Updated: Aug 4, 2021
What is sleep training
“Enjoy the sleep now, because you’ll barely get any after the baby is born!” Sound familiar? The reason people say this is because during the first few months after the baby is born, it is tough! And we mean really, really tough! Your baby is still establishing their sleep and wake times and constantly needs to be fed during the day and night. Their sleep is unpredictable. Sometimes they sleep longer at night, and sometimes they take longer naps. I mean, who really know what’s happening here, right?
Around 5 months, their sleep patterns become more consistent and most of their night feedings are typically dropped. You don’t have to get up in the middle of the night anymore, and you finally start dreaming about actually sleeping again. You’ve heard of sleep training; you’ve read a ton of success stories, and you’ve also heard what all the skeptics have to say about it. It’s a very controversial topic – almost like politics! But what really is sleep training?
When you say sleep training most people’s first thoughts are “letting your baby cry to sleep” or “cry it out”. Everyone has a different definition and that’s because it means something to different to everyone. We like to think of sleep training as having your baby learn when to fall asleep, putting themselves back to sleep, and staying asleep! It is giving your baby the best sleep environment possible, and ensuring they are in a stress-free, relaxed and calm state before going to sleep. Will your baby cry? Sure they will, but are you going to leave them on their own to figure it out? Absolutely not! There are many different approaches to sleep training, so make sure you do your research and know exactly what you want.
Do you need to sleep train your baby? – Not at all. It’s a personal choice, if you feel you need to, go ahead! If you want to – give it a go! If you choose not to, that’s okay too! If you’re not sure if you should, here are some reasons why you might want to consider sleep training:
You are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety due to your lack of sleep
You need sleep to function through the day at your more optimal level either at home, at work, or both
You need sleep to feel your best
Your baby is fussy throughout the night, or lack energy during the day and is seemingly unhappy
Lack of sleep is starting to negatively impact your relationship with your partner because you are physically and emotional drained
Regardless of what your reason is to sleep train, or not, just know that there is no wrong answer. You do what is best for you, and your family.