As the New Year is upon us, I’ve already talked with some families who are ready to make SLEEP a goal for the New Year. They want help teaching their child independent sleep skills, both as a gift to their child and also as a gift to themselves!
I’ve also talked with some families whose interest is piqued, but they’re wondering if sleep training is right for them. Or they’re wondering when will be a good time to sleep train.
So in this blog post, we are going to walk through:
- Common myths about sleep training
- Signs it’s a good time to sleep train
- When it’s not a good time to sleep train
- Frequently asked questions about sleep training
Sleep Training Myths
It’s time to sleep train when you hit rock bottom.
If you’re at rock bottom, then yes, it is a great time to sleep train. But it doesn’t have to get that bad to be ready! In fact, I’ve worked with families who choose to sleep train before they hit any sort of big challenges, because they wanted to prevent getting to such a place.
Sleep training means cry-it-out.
Sleep training is a process, and for this process, you choose a sleep training method. Yes, the Cry-it-Out method is one method for sleep training, and some families choose to do it. But it’s not the only one!
While there will likely be some crying and/or protesting in the sleep training process, you can absolutely respond and support your little one through it! Read this blog post about the four most common sleep training methods, including the two we use.
You need a sleep consultant in order to sleep train.
While I love my job and think it is incredibly helpful for families to have a plan and someone to guide them through the ups and downs, I also know many families who have sleep trained their children on their own and it’s worked well for them! I also know families who didn’t need to do any sort of sleep training, as their child seemed to be more of a “natural.”
You don’t need a sleep consultant to sleep train.
While many people successfully sleep train on their own, I’ve had families who have read all of the books and all of the blogs, who have tried everything they know to try, and they’re still stuck. Sometimes it takes an outside eye to look in and help families navigate sleep! Similarly, I’ve worked with families who are confident they could do it on their own, but they’d rather leave out the guessing and have support along the way.
So when should you sleep train?
The simplest answer is: when you’re ready. But here are some clues it might be time.
Signs it’s a Good Time to Sleep Train
You want to!
You’d like to be able to lay your little one down (awake!), walk away, and be confident they will fall asleep independently. And you’re ready to teach your little one to do so!
Your baby is four months or older
Now that your baby is four months or older, they are capable of learning to self-soothe, so you can officially start the sleep training process! And yes, it’s okay if they still need night feedings – they can still learn to fall asleep independently.
p.s. Did you know you can still sleep train your toddler and older child, even if sleep has always been a struggle?
For those of you with newborns…while we cannot officially sleep train your newborn, there is still a lot we can do from the start to establish a solid sleep foundation! Sometimes you can even avoid more formal sleep training down the road.
You’re in survival mode
If you find yourself to be exhausted, you dread bedtime, you’re nervous and anxious when it comes to sleep, and/or you find yourself making unsafe sleep choices but don’t know what else to do, this is a great time to sleep train!
Sleep deprivation affects us all – our physical, emotional, and mental health, and that spills into our relationships and daily activities. We love to help families go from surviving to thriving because you’re now getting sleep!
Signs it’s NOT a Good Time to Sleep Train
You don’t want to!
If your child is a great sleeper or you are comfortable with your child’s current sleep habits and it works well for your family, then you don’t need to!
Similarly, if you are simply considering doing so because you feel like “you should” or you feel pressured to do so, it’s probably not the right time for you.
You’re traveling in 2-3 weeks
If you plan to be away from home overnight in the next 2-3 weeks, now is not the time to sleep train. We want a solid two weeks at home for babies and a solid three weeks at home for toddlers and older children. So if you think you might be out of town in the near future, wait!
If your child is sick
When sleep training, we want to make sure we are setting our little ones up for the most success, so doing so while sick is not best for them.
If you’re still considering whether or not you want to sleep train, or if it’s a good time for your family, this might help.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Training
Can I continue breastfeeding and sleep train?
YES! I am a breastfeeding mama who nursed both girls over a year and I also love my sleep! We structure babies’ days so that they nurse in order to fill their little bellies, and then they know how to sleep on their own.
Can I sleep train if my child goes to daycare during the week?
YES! Here are some questions to ask your daycare provider to ensure your child gets the best sleep possible while there.
Can I sleep train if my child has medical complications?
Maybe! In cases when a child has an underlying medical concern, I always ask families to confirm with their providers whether or not it’s okay before we go ahead with a plan.
Whether or not you are going to sleep train your little one, and when you’re going to sleep train them is a personal choice! You are the best person to make that decision for your child and family.
If you’re still wondering if sleep training is a good fit for your family right now, or if you’re ready to jump in, we’d love to chat with you! Hiring a sleep consultant is a big decision, and it’s important to me that we touch base first so we can talk more about your sleep goals and questions, and we can share more about what it looks like to work together. So book a call (free and no strings attached!) and let’s chat!