One of the most-asked questions in The Motherload® community is ‘how do I get my baby to sleep at night?’ – and it’s no wonder, persistent broken sleep can really get you down and have a huge impact on your physical and mental health. There are really two options, ride it out and hope it gets better, or try some kind of sleep training. Sleep training can be a minefield of misinformation and controversy, so we’ve been chatting to Zoe Payne from Baby Sleepy Dust about it all.
A lot of people find the very idea of sleep training a bit scary don’t they?
Honestly, the thought of sleep training your baby can be likened to going on a strict diet – you know it’s going to be worth it but it’s going to be so tough in the beginning, impossible to find the will power to actually start and the not knowing when (or if) you will ever see any results! At least when you’re dieting, the chocolate cake isn’t screaming at you in the middle of the night!
Doesn’t it basically mean leaving your baby alone to cry?
When hearing the term ‘Sleep Training’, people often think of parents leaving their children alone to cry for hours until they eventually pass out from exhaustion and the thought of doing this is not only terrifying but also the cause of much controversy. Yes, 30 years ago the Cry It Out method came highly recommended and from what I hear from my own mother and her peers (because no one can resist giving you advice on these things!!!), it worked almost every time. But over recent years, discussion about sleep and how to achieve it has encouraged countless successful methods to develop.
So what are the different methods?
The important thing to know for anyone who is struggling with their baby’s nighttime (or daytime) sleep habits is that there is no ‘one size that fits all’ anymore. We now have the luxury of handpicking a method that will work alongside our individual parenting preferences.
I use the word ‘luxury’ although I believe this wealth of information brings about another aspect of sleep training that is off-putting for many – the fear of the unknown. How do you choose which method is going to work for you? How do you know it is going to work? When do you start? What do you do if you feel like it’s not working? Are you ever going to get an unbroken night sleep again!?!
What’s your role as a sleep trainer?
Through training and extensive research, I now help put parent’s minds at rest about all those questions we put to ourselves about the choices we make regarding our children’s sleep. I support families throughout the process in the same way a personal trainer would!
Part of the service I offer is to carefully design a process that will be achievable and sustainable for the family I am working with so if you are going into this without outside help it is important to research the method you choose thoroughly. Much like any diet, there are going to be good days and bad days – you may get one or two nights where you see an improvement and then your darling child gives you the night from hell for no reason whatsoever! This is where most people cave in and decide what they’re doing isn’t working, in the same way you would fall off the diet wagon because you scoffed a packet of biscuits in a moment of weakness. Consistency is key and if you can stick it out through the tough times (there will be a few) and the occasional pitfall, you will start to see the light at the end of tunnel – your brain will be less fuzzy, eyes less red and sore, you will start to feel like an actual human being rather than just a Mombie, and the sense of achievement is absolutely awesome – up there with finally fitting into that fabulous dress that’s been sitting in the back of your wardrobe since your pre-pregnancy days!
Sleep training is a scary term and is a tough process to go through but when you get it right, and you CAN, good sleep for your baby and you is a gift that keeps on giving.
Disclaimer: This article forms part of sponsored promotion with Baby Sleepy Dust.