What will the Sleep Training involve?
To sleep train your baby and promote good sleep we need to do two things, firstly we need to change the habits that have caused your baby’s sleep problems and then teach your baby how to settle themselves to sleep independently. The aim is to get to the stage where at bedtime and for naps you can say goodnight to your little one, put them in their cot or bed, and leave the room, allowing them to fall asleep on their own. And however badly your baby sleeps now, this can be achieved!
The Sleep Plan
To implement the Sleep Plan you will need to be prepared to put in some work, sleep training is a bit like potty training in as much as it takes a bit of time and effort to reach your goals! It's a good idea to put some time aside, in the same way as you would for potty training. I think what we all want is for this to be a success, that you're happy to put the work in as parents but that you need to see results. The first few nights are the hardest, but you will see progress from night three, if not before. Most parents find that they are already spending a lot of time trying to settle their baby to sleep and getting up in the night so are happy to commit to this but it's a good idea to put some time aside, especially the first few days.
A Word about Independent Settling.
To be able to sleep through the night and nap well your baby needs to be able to settle independently. This means with no help from you or any ‘props’ such as dummies, toys, music, etc. A baby who settles to sleep independently doesn’t need a parent to stay with them in the room or have anyone holding them. What we are working towards is for you to be able to put your baby in their cot or bed and when you’re ready, leave the room and let them fall happily to sleep.
You’ve probably heard that we all go through sleep cycles, coming into a light sleep and waking several times a night, although we’re usually unaware of it. As adults, we know how to settle to sleep on our own. Once a baby’s sleep changes to this pattern, around 4 months, they gently wake on and off throughout the night. The difference between a baby who sleeps through the night and one that doesn’t isn’t that the baby who sleeps through doesn’t wake, they do, but they quietly go back off to sleep by themselves, they don’t need us for anything. The baby who wakes in the night and cries can’t settle back to sleep without some adult input, they can’t get back to sleep without having a dummy put back in or having a cuddle, or being rocked or having a feed.
To reach our goal and teach your baby to settle themselves to sleep we need to make some changes. We are going to be as kind as we can but babies don’t like change, so there will be some crying, as they object to the changes we're making. I would expect your baby to cry while the sleep training is carried out, with the tears lessening after a few nights. Many of the parents I speak to before they start the training say that their babies are very unhappy when they wake in the night and that they spend a lot of time trying to settle them back to sleep. I truly believe that babies are far happier after sleep training once they are sleeping well. Sleep training has been proven to be safe, and it does not affect attachment, if you'd like to read more about this here's a link to the University of Warwick research. This research is on the cry-it-out method, my methods are more gentle than that.
It’s all part of working towards our goal of a good night's sleep for you and your baby.
If you would like my support while you sleep train your little one, I offer a sleep plan package with 3 weeks of email and video consultation support. I’ll be available via email to answer any questions you may have. Most sleep training takes up to a week but my 3 weeks of support means that you have time to carry out the sleep plan at your own pace.
I'll answer any questions you may have and support you in your sleep goals. We'll work together for 3 weeks and you can get in touch with me as much as you like via email, and we can arrange another video consultation if it's needed. At the end of the plan, you should be an expert in your baby's sleep. This is probably the most important part of the Sleep Plan, I'll help you get it right for your little one and be a supportive ear if you need one. Many parents say to me that they've tried sleep training before but they couldn't make it work, that's what I'm here for! To help get you past the tricky bits and on to a good night's sleep for you and your little one.
If you're ready to start on the path to good sleep, click the get in touch button below, fill in the contact me form and I'll get back to you.