I haven’t done the math to give you a precise percentage, but I can – with confidence – tell you that the vast majority of parents who contact me for help have already tried some form of baby sleep training on their own. They’ve gathered advice from friends and family, scoured the internet, poured over books – and yet nothing they’ve tried has worked. With miscellaneous tips and tricks – and no solid, straightforward plan – it’s not surprising that sleep training efforts fail. Today I’m talking about why sleep training doesn’t always work when you try to do it independently.
The first hurdle I often see is that many of my parents give up too soon when it comes to sleep training their little one. They may have excellent advice from a book or family member; they just don’t stick it out. I’m going to lay it out straight for you – it typically takes two to four weeks for a tiny human to adapt to change. Now, before you start thinking all hope is lost, let’s put things into perspective.
How long have you been dealing with sleepless nights? Be honest here. When exhausted parents reach out to me for help, they’ve been dealing with broken sleep or split nights for at least as long as it takes to form a habit. The good news is that many of the families I work with will see results within a week, and often within two weeks. Many babies just need some nudging – and a consistent routine and schedule – to learn healthy sleep habits.
Not going all-in
I get it – by the time parents consider baby sleep training, they’re exhausted and overwhelmed. And with so much ‘noise’ out there about sleep training a baby, it’s understandable when parents are tentative with their approach. You have got to be committed to sleep training, or the likelihood of failure is high.
Being fully committed to the process means setting a routine and sticking to it; it also means you go all-in. Many families want to dip their toes into sleep training by focusing on just their baby’s naps. I’ve got news for you – if your baby isn’t napping well – or napping at all – it’s because of their nighttime sleep. You have to work on all sleep, not just individual parts. However, the easy part is that once you figure out your routine, it will be the same (sans bath) for both naps and nighttime.
In the words of John Donne, “No man is an island.” When it comes to sleep training, it’s difficult to commit yourself to a routine if your partner isn’t on board. And it’s tough for me to work with families where the partners disagree about sleep training or aren’t both willing to commit to a routine. I’ll put it this way – if there isn’t ‘buy-in’ with both partners, sleep training has a high likelihood of failing.
The support area is also part of my role in this process. I believe in sleep training, and I’ve got almost ten years of experience working with babies and toddlers. While I’m a Philadelphia area sleep consultant, I work with many families across the globe when they don’t have a sleep consultant in their area. In fact, I’ve been conducting virtual appointments for years, so the pandemic didn’t derail my coaching when it forced people to go virtual.
If you’re struggling with sleep training, please give me a call. I’m happy to help your family – schedule your complimentary 15-minute phone consultation today!