Who knew sleep training could be such a polarizing subject?! 

I decided to do a post talking about a few of the myths I see surrounding sleep training. We can be bombarded with noise and opinions from those who know little about what we may be going through. Sometimes we're made to feel bad about doing what's best for our family. Some may have the opinion that sleep training is some kind of cold or mean method of parenting. That's an old school way of thinking, and I could not disagree more. Here are 3 myths about sleep training...

Myth #1: If you choose to sleep train, that means that you're going to just let your child cry it out. 

Fact: No way! I want to make it clear that my approach to sleep training is not a cry it out approach. There can be some crying when it comes to sleep training - spoiler alert: my baby also sometimes cries when I put his jacket on, that doesn't mean I'm going to let him go without a jacket when it's cold out. Moms who choose to teach their children to sleep independently should not feel judged by those who made a different choice for their own families. There seems to be this illusion that sleep training means that you need to put your baby in the room and shut the door. That’s not the case when you work with me, because I educate parents on gentle approaches and responsive parenting methods. 

There is no "one size fits all" approach. Sometimes sleep training is simply adjusting your little one's schedule so that they aren’t getting overly tired. Sometimes it’s working on getting them comfortable sleeping in their own bed, even when they’re, they have been sleeping through the night already. Sometimes what it means is teaching parents the appropriate and safest sleep environment for a newborn baby because they really aren’t sure.


Myth #2: If your child is sleep trained, that means you don't ever let them sleep on you or offer comfort through the night. 

Fact: This could not be further from the truth. Those who say "parenting is a 24 hour a day job" are absolutely right, and that holds true for those who teach their children to sleep independently. There will still be nights that your child wakes up and needs help from mom and dad. There will still be times when your little one will fight a nap. They're little growing humans, and that's to be expected. As a part of sleep training, you learn how to affectionately help your little one when these times come, without creating bad habits that don't work for your family. 

The reason that I began sleep training with my youngest son is because what we were doing simply was not working for my family. I see this happen a lot in families who come to me for help. Sleep is essential for health, and if your family is suffering without healthy sleep, it's time to find something that will work better for your family.

I also encourage moms to soak up as many newborn snuggles as possible! That means that it's okay to hold baby while they sleep as long as you're being safe. I absolutely adored putting my youngest son in a baby carrier for some of his afternoon naps. It was the best! 


Myth #3: You can't room-share and sleep train,

Fact: Wrong again! 

Let me start by saying that I do not promote co-sleeping. I'm not judging you if that's your decision. In fact, although my son slept on his own for the first two years of his life, the second two years were spent sleeping with my husband and I. I absolutely loved co-sleeping. But, it got to a point, where all 3 of us were uncomfortable, tired, and not getting adequate sleep. I knew that I did not want to co-sleep with my second son and I wanted my oldest to be sleeping in his own bed again because that was what was right for me, for my marriage, and for my husband's and my own healthy sleep. That is just what worked for us in our family.

For parents to choose to co-sleep, after doing my due diligence and research, I cannot morally or ethically recommend it. It's against AAP guidelines for SIDS reduction, and there are just too many risks. That being said, I’m here to support parents who need help sleep training and getting their little one's sleeping independently. When I work with families, I take into consideration parents beliefs in regards to sleep training and crying. I look at baby's temperament and personality to see what kind of approach will be most beneficial and have fewest tears. I've also learned that if a parent wants to continue co-sleeping, we may not be a good fit in working together, which is perfectly okay!

I recommend safe sleeping habits and believe educating others on safe sleep is the most important part of my job. I also follow AAP and NIH recommendations on safe sleep. One of those recommendations includes room sharing with mom and dad for the first year.

Room sharing can be beneficial for a number of reasons, and it is absolutely possible to sleep train with baby nearby. I've got plenty of tricks up my sleeve that can help if you need it.

I hope this post helped shed a little bit of light on some myths surrounding sleep training. Teaching your little one healthy sleep habits can be gentle and affectionate, without all the tears and sleepless nights. This will mean healthier sleep for you and your baby, and happier bedtimes for the whole family.

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