It’s Not Important to Be Consistent When You’re Sleep Training
Did you just read that twice? Did you question if you read that correctly? Did she really just write “it’s not important to be consistent during sleep training?”
Yes, you read that! Here’s what I mean.
It’s not just important to be consistent during sleep training. It’s everything.
You see, when we think that something is important, we try to strive for it (peace in our relationships, a healthy body). But there’s another level, too. It’s when something is even more than just “important.” Without it, nothing works. Think of it like eating. Is it important to eat? No, it’s essential! If you don’t eat, you starve!
And that’s how consistency works in sleep training.
It’s not just important. Consistency is the “food” of sleep training. Without it, the process weakens and falls apart.
What does it mean to be consistent?
It means to do what you’ve decided to do before you started. Whichever sleep training method you’ve chosen, that’s the one you have to stick to. Exactly how you’ve planned to.
I know it’s hard at 4am. You’ll do anything to get your baby to go back to sleep. But she won’t learn (and that’s a guarantee) unless you’re consistent. Whichever method you’ve chosen needs to be repeated with utter consistency, each and every night until you see improvement. The more consistent you are, the sooner you’ll see improvement! Generally, when parents are very consistent, you can start to see some amazing results after 3-5 nights.
Why Intermittent Reinforcement is the Worst
Many times, I’ll hear this storyline from tired mamas: “We decided to sleep train. I was just too tired, I had to do something. I decided I was just going to let him cry/check-in/not check-in/ and I was ready to do it. But then he cried for half an hour and was not calming down! So I had to go in and feed him/take him out/bring him into my bed.
And that, Mama, is the worst thing you can do. By letting your baby cry for a period of time and then taking him out of his crib, you have rewarded the crying with coming out. You’ve begun to teach your baby an unwitting lesson: all you have to do is cry long enough and hard enough, and you won’t have to sleep anymore. It’s ok. Mama will come to get you.
Honestly, it’s better not to sleep train than to do that. Babies need clarity. They need consistency. They can’t have confusion. It makes them miserable and unsure.
That’s why it’s important not to start sleep training until you are one hundred percent, heart-and-soul committed to following through with whatever plan you’ve set out to follow.
The beauty of consistency is that it works. It really, truly works. As long as you’re consistent, your baby will learn to sleep. Promise!