Finding the right time to teach your child sleep skills can be tricky.
First of all, here are 2 things that I can pretty much guarantee you when it comes to teaching your baby to sleep through the night:
1. It’s going to be a challenge
2. It’s going to be eminently worth it
I’ve never worked with a family whose baby went right down on the first night and just magically slept through from then on. Some have slept through the night on night two, most of them start seeing results on night three or four, but I won’t kid you, night one can be a trial.
I’ve also never worked with a family who didn’t feel like they had made a tremendous decision once their baby had learned to sleep through the night. The benefits to the whole family are almost indescribable.
Like many big decisions though, there are times that are ideal and times that are less so.
I’d like to offer some tips for deciding whether or not it’s the right time to take this challenging, but oh-so-rewarding journey.
Are you going to be around?
I’m not attempting to find a silver lining in the current situation we find ourselves in, however, many find themselves in their home routine a lot more at the moment. Less parties, less events, less travel. Having some consistent familiar surroundings for your baby when sleep training is ideal. So basically, now is a great time to tackle it.
I don’t advise parents to start sleep training within two weeks of traveling, but I’m guessing that’s not a concern for most of us at the moment since we’re all sticking pretty close to our home base.
Is the time right for baby?
The best chance for a quick and effective solution to your baby’s sleep issues is to implement the changes when they’re healthy and thriving. If baby’s dealing with reflux or colic, you’ll want to get that remedied before you start sleep training. There’s going to be some fussing and protest in the first few nights, and we want to make sure it’s only due to the change in their routine, not because of actual discomfort. If they’re healthy, it’s much easier to pinpoint the reasons for their fussing.
Is your partner on board?
If you’re raising your baby with a partner, it’s important that both of you are committed to the process. This can be a trying ordeal for the first couple of nights and if your partner thinks it’s not a good idea, there’s likely going to be a point where they manage to convince you to give in and resort to whatever “sleep prop” you usually use to get your baby to sleep. So before you get started, make sure you and your partner have both signed on. Ensure you can rely on one another for support.
Can you stand a couple of nights without a lot of sleep?
I won’t sugar-coat it. Changing up someone’s sleep habits is almost never met with a lot of enthusiasm for the first night or two. Nobody’s likely to get a lot of rest for the first 48 hours. If you have an important meeting or a major event coming up in the next few days that you need to be in peak condition for, you might want to wait until next weekend to get things underway.
Are the symptoms of sleep deprivation starting to show?
Are you starting to feel depressed, moody, forgetful, unmotivated, clumsy, or unfocused? Is your sex drive starting to wane? Have you noticed an increased appetite and carbohydrate cravings?
These are all symptoms of sleep deprivation and they’re no laughing matter. Society tends to make light of the whole, “exhausted new parent” persona. The more we learn about the health effects of sleep deprivation, however, the less of a joke it becomes. If you’re sleep-deprived or feel like you’re on the verge, now’s the time to take some action.
Finding the right time doesn’t mean waiting for the “perfect” moment
Finding the right time may actually mean, there is no right time. Like I said earlier, now might not be the ideal time to take the initiative to help your baby sleep through the night. Getting started and having to stop because of some bad planning is likely going to cause some confusion and minimise your chances for success.
However, remember this, there’s always going to be something that isn’t exactly ideal. Teething, crawling, rolling over, and other developmental milestones. These parts of life shouldn’t impede baby’s ability to sleep through the night. Developmental changes are not going to stop popping up until your little one’s about ready to graduate from high school.
So now that you know all that about finding the right time, if you feel like the time is right and you’re ready to get started, let’s get going!
Get in touch and we can start putting together a plan for your baby. I know it’s a big decision. The outcome? almost indescribably wonderful for the whole family.