Are you exhausted trying to keep up with overnight feeds? Has your child’s paediatrician said they can sleep through the night, but they aren’t? Are you thinking about sleep training but lots of people have said not to, that it is dangerous? Are you confused and overwhelmed by all the information out there?
We don’t blame you! Sleep training is a topic that can turn into a heated discussion very quickly. There are some who consider any sleep training at all to be detrimental to the health and well-being of children. It isn’t just other parents who might think that, there are professionals out there who will tell you that too!
We won’t. Because we know, that you know, what is best for your baby and family.
Since misinformation around sleep training is rampant, let’s look at the myths:
Age – when is the right time?
It is generally recommended to wait until 6 months of age to begin sleep training, and not before 4 months. This is due to several factors including the development of cause and effect understanding, developmental ability to sleep through the night, and ability to eat enough during the day to sustain them through the night.
Method – one size fits all?
There are many different methods of sleep training out there. What you use will depend on your goals, your family, and your individual preferences. There is no one right way to sleep train.
Cry it out (CIO) – cruel and unusual punishment?
Cry it out is sometimes considered synonymous with sleep training, but it is not. Cry it out is a method of sleep training. Some families find this to be incredibly difficult and choose other methods. Others find this to be the fastest, and most effective, form of sleep training for their child. We know from behaviour modification science that cry it out is effective at training children to sleep without assistance from their parents. Further more, the science tells us that CIO sleep training does not cause lasting damage to children.
But the internet said….
There are hundreds of websites dedicated to telling parents why they should not sleep training. Most anti-sleep training arguments revolve around poorly done studies suggesting sleep training increased cortisol levels in sleep training mother-child pairs. However, this is misinterpreted as a bad thing, when in fact, it is a normal physiologic response to being in a new environment (such as the sleep lab where the study was conducted) or having a new caregiver (such as the nurse and doctors conducting the study.
Is CIO the only way?
Not at all! There are many forms of sleep training, even different methods of cry it out! Our Sleep Consultant can help you to determine what the best method for you is and our doulas can help you put it into practice!
Is it right for us?
Only you can answer that question. Sleep training is not right for everyone, but sleep is an important and normal human need. If you are not getting enough sleep and it is negatively impacting your life, it may be time to consider sleep training your child.
If you do decide to sleep train, our Sleep Consultant and doulas will help you develop and implement a plan that will see you all in dreamland very soon!