Have you ever wondered what the definition of ‘Sleep Training’ is? Unfortunately, sleep training (or I prefer to use the word ‘coaching’) is very much misunderstood in this part of the world… there may be some lack of awareness, or the lack of education, or the lack of understanding that there is a way to solve child sleep issues!
No matter what sleep preferences you have for your baby, read on to know what Sleep Coaching really is, and what it doesn’t have to be:
1. Training my little baby… really? Training is for pets, not children.
Whatever term you use, train/ coach/ teach etc, humans aren’t born with all the skills they need to evolve into fully functioning human beings; there is always some form of guidance required. Think about the skills we teach our children: How to use the potty, how to brush their teeth, how to drink from a cup, how to ride a bike etc. As parents, it is our responsibility to teach and guide our children on developing these skills. Sleep is just as important, and should never be taken for granted. Without good sleep, everything else will be very difficult to accomplish. So, that leads me to the next myth…
2. My baby will grow out of it sooner or later, there’s no need to train them to sleep.
Sure, they will learn how to sleep independently sooner or later… and there are many families out there who are blessed with children who never really had sleep problems. It is different for every child, but according to two studies conducted, some 84% of babies that have sleep problems at infancy will continue to do so until the age of 3 or 5! Imagine the number of years of sleep deprivation, exhaustion and frustration, and what that does to the health of your child. Children with good consolidated sleep are generally happier, better learners, better behaved, and not forgetting the enjoyment of parenting that comes with it.
3. Sleep training interferes with mummy-baby bond.
Definitely not! Sleep training does not mean giving up the activities you love to do with your child, you can continue to do all that as part of the bedtime routine, or when your child is awake. Sleep training definitely does not have any negative impact on a breastfeeding baby. You can have lots of skin to skin contact when the child is feeding, just as long as they’re not fed to sleep. We also believe you can start teaching a baby to start sleeping through the night when they are at least 3 months old, and at a healthy weight. However, there’s no forcing, and it is really up to the parents if they would like to wean the night feed. The sleep plan is adapted to the needs of the family, and what we’re advocating is healthy sleep habits, and that also means not being nursed to sleep. A child is not developing good sleep habits when they’re constantly relying on the parents to be nursed, carried or rocked to sleep. A child needs to learn how to create his/her own journey to sleep, just like us adults
4. Sleep training forces a baby to sleep through the night.
Contrary to popular belief, no human actually goes to sleep and stays asleep all night. Babies and adults usually wake up to three to six times a night! But what’s different is that we adults know how to put ourselves back to sleep during that midnight arousal – we turn to our favourite side of the bed and fall back asleep easily, and this is exactly what we’re teaching a child to do! A child will only know how to put themselves back to sleep if they’ve developed the skills to soothe themselves back to sleep during those short awakenings.
5. Sleep training means I can’t share a room with my child.
It is fine to sleep in the same room as your child; having a child close to you makes it more convenient for breastfeeding and gives you the assurance that your child is well. However, if you would like to keep your infant in the same room, the infant should be in a crib/cot of his own, and have a sleep location that is separate from the parents. Sharing the same bed with your infant is not recommended as it poses significant SIDS risks. A child should eventually learn the independence of sleeping in his own room, so that he doesn’t have to rely on the presence of his parents to fall asleep. Your child will appreciate that he can have sleepovers at a friend’s house one day and psst… how about gaining back some of those ME or Couple time that you so sorely miss?
Sleep Coaching – it is ultimately defined as helping your child learn the skills to fall asleep unassisted. It may mean a few nights of grumpy babies as they adjust to the new routine, and lots of consistency and persistence from the parents. However, the long term gain is invaluable; think about all the positives of a healthy sleeping child, and the literal meaning of ‘Precious Sleep’!
Is your child having trouble falling asleep? Are they waking up multiple times every night? Do they need to be rocked/ nursed/ carried to sleep? Are you getting enough rest?
Wait no further, contact me to learn more.