This blog is all about dispelling those myths that are commonly associated with Sleep Training as in my experience. I'd like to start by saying that I recognize everyone will have a different perspective!
#1 My baby will cry alone all night
This is a myth that usually discourages parents from even considering sleep training. Yes, there is a rare few that will recommend you put your baby in their crib, close the door and say "see you in the morning" but that's NOT what I recommend. I personally don't believe that anyone would benefit from that scenario.
However, I also believe that crying is a baby's natural and biological response to change and that some crying could be expected. I find it to be very rare that a baby doesn't cry when implementing a new sleep routine.
The plans I create focus on following babe's lead by watching their sleep cues instead of forcing a schedule, we encourage developing a routine where baby's needs are met (feeding, cuddles, bathing, etc) and responding to baby in a way that offers comfort while encouraging independent sleep skills. Doing all of these things will help parents wind baby down into a ready state and will minimize crying as much as we can.
#2 I have to stop nursing at night
This is a huge myth! There is absolutely a difference between babies who wake for a predictable feeding and babies who rely on a feed to fall asleep. I strongly encourage parents to continue feeding in the night for as long as they want to. By implementing a strong routine, babies will often drop that night feed when they're good and ready (isn't that the dream, baby drops the night feed all on their own?) However, if mom is ready to stop feeding through the night, and baby is a healthy weight and age, I will always help her make that transition!
#3 My baby has to leave my room
Nope. Not even a little bit.
We know that the syncopation of breath is SO important during that fourth trimester (first 12 weeks after birth) and some recommendations are saying that the 1st year of a baby's life would benefit from being in the same room as their parents. I would never think of asking a parent to move their child to a different room if they're not ready to make that transition. If room sharing is your jam, a separate hard surface free of loose blankets is what I (and Health Canada) recommend. Here's the kicker, parents who are happy with room sharing or bed sharing aren't my clients
*I've only worked with one mom who wanted to implement a plan while co-sleeping*
My clients are parents who did the room sharing thing, and are now wanting to make a change but don't know how to proceed. My gentle plans help them make a transition while maintaining the healthy attachment they fostered through room sharing.
#4 I'll be breaking the attachment to my child/ they wont trust me anymore
I hate this myth and I could talk about it until I'm blue in the face.
As parents our job is to raise our children to be well-adjusted, functioning adults. Boundaries are crucial for encouraging growth while keeping our kids happy and healthy.
Implementing developmentally appropriate boundaries around sleep is no different from not allowing your mobile toddler to play with that new shiny knife you just bought. Yes, they may cry because it looks so interesting and they really wanted to check it out, but all you can do is comfort them while sticking to those boundaries to keep them safe.
These boundaries and routines will almost always lead to happier, healthier babies who are ready for LOTS and lots of cuddles in the morning. My son was sleep trained at 4 months and not once have I felt like I broke our bond. He still asks for cuddles and kisses and we've maintained a very happy and healthy relationship.
Want to talk some more about sleep, or your apprehensions about making changes to your child's sleep routine, drop me a line!