Recently I went live on social media to talk about the concept of learning how to sleep and, in fact, learning everything from walking, talking, eating, toileting and more… (check out the recording here)
I worry that we may have gone baby-led crazy!
We talk about baby-led weaning with ease understanding that the baby is leading the way with holding the food and feeding himself.
However, this does not eliminate the teaching aspect – A parent or caregiver will still prepare the food, set up a meal time atmosphere and demonstrate what baby is to do with the food.
We don’t stand back and leave our little ones in nappies until they, in their own time, just ‘get it’ and start using the toilet whenever they are ready.
No, we teach them how and we call it potty training.
It is frustrating when the term sleep training is viewed negatively and as if it is something that forces a little one to do something before he is ready – It’s actually no different to the above!
When you sleep train a baby or young child, you help them to achieve sleep skills to the best of their developmental ability. Just the asme as learning to eat, walk or use the toilet!
There is a misconception with sleep that they will ‘do it when they’re ready in their own time’ – Sure, if you’re happy to wait until your child is between 7-9 year’s old, then fine.
Just imagine the potential health and development damage that may be done by then and imagine the mental well-being and even safety compromises in some circumstances!
It’s easy for those who breezed it in getting their little ones to sleep to criticise sleep training. It’s easy for those who haven’t suffered the severe effects on health, life and family because they have no idea how destructive the suffering can be.
For many, sleep training saved their marriage. Sleep training brought them back from depression.
Sleep training avoided a misdiagnosis and medication for their child. For many, sleep training saved their family!
I strongly believe that it is vital we talk about sleep training positively and make it ‘normal’ for people to reach out for help when they are struggling – or even before they are struggling!
If the nae-sayers keep banging their drums with a message that we should be allowing our babies to get there in their own time, this puts immense pressure on those suffering, to suck it up and keep going without help. It suggests mother’s have failed if they are not coping.
Is sleep training for everyone? No.
What works for one will not work for another which is why it is important to take the bespoke help for getting your unique child and unique family dynamic all sleeping soundly.
If you co-sleep and you love it and it works safely for you and your family, enjoy! No need to feel guilty or judged if it’s right for you.
If you’re suffering, your family is suffering and you know life would be better all round if you were all sleeping better, again, no need to feel ashamed. Smart people do something about it!
If you got lucky and happened to set into a routine with your easy going baby that has meant you’ve never faced any sleep challenges, well, you’re probably not reading this but please know that it doesn’t go that way every time or for everyone and be kind to those who are having a rougher ride.
If you’d like to watch the recording of the live video on this topic you can watch it here: