We’re so excited to have Melissa Brown of Sleep Shop OC, also known as the baby whisperer, on our baby blog today! She’s sharing a few things you didn’t know about sleep training your baby – mamas, did you hear that?! This mama of 4 herself will help your baby (and you!) go from sleepless nights to deep slumbers. So, let’s get to it, shall we?! Melissa says…
As a Certified Sleep Consultant I am constantly answering questions on sleep. What to expect, what is normal and how do to get a baby to sleep through the night in the least painful possible way. While I try to help all these parents in need as best as I can, I think it is important to cover the most commonly asked questions. So here we go!
1. Your kid is not the exception. “My kid is too stubborn. We’ve tried this before and it didn’t work. There is no way my kid will sleep 11 hours straight.” The list goes on and on but babies can physically sleep through the night. Once they are able to eat enough calories throughout the day to sustain them at night and when they have learned to put themselves to sleep on their own. This is of course outside unique situations like babies who have medical issues that interfere with their ability to sleep long stretches. Usually they protest sleep because they have never learned how to independently put themselves to sleep. Now don’t get me wrong, all children are special in their own ways – especially to their parents, rarely are they the exception to the rule. They all can learn to sleep.
2. Sleep training doesn’t always involve hours of crying. People usually think crying it out and sleep training are one in the same and that is not the case. I never encourage families to let their baby cry unless they are sure ALL of their needs are met (not hungry, not in pain, not sick, etc). Very often, when you are one step ahead and ensure your little one is full, not overstimulated and pain free, there are very little tears. A baby may protest because they don’t want to go to bed, especially as they get older. But if you have set them up for success, you’ll rarely experience long periods of crying.
3. It doesn’t take as long as you think. Between travel, work and weekend plans, people often say they can’t find the time to sleep train. But it doesn’t have to be a long process. depending on the method of sleep “training” you use. Overall, I tell families if you are able to dedicate 4 to 7 days to the process, they usually learn pretty quickly (as long as they are over 5/6 months of age- sometimes even 4 months depending on the little one).
4. You can still breastfeed exclusively and sleep “train” your baby. As long as your baby is fed and eating enough, you can sleep train your baby regardless of how they’re getting their calories (bottle or breast!). Some women still need to pump throughout the night once their baby starts sleeping in order to keep their supply up. But you can still get your baby sleeping when you’re exclusively breastfeeding.
5. You can do it alone but you don’t have to. Every mom wonders if they are doing it right – even though the information on sleep training is out there via Google, friends, mom groups, family, etc. The hard part is knowing whose opinion to trust – and that’s where someone like me comes in. Hiring a sleep consultant gives you constant support to find the way that works best for you and walk you through sleep training day in and day out until you get your little one where you want them to be. A sleep consultant can also help introduce different techniques so they are most in line with your parenting philosophy and comfort level. I never encourage my clients to do anything they are uncomfortable with and we can always tweak things a little here and there while still getting their baby to sleep.
Let us know how these tips help you in the comments below! And be sure to check out more of our Motherhood tips.