Don’t Do These Things When Sleep Training Your Baby
Sometimes I’ll meet a mom who will tell me “I tried sleep training my baby and it didn’t work. I guess I just have an impossible baby.”
I always feel bad for these moms. Not because I believe that they have such difficult babies, but because sleep training almost always works with healthy babies. However, it only works when its done right.
Here are the top 5 mistakes I see moms make when they sleep train- make sure to avoid these at all costs!
1. Giving up too soon. It only takes 3 or 4 nights of real solid consistency for a baby or toddler to learn how to go to sleep on their own and stay quietly in their crib the whole night. However, those 3 or 4 nights can feel so agonizing that parents are tempted to give up before they see immediate results. Don’t give up if you don’t see results right away. Sleep training works. It takes strength, stamina, and consistency. For best results, commit to following your plan as perfectly as possible for 1-2 weeks. This will result in a huge improvement in your baby’s sleep.
2. Neglecting to create a proper sleep environment. There are things that really do contribute to a calmer and more conducive atmosphere for healthy sleep. Making simple changes, like installing blackout curtains and plugging in a white noise machine can make a very big difference in the length of your baby’s sleep. In this post, you can learn how to create a perfect sleep environment with just a few tweaks to your baby’s room.
3. Keeping the pacifier! Sleep training when your baby still uses a pacifier may leave you just as frustrated as you were before your sleep trained. Instead of waking up to nurse or be rocked back to sleep, your baby will wake up crying for the pacifier – so what will you have achieved?
Even if your baby is old enough to replace the pacifier on their own and doesn’t need your help reinserting it, they will still spend time groping in the dark to find their pacifier when they wake up at night. Some older babies even like to play a game where they throw their pacifier out of the crib and then cry for Mommy or Daddy to come to pick it up for them. Either of these options will still create sleep disturbances.
4. Not having clarity in your plan. The biggest reason that parent fail in sleep training is that they didn’t clarify what their plan was before they started. Have the conversation.
Before you start to train, you need to be able to answer the following questions:
what will I do at bedtime?
what will I do for nighttime wakings?
what will I do for early morning wakings?
what will I do at naptime?
exactly what procedures and steps will I take at each of those times?