Are you’re counting down the days until your newborn reaches 4 months so you can commence sleep training? Maybe you’ve grabbed a book from your local book store and you’re memorizing the steps to train your baby to sleep better. Maybe you’re compiling advice at your mommy group to formulate your sleep training game plan. If you’re planning on sleep training your baby, I urge you to stop right now. Here are 4 reasons why I won’t be sleep training your baby and neither should you.
- The sleep training method you choose may not suit your baby. There are various methods that are effective in teaching the skill of sleep, but each method does not work for every child. So even if you pick up a book, prepare yourself and execute a particular method flawlessly, you may fail miserably. If you choose a method that is not suited to your baby’s temperament, feeding needs or your parenting style it’s just not going to work.
- Sleep training is not a long term solution. Training your child to sleep (if it works) provides an immediate fix. But soon the time will come when your baby gets sick, cuts a tooth or learns a new developmental milestone and sleep is interrupted. Sleep training does not prepare you for how to handle these bumps in the road.
- Sleep training does not account for the big picture. The method you choose in teaching the skill of sleep is really a very small part of the sleep puzzle. Sleep is like a wheel and all the spokes need to be in place or the wheel will be compromised and fall apart. Sleep training does not account for sleep science, the body’s circadian rhythm or the sleep environment.
- Sleep training doesn’t work. Picking up a book and working through a sleep training process does not set your family up for maximum success. It may help a bit in the short term or it may be a total waste of time. A book can’t help you trouble shoot or help you get back on track if you’ve made a mistake. A book can’t empathize and support you through the process. A book can’t tell you, “I’ve seen this before, this is what you can expect or let’s make this slight change to improve the situation.” A book can’t cloak you in the confidence that comes along with working with a professional.
Sleep training is like a fad diet or a 30 day weight loss plan- it doesn’t work for the long term. What works is valuing and prioritizing sleep. What works is being empowered with how to make the changes that will maximize your family’s success. What works is bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together in a way that is responsive to your baby’s individual needs. That’s why I won’t be sleep training your baby and neither should you.
Alysa Dobson is a Certified Child Sleep Consultant with SleepWell Baby. She works with families to help them get the sleep they need. Alysa offers support to parents with children ages 4 months- 8 years old through both in home and remote consultations. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.//