5 reasons your sleep training efforts failed
As parents we all know that sleep is beneficial, if not vital, for the wellbeing of our children. And when it’s not going well, it’s tempting to start sleep training your baby yourself. Because, well, how hard can it be!? The kiwi DIY mentally means that us Mums can do anything right!? Well, yes… BUT
When it comes to baby sleep, I often hear “I’ve tried everything, but my child still won’t sleep through the night!” so today I want to share 5 common reasons your sleep training efforts failed.
#1 You’re sending mixed messages
This goes hand in hand with the “I’ve tried everything” comment above. When you don’t have a plan in place, and you’re effectively trying everything, your baby is likely to get confused. Because you can’t “tell” your baby what to do, you need to show them. This is where consistency is key. You want to show them ONE new way to sleep – not multiple ways. But if you’re sometimes telling them to do it alone in the cot, and other times soothing them to sleep in your arms or your bed, they won’t understand what you want them to do. And a confused baby will cry!
#2 You’ve replaced one sleep prop with another prop
I’ve talked about sleep pops before. But sleep props are why many babies don’t sleep well. They’ve come to rely on external help. What I commonly see with families who have tried sleep training before working with me, is that they have substituted one sleep prop for another. For example, they may have replaced feeding to sleep with rocking to sleep. Which is definitely a step in the right direction, don’t get me wrong. But in these instances, your child is still relying on external help from you to sleep, so you can still be stuck having to go to them and help them at night.
#3 You don’t have a clear path forward
This leads on from #2. You’ve made inroads into better sleep, but now you’re stuck at a certain point. For example, how do you stop cuddling to sleep without leaving your child to cry it out? I’m not a proponent of cry it out (and if it’s not for you, then you end up back at #1). There’s no one size fits all approach here, but it is a whole lot easier with a clear strategy and a “what next” step. Make sure you know what to do next!
#4 Your child’s schedule is off
Knowing about wake windows and wake-time tolerance, along with how much sleep your child needs (and when) is key for things to go smoothly. If your child is on a schedule they’re not developmentally ready for, or one they have outgrown, they can struggle to sleep well. In the first year of life especially, things change frequently. Having a reputable guide you can trust and refer to is key.
#5 The environment isn’t conducive to sleeping well
These days there are plenty of “sleep aids” out there that claim they’ll help your baby sleep better. No doubt you have heard of some products that make bold claims. You may even have purchased something yourself. Knowing what to buy and why is key (vs trying it with no idea why or how it is supposed to work). Yes, there are products that are beneficial for sleep (some I even sell or recommend) BUT there are others that aren’t so good. Some can actually be detrimental to sleep (and whether they work or not can also depend on your child’s personality and temperament).
So, what’s the solution?
After all this, is there a solution? Yes. Grab answers from someone that you trust. I’ve been focusing on sleep as a parent for 15 years and I have made great sleep my business for the last seven of these. When you’re ready, you can contact me for a step-by-step sleep plan that is developmentally appropriate and customised for your child and family. Plus, by working with me you get to learn all the neat ins and outs of sleep that plenty of medical professionals don’t even know. But please note, I don’t work with everyone. To be eligible for a sleep package you need to be ready to make changes and want to learn more about sleep! Let’s chat first so you can see if it’s right for you. Book a FREE call here.