What Sleep Training Is...And Isn't

It's 3 in the morning. Your 10 month old has just woken up for the 6th time crying. You cry along with him. You finally coax him back to sleep with a winning combination of lunges, shushes, and pats. You eventually wake up for the day after a combined 3 hours of sleep, and decide it's time to do something about this. You've heard about sleep training before, but you aren't sure of where to start. So, you browse your local mom Facebook group to get some ideas, only to find comments that look like this:

"Babies aren't meant to be sleep trained"

"Sleep training is a bs myth. It literally makes you neglect your kids"

"The research shows leaving babies to cry is bad for their brain development"

"I just don't understand the 'cry it out' method"

And those are some nice ones I found!

Let me preface this by saying, if you are happy with how your child sleeps and how you get them to sleep, you by no means have to sleep train! After all, a wise post I once saw said “100% of people stop nursing to sleep”!

So maybe you still don't know what sleep training is. Simply, sleep training uses a number of different methods to teach an infant or toddler to fall asleep independently. Yes, many methods do require some amount of crying. But I think the misconception comes from the perception of the parent's involvement in the sleep training process. Many people will try to tell you that sleep training is shutting the door and letting your child cry all night long until they pitifully cry themselves to sleep! But let me tell you, sleep training is NOT that.

In fact, most sleep training methods ENCOURAGE you to comfort your child throughout the night. Working with a sleep consultant means getting a sleep training method that is best suited for your parenting style, child's personality, and your tolerance of crying.

Think of it this way: You need to go to the grocery store, but your baby HATES being in their car seat. They scream their little head off! You know all of their needs have been met, so you tell them it's going to be okay, and you continue to drive until you get to your destination. When you arrive, everything is fine, and they are not emotionally traumatized by your failure to pull over to the side of the road and get them out. The same is true with sleep training. They still love you and are so happy to see you in the morning-even more so because they are well rested!

The research is on our side! Research does not indicate that sleep training is bad for brain development (and I'm not talking about Karen's blog). In many studies published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, sleep training techniques have been proven to be safe, causing no long term effects on the brain, positive or negative.

Check it out for yourself:

Lastly, sleep training is not for:

-Children younger than 4 months old

-Children weighing less than 12lbs

-Children who's pediatrician has advised against it

Always consult with your pediatrician to rule out any medical conditions prior to sleep training! Contact me today to set up your complementary consultation!

Sweet dreams!

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