Make sure you have read Part 1 of this post to make sure your child is ready for sleep training.
So many of you reading this are probably thinking “Of course I am!!!” but I did want to go over a couple things that I think are important to think about before sleep training.
It will probably get worse before it gets better
I know, you want sleep now and this is not something you necessarily want to hear. But here it is – if you start sleep training, you may get less sleep in the beginning that you are getting now! If you currently nurse, bottle feed, or rock your child back to sleep in the middle of the night, you will stop doing that. It was a pain to get up, but it may have been relatively quick to get your child back to sleep. If we stop using those crutches, we have to be there to help your child figure out how to fall back asleep and this may take you and your child being awake for longer intervals in the middle of the night.
Are you ready to give up that special time in the middle of the night?
Sometimes those quiet times in the middle of the night while rocking your child can be special. I know they are not all special, but there are some times when you may look down at your child peacefully eating while everyone else is asleep and actually enjoy it! Of course you can add in special bonding time during the day to replace these times.
Are you ready to be consistent?
In 2006 the New York Times did an article comparing different sleep methods. Their conclusion was: “After years of colicky debate over which method is best for getting babies to fall asleep by themselves, experts have a soothing new message: just about all the techniques work, so pick one you are comfortable with and stick with it.” http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/12/health/12sleep.html?_r=0. Chances are that your child will cry and you need to be prepared to stay consistent even if they are crying. If you start a program and then stop in the middle, you will end up confusing your child and making harder on them (and you) next time you try.
Have you chosen a method you feel comfortable with?
Going along with being consistent is choosing a sleep training method you feel comfortable with. If you are not comfortable with the particular method, you will be less likely to follow through with it. There are many different methods out there. If you need help choosing one, a sleep coach may be perfect for you!
So, are you ready? Is your child ready? Good luck if you decide to begin!
by Michelle Winters
SleepWell Sleep Solutions