated sleep is a cornerstone of a little one’s physical, emotional, and neurological development. Studies show that sleep deprived little ones are 4 times more likely to develop mood disorders in adolescence, among other health complications.
How long do I have to be housebound during sleep training?
I like to suggest that little ones stay completely house bound for the first 3 days, that means postponing errands where they tag along, and even walks in the stroller. Why? To eliminate the possibility of them falling asleep anywhere but their crib in the most critical point of learning this new skill. You don’t want them to hold out for getting assisted to sleep. However, if you can swing an entire week of every nap and nighttime sleep happening only in their crib, they will be better for it!