When you embark upon a gentle sleep training program, there’s a good chance you’ve reached the end of your very long tether. Sleep issues tend to creep up on us and before we know it, we’re sleep deprived and desperate for some rest. If this is you, please know that you’re not alone! Taking the decision to gently sleep train your baby is never easy, and always something that comes from weeks and even months of broken sleep- plus the knowledge that you need to do something to help your family sleep better. Rest assured that gentle sleep training is one of the best ways to instil good sleep habits for life; here are my three golden rules for gentle sleep training success.
When you start, you will find that the first few nights are hard. Really hard. You’re going to spend a long time with your child. gently soothing and lulling them to sleep, and it’s going to take time. You may even feel that you’re getting less sleep than before! You need to know that the hard nights will soon be behind you and that things will gradually improve night after night if you stick with it. Consistency really is key.
Imagine taking the decision to grow your hair long. Each month you get it trimmed to promote better growth, and each month you measure your hair and it slowly but surely grows in length and in strength. Then imagine that your old habits slip back in. You lose your consistency and skip one or two hair appointments. Your hair loses some of it’s shine and starts to look dull. What do you do? Go with it, keep your bad habits alive and hope that something improves at some point? Or do you head to the hairdressers for a cut, in the hope you can save it? The problem here is that your hair has grown used to doing it’s own thing and so the cut comes as a big shock. Now you’re starting at the beginning again!
Its similar with your child’s sleep. You spend night after night teaching your child good sleep habits, but then you skip a night or two and suddenly all that hard work is out of the window. The only thing you can do here for guaranteed success is to stick wth your program- be consistent, don’t give up and you will see results.
Trust your instincts
I always tell my families that only they know their child inside and out, and that is something I stand by. Just as I don’t recommend parents leave their child to cry it out, I always insist that mums and dads tap into their parental instincts when it comes to gentle sleep training. Honestly, if there is something you are not comfortable with or that you know your child will not respond well to, then don’t do it. Don’t do anything that makes you anxious or upset. If your child is becoming anxious or upset, take another look at what you’re doing and adapt it to suit your child. Gentle sleep training should be part of the loving relationship you have with your child and should strengthen the bond, not weaken it. Go with your instincts and allow your child to lead the way.
Take a break
Gentle sleep training is not an easy option. That would be to do nothing at all, and simply hope that things improve. Gentle sleep training takes commitment, consistency and a strong desire to make positive changes that last for life. And because it’s centred around sleep, the one thing that every human being needs in order to fiction emotionally and physically, it is even more important you take care of yourself throughout.
Take a break when you need it. Enlist the help of a friend, partner or family member to take over when you just need to rest. We all need help from others, so now is the time start accepting it.