There is a lot of literature out there on how to get your babies sleeping (and you sleeping too!) It can be confusing, contradicting and sometimes scary what you read. One thing that I tell all my families is that there is A LOT of amazing literature out there but one thing you always need to keep in mind is that its not written specifically for you! These books are written for the general population. Idea’s, methods etc are things that generally work but if they aren’t working for you, don’t get discouraged, its perfectly normal! The hard part is knowing what to tweak and what not to tweak.
As we have all said before and I will say again, consistency is key. Nothing will happen over night. Be patient, sleep will come. The method, timing of naps, time of bedtime that your sister, best friend, Mom has(d) for their children may not work for you or your child. Choosing a method doesn’t have to be hard. You know yourself and your child best. You know what you can handle and what you think your child can handle. I always encourage my families to give their babies a chance when they decide to sleep train. Dismiss the urge to run in as soon a their child makes a sound. Give them some time for themselves to figure it out.
Sleep training doesn’t mean you have to let your child Cry It Out (CIO). Yes, your baby is probably going to cry BUT its how we handle the crying is key. We need to take a step back and instead of rescuing them, we need to reassure them that they are ok and that they can do it. The first few nights can be frustrating but with consistency again, the sleep will come. There are different methods because every family is different. You need to choose what not only works for you but for your child.
I understand that crying is hard. It can be heart breaking for any parent/caregiver. I even had a hard time when I know that a child had had a bit of a tough time when I am working with families. I talk about this a lot with my colleagues, friends and peers. When having this discussion with a family therapist one day, she offered me this way of thinking.
“We always look at any emotion other than being happy as a negative emotion. We instinctively want to suppress any “negative” emotion, especially when it comes to our children. I have a lot of parents call me and say “I’ve never let my child cry”
I have learned that we need to let our children ride out the emotion and not feel that how they’re feeling is wrong, no matter the age. We need to acknowledge that feeling whether it be through voice or action. We don’t want to suppress that feeling by stopping them from feeling that way. This is how we help them to develop a sense of self. We are born as a “we” but we want to develop into an “I”. We want to allow her children to cry. We want to allow them to feel sad. Yes they are frightened because they don’t know what is going on. It is OK to feel scared and it is OK to feel sad and we don’t want to stop them from feeling this way even tho society programs us to do so.”
I have found this so helpful when talking about sleep training with families. The baby is going to cry and it’s totally ok! Even super healthy!
Stay strong and be confident no matter what choices you make. You are amazing!
Parents everyday question if what they are doing is the right thing for their family. If you are having trouble getting your babe to sleep and are stuck, thats what we’re here for! Asking for help is never the wrong thing to do. We all need it sometimes.