New parents receive so much advice and information on what they should and shouldn’t do once their baby arrives. Well-meaning friends and family members pass along what worked for them, what didn’t, what you MUST do and what you should avoid. The tricky part about all this? Every baby and every family is unique and you really need to do what works best for YOU.
One of the most loaded topics for new parents happens to be our specialty. Baby sleep is often the cornerstone of most conversations involving new parents – are they getting any, does the baby nap? And of course, will they sleep train? Even after their own reading and research, many new parents still hold misconceptions about sleep training, like what it really is and how it can help both them and their baby.
With that being said, here is what Good Night Sleep Site thinks all new parents should know about sleep training.
Sleep Training – What You Really Need To Know
What ‘Sleeping Through The Night’ Really Means
“I wish my baby would sleep through the night”. ‘Sleeping through the night’ – is one of the most confusing terms in the entire sleep training world. We all wake throughout the night, sometimes partially and sometimes fully. You don’t sleep straight through the night and neither does your baby.
Instead of believing that the term ‘sleeping through the night’ means your baby sleeps a full 10-12 straight hours without waking, let’s redefine it to be that your baby can sleep UNASSISTED throughout the night at around six months of age. This means that your baby is able to transition between sleep cycles without crying and without needing you to help them fall back asleep. Rethinking this terminology may help to take some of the pressure off when your baby does wake throughout the night. If they can fall back to sleep on their own, that is sleeping through the night.
Sleep Training Is Not A Set Method Or Specific Plan
Sleep training is not just about choosing the method. Often people automatically think sleep training means cry it out (CIO) or no cry methods, when in fact there is so much more to the entire sleep training plan than just the method. We factor in the baby’s age and readiness, baby’s sleep environment, how baby’s sleeping throughout the day, is baby following an age appropriate bedtime and bedtime routine. Once all those tools are in place, we can then choose the best method for both baby and parents.
Are There Negative Effects To Sleep Training?
The biggest misconception about sleep training is that people assume parents are ignoring the child, or not responding to their needs. What is often not considered is that ignoring your child’s sleep requirements is, in fact, overlooking a very important need that supports both mental and physical development. A baby who is raised in a loving and attachment filled home, who is also being taught how to sleep, will thrive. Proper restorative sleep for your baby and well-rested parents will only add to the overall health and wellness of the entire family unit.
So, Are You Ready For Sleep Training?
Sleep training is a choice and it’s not the right choice for all families, and that’s okay. If what you are doing works for your family and you are able to remain a well-rested family unit, than no one should be convincing you to change.
However, when you and your baby are overtired and you’re not able to function as a healthy family unit, then perhaps you’ve reached your tipping point and it is time to make some changes. If you are ready to build more positive sleep habits, be sure to check out our FREE sleep resources or schedule a complimentary sleep consultation with one of our sleep consultants.
Alanna McGinn is a Certified Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site – a Global Pediatric and Family Sleep Team. She provides free child and family sleep support through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She invites you to join her sleep community as she works towards Good Night Sleep Site’s mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips, subscribe to our newsletter and visit Good Night Sleep Site.