Did the title make you cringe? Then you are not alone. You are one of many parents who has negative associations with the phrase “sleep training”. We did too; until we saw the benefits.
Sleep is an acquired skill like anything else, and as parents it is our role to equip our children with the necessary tools to be happy and healthy. I am sure as a new parent, you will agree, that sleepless nights catch up to you in the form of a bad mood, a short fuse, delirium, exhaustion, lower ability to process information, and in some, even depression. So why would we want our babies to suffer the same fate? Not teaching them this precious skill could not only lead them to be poor sleepers in the long term, but could also lead you to find yourself in situations that in hindsight seem to be funny, but at the time are no laughing matter. Do you really want to find yourself driving around the block, walking up and down the stairs, moving in circles with baby on the maxi cosi, or rocking the crib with your foot all night just to try to get a wink of sleep while your baby does also?
There are many approaches to sleep training. On one side of the scale is the “letting your child cry it out all night” approach, and on the other is a controlled “letting your child settle themselves on their own” approach. Although we both applied the latter, there are variations in the approach we each used.
What we are trying to say, is that it is important for every parent to determine the approach that best suits them. No one can tell you what is best for you and your family. However, we can both attest to the advantages of sleep training our children early and combining this with the advantages of a nap/sleep routine (which incidentally is linked to an eating routing too, but more on that another time). Not only does sleep training give you predictability in planning your own day (not to mention gives you extra time to sleep at night!), but it also makes you feel empowered that you can help your child achieve something wonderful: the ability to look forward to sleep, and the power to settle themselves – their first step at independence (and happiness!)
Although there are many good books out there such as . . .
- “The Complete Sleep Guide” by Gina Ford
- “The Baby Whisperer” by Tracy Hogg
- “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Dr Marc Weissbluth
- “Your Baby Week by Week” by Dr. Caroline Fertleman and Simon Cave
- “5 Days to a Perfect Night Sleep” by Dr. Eduard Estivill
. . . sometimes there is nothing like the experience of other parents to help out.
So, we thought, we would use this blog to share our very personal experiences in teaching our own babies how to sleep. We both applied the “teaching your child how to settle themselves” approach, but we did so differently. Today, both our babies are like clockwork they tell us what time of the day it is with their yawns signalling that its nap time, and their moaning signalling that its eating time (saves us carrying a wrist watch!)
Little by little, we will divulge some of our best tricks to hopefully help you and your babies get off to a simpler, smoother start!
And soon, you’ll be able to get your hands on a moomboo to help you sleep train while reducing changing variables in the baby’s environment, so you know you are giving them the best chance to learn!
In the meantime, why not send us your sleep training story?