You are tired, actually more verging on down right exhausted because your baby doesn’t seem to sleep for very long stretches.
You’re reading all the books, and hearing people around you talk about how they did (or are in the middle of) sleep training their babies. Your pediatrician asks you how baby is sleeping at every visit and maybe has even suggested sleep training.
But something about sleep training doesn’t sit right with you.
You cannot fathom letting your precious little baby to cry alone in a dark room until they hopefully fall asleep.
You can’t imagine not attending to their needs, the way you do during the day.
You don’t think that ‘sleep training’ is for you (or you baby), but you really want more sleep.
You NEED more sleep!! Because, let’s be honest, more sleep = less exhausted mama = more patient and happy and present mama. Right??!? And so you start to second guess your initial instinct and start to read more about sleep training, perhaps join some FB groups on the subject, and even start contacting some sleep consultants.
When I hear about and read about ‘sleep training’ most often it is talking about some version of the cry it out method, which is typically done at intervals - lots of programs, plans and approaches that teach this - ie. not touching baby, just using voice, just patting. Essentially you are not responding to baby based on what you are hearing but based on what the timing is. These various approaches also want you to believe that you must teach a baby to sleep alone and to learn to self-soothe, and the only way to do that is to not respond to their ‘manipulative cries’ at night.
If you really sit back and think about it, this is complete nonsense! Let's find out why.....
The sleep training world, including books you read, various sleep trainers you follow on social media, outdated research and sometimes even your pediatrician, claim that sleep training teaches the skill of self soothing to fall asleep independently, and that you must teach your baby to self-soothe if you want them to fall asleep and stay asleep during the night.
How stressful this one little statement can be, and how many tears have ensued from it. Tears from babies, from toddlers, from mothers and fathers.
And no, I am not talking about tears of joy, but rather of stress and overwhelm.
The reality is, that there is no evidence to suggest this. Rather if you look at development, and more specifically neurodevelopment (aka brain development), it shows the opposite is true.
Self-soothing is not something you can teach your baby. Find out why in Video #3.
You and I are different and each baby and family is different.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
There is so much that can affect sleep, so thinking that one prescriptive solution will work for everyone (regardless of age) is not realistic!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The sleep training culture though would have you believe differently. They want you to think there is only one way, that must be followed to the letter.... they need you to believe that, so that they can ‘sell you the dream’.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
In reality sleep depends on development, age, what is going on with feeding, what your day looks like, what is going on internally with sleep hormones and sleep cycles and more. It is not just about ‘sleeping through the night’ and ‘teaching your baby’ to do things like fall asleep on their own or ‘self-soothe’⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
That being said there are definitely things we can look at and improve to help you and your baby get more sleep. Things we can do that respect both your instincts and your baby! That are developmentally appropriate and supportive.