There are a few sleep training myths floating around that are often a common discussion point among parents.
Do you ever hear comments like..
“You should just enjoy getting up to nurse all night and someday he’ll be all grown up and you’ll miss it”
“You have children, you will never get a full nights sleep again for years!” ?
Do you quietly think to yourself, hmmm no, I am not buying that. That is NOT the way it should or needs to be.
Well you’re right! And I’ll tell you why.
Getting a full nights sleep results in a happier and healthier child, and furthermore, a happier and healthier parent – and it is not only achievable, but it is important.
Let’s talk ‘sleep training’..
Here are the Top 3 Sleep Training Myths:
Sleep Training Myth #1: Your baby will not love you in the morning
Really? Do you think that after just one night of changing your baby’s sleep habits this will result in her not loving you anymore? Is that all it would take? Would all the cuddles you give her, all the food you provide, all the nappies and clean clothes she wears, all the play times and bath times, all the kisses and laughter be for nothing because of a few nights of protest?
The truth is, making changes to anyone’s sleep habits will always be met with some resistance. So yes, it is safe to assume that your baby is not going to happily accept the fact that you are no longer going to rock her on the exercise ball for an hour each and every night. Due to you being a loving and attentive parent, however, the love will endure.
In fact, most people find that once their baby is sleeping well, she’s even happier than before. Says a lot about the power of a good nights sleep.
Sleep Training Myth #2: Sleep training means leaving your baby to ‘cry it out’
First off, The Sleep Sense Program is NOT a ‘cry-it-out’ program.
In fact, you can stay in your child’s room with them the whole time, if that makes you feel more comfortable.
The bottom line is that it’s not the crying that gets a baby sleeping well. The crying is simply your baby’s reaction to the change in his or her sleep habits, nothing more.
In other words, your baby isn’t crying because she is mad at you, or because you’re being cruel. She is crying because she’s temporarily confused! I mean, you USED to rock or nurse her to sleep every night, and now (for her own benefit) you’re not doing that anymore.
The great news is that your child’s confusion usually only lasts a few days because children adapt SO quickly. She’ll soon figure out how to calmly get herself to sleep. Resulting in everyone’s life being a lot easier!
Sleep Training Myth #3: Sleep training is too stressful for babies
First off, there is no evidence that sleep training has any short term or long term psychological effects on children. So you can cross that off your list of things to worry about.
Similarly, as for those who say that a few nights of crying are ‘too stressful?’ Well, I say you’ve really got two choices:
1. Make some changes. This could involve a few nights of your child crying for 5 – 40 minutes at bedtime (and in my experience it is usually the less amount). The results we see after a few nights is that of most children starting to learn how to fall asleep independently. The crying stops completely shortly thereafter.
In this scenario, the total amount of stress felt by your child amounts to a few minutes of crying for a few nights.
2. Do nothing. Therefore, parents continue to nurse / rock / bounce their child to sleep every night. The child wakes up 1 -10 times per night because she needs to be nursed / rocked / bounced back to sleep each time.
In this scenario, both parent and child are subjected to months (or even years) of systematic sleep deprivation. Resulting in both being deprived of enough consolidated sleep to wake up and feel rested or refreshed. Consequently, if these poor sleep habits continue, there is evidence it can adversely affect your child’s ability to focus and retain information, or deal with the general pressures of life. Wouldn’t it be better to avoid these stresses if you possibly could?
What sounds more harmful? A few nights of crying or months/years of depriving your child (and you) of a good nights sleep?
Sleep training myths are just that, myths.
Maybe one or more of these sleep training myths have been holding you back from taking steps to create long term, positive change for your child’s sleep. As a result, you haven’t reached out for help. Above all, I really hope I’ve been able to change your mind but similarly, please know that you are not alone when it comes to sleep struggles and asking for help to make changes is a safe, gentle option. An option that can really make a positive difference to your family.
For more information on the stresses of a child, I recommend checking out this article Helping Babies Cope With Stress and Learn to Sleep.
For long term sleeping solutions, check out my sleep packages.
Have I covered off the sleep training myths that are important to you? Have some more questions?