5 Reasons Sleep Training Fails
I wasn’t prepared for all the drama when I became a mom.
It seemed like everyone had an opinion on every part of parenting. I was on the receiving end of heated opinions on everything from what to feed my child, what brands were best, or whether what I was doing was truly the best option - and sometimes I didn’t even know the person imposing their opinion!
As a sleep expert, I’m no stranger to opinions about pediatric sleep. Some will go so far to say that it doesn’t work. And you know what? There are times when it won’t.
Surprised to hear me say that? It’s true!
I wholeheartedly believe that when done well, sleep training can and will work for your little one. Sometimes it’s a matter of making adjustments more gradually, or choosing a method that is harmonious with your baby’s unique personality.
But, there can be times where sleep training is just not going to work. Which is why I’m sharing the 5 reasons sleep training methods consistently fail.
1. Overstimulating intervention. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Sleep training is about making changes to the parental role in sleep as much as it is for the baby. Wild, I know! Our kids take their cues from us, and sometimes we’re giving them the wrong impression. When we jump up at the first call out, check on them constantly, or don’t give them a chance to settle themselves, they won’t learn that they don’t need someone else to help them back to sleep. Not to mention all that extra stimulation from someone entering the room isn’t exactly soothing to go back to sleep.
The caveat here is if something is wrong or your little one is sick. If you ever feel like your little one truly needs you (think sickness or danger), and isn’t just protesting this new way of sleep, absolutely go to them.
2. Inconsistency. The quickest way to get through sleep training is by being consistent. Inconsistency is the quickest way to derail your hopes of long night stretches and dependable naps. Your little one is totally capable of learning a new way to sleep, but you have to be clear to them about the game plan. Stick to the sleep training method you chose, and respond in the same way, so your babe gets the hang of things quickly.
3. Timing. You know I’m a huge fan of awake windows, and that totally plays a role in your sleep training success. The driving force behind why awake windows work so well is because it prevents your baby from being undertired when you put them down, or becoming overtired. An undertired baby means there isn’t enough sleep pressure for them to feel tired enough to fall asleep. Makes sense, right? How is someone supposed to fall asleep if they’re not ready? What’s trickier though, is an overtired baby. You’ve probably experienced it, because it can happen quickly - especially with young babies! When they’ve gone too long since their last sleep, their adrenaline & cortisol levels spike, getting in the way of being able to settle, soothe, or become sleepy. It’s pretty ironic if you ask me, but if you’ve ever been through it, you know it’s real!
4. Drowsy during bedtime routine. You also want the ideal amount of tired when you’re putting them down for the night. After the 4 month sleep regression, drowsiness actually becomes that first stage of sleep for your little one. So if they’re properly drowsy when you’re doing their bedtime routine, they’re actually sneaking in a little cat nap right before bed. Yikes. That means a feeling of rest for them (so they’d rather stay up and party instead of sleep!), and wondering what went wrong for you. The other way this can go is your babe relying on that feed before bed (that helps get them drowsy!), so they call on you to go back to sleep with every night waking. Can you say, exhausted?
5. Feeling pressured. If both parents aren’t on board with sleep training, it’s going to go poorly. If it’s being done because of peer pressure or obligation, it’s going to go poorly. If you think it would be a good move for your family, but aren’t ready yet, it’s going to go poorly. Seeing a theme here? Sleep training takes commitment, and if everyone isn’t on the same page, it’s not going to work.
The reality is, sleep training goes a whole lot smoother with an expert to guide you through it. Someone who knows their stuff, and will pull you through your doubts, hurdles, or list of questions. I’ve been that guide for hundreds of families going through sleep struggles just like yours, and brought them to the other side. You know, the side where everyone gets their rest, feels great, and knows how to navigate the ups and downs of pediatric sleep? It’s pretty incredible.
Don't fall for one of the reasons sleeping training fails!
Chat with the Whole Night team to talk about your sleep struggles, goals, and how we can get you there! Your wellbeing is worth it.