It seems everywhere I look I’m seeing different articles, posts, blogs, etc. on the evils of sleep training your child. There is this idea that getting sleep (adequate amounts for both you and baby) cannot be reconciled with being a good parent because you aren’t attending to your child’s needs.
But my problem with all of this commentary is the assumptions that are being made. The first, always one that I have a huge problem with, assumes that your parenting method and choices are better than any others. Parenting is not one size fits all, and I think I’ll leave it at that because, really is there more that needs to be said about it?
The second assumption is that sleep training = cry it out method and ultimately ignoring the cries of your child.
As a sleep consultant this frustrates me to no end, as I’m sure it would many other sleep consultants. When you work with a professional to develop a sleep plan for your child you are doing just that – developing a plan. You are having an individual assessment done to ensure the readiness of both parent and child because many of these commentaries/opinions are right about one thing – sleep training is not for everyone.
However, I need to say it like it is – if you are attempting the cry it out method, you don’t need a sleep consultant to help you. There is nothing more that you need to know. A sleep consultant/coach will help you navigate the individual habits that you have your child have developed together and come up with a plan to eliminate the habits that are preventing you and your child to get the sleep you need. There’s a lot more to our job than just empowering you to put the baby in the crib and walk away (in fact, most of the time I don’t even have my parents walk away!).
As a parent who has sleep trained both of her children, these commentaries assume that I can’t be a good parent with children that still “trust” me.
And that..well, it’s simply not true.
If I didn’t believe you could sleep train your child and still keep secure attachments, I wouldn’t be in this business.
I would never ever suggest you do something that destroy any form of attachment to your child. This is why there is a process and the first step is always a conversation. I have to get to know you and your situation and make sure YOU and your baby are ready for this. That’s why I go through a whole checklist of items to determine if you are even preliminarily there…and if you’re still reading articles that tell you all of the evils of sleep training…well, you might not be ready yet (or ever). And that’s okay.
Sleep training has to be approached with security and confidence in your decision because that’s what is going to shape your child. If they sense something is off about you, that you have hesitancy or you feel it’s wrong, you better believe they are going to feel insecure. These are all things I address and teach to parents when we are working on sleep.
And a quick note on safety when it comes to sleep training, and it will be really quick…I would never ask you to risk your child’s safety. Plain and simple. I just wouldn’t. See, that was quick, wasn’t it?
So mamas, if you don’t want to sleep train your child, if it doesn’t sit well with you…that’s okay, it’s your choice. But please don’t shame other parents who do feel sleep training will beneficial for their child, for themselves and their lifestyle.
You do you – you know your child better than anyone else.
In the meantime…I’ll just be over here waiting to safely teach babies all over the world how to sleep a little better and still love their parents more than anyone in the world because they know they are safe and secure.
We teach our kids a lot of different things, in a lot of different ways. Sleep is no different.
If you’re having trouble sleeping and getting your little one to sleep (or to stay asleep) or if you just want to learn a little more about Bethany’s sleep suggestions and her training methods – sign up here to be the first to know when Bethany’s FREE webinar series on sleep will be!