I’m often surprised by how many sleep training myths float around the Internet and on social media.
But trust me: sleep training is a safe, effective way to teach your infant (16+ weeks of age adjusted) or toddler how to sleep through the night and take consistent naps without your help.
Imagine not having to feed, rock, or walk your child to sleep! Imagine not having to stay in your toddler’s room until they finally fall asleep!
So don’t let those myths stop you from finally getting the rest you need.
Keep reading to learn what sleep training is and the 5 myths associated with it (and why they’re wrong)!
What is Sleep Training?
Sleep training is the process of teaching your child how to sleep without the use of sleep crutches.
Examples of sleep crutches include:
- Swings, SNOOS, Rock ‘n’ Play, etc.
- Being fed, held, or rocked to sleep
- Being walked or bounced to sleep
- Co-sleeping or needing mom or dad in the room to fall asleep
Now that we understand what sleep training is, let’s dispel a few myths associated with it.
Related – Sleep Training: Everything a Tired Parent Needs to Know
Myth #1: Sleep Training Is Synonymous with “Cry it Out”
This is probably the number 1 question I’m asked: “Will you make my baby cry until they fall asleep?”
Many parents assume sleep training equals “cry it out.” But that’s simply not true.
There are several, more gradual methods that often work just as well (if not better!) than “cry it out,” also known as the extinction method.
As a sleep consultant, my goal is to work with you to create a unique sleep plan that fits your family’s needs, and I will never ask you to do something that makes you uncomfortable.
Myth #2: A Soothing Sleep Environment Will Make it Harder for My Child to Sleep Away From Home
This is another myth that I’m happy to clear up!
No, creating a soothing sleep environment at home doesn’t mean your child can’t sleep on the go.
While I do recommend you use black out curtains and sound machines during the sleep training process, the beauty of sleep training is that once they are on a solid sleep routine, your baby or toddler should be able to sleep just about anywhere!
Now, this doesn’t mean they will fall asleep in a train station (although some can and do!) But they won’t need all the comforts of home when sleeping at grandma’s house, either.
Myth # 3: Sleep Training Means I have to Give Up Night Feeds and Cuddles
No, mama. I would never suggest you give up that bonding time, which is just as important for your baby as it is for you!
However, many moms hire me because they’re feeding their little ones every 45-60 minutes! And this, of course, isn’t sustainable.
So when you work with me, we’ll create a sleep plan that includes age-appropriate night feeds (and snuggles!) as well as restorative sleep for the whole family.
Myth #4: My Family Will Never Be Able to Go “Off Routine” Once My Child is Sleep Trained
Sleep is like riding a bike. Once your child gets the hang of it, it’s hard to forget how to do it!
You might need to make a few adjustments (such as an early bedtime or an extra nap the next day) but most babies fall right back into their old ways once the party is over.
Myth #4: I’m Selfish for Sleep Training
Mama, this myth is something I’m SO eager to ditch.
Wanting restorative sleep for your baby and yourself isn’t selfish–it’s HEALTHY.
- Get sick less often
- Are more likely to maintain a healthy weight
- Have lower risks for serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease
- Experience less stress
- Think more clearly
- Get along better with others
- Make better decisions and avoid injuries
Getting enough sleep means you’ll be a better mama, mama.
To Sum it Up
Sleep training is a safe, effective way to teach your child how to sleep independently, but there are a few myths associated with it.
To clear things up:
- Sleep training does not equal cry it out. There are several, more gradual methods that work just as well, if not better than, the extinction method.
- Creating a soothing sleep environment doesn’t mean your child won’t be able to sleep away from home.
- No! Sleep training does not mean you have to give up snuggles and night feeds. If you work with me, I’ll create a plan that allows for age-appropriate feedings (and snuggle time)!
- Having a solid sleep routine doesn’t mean you can’t skip the occasional nap or have a later bedtime.
- Sleep training isn’t selfish! Wanting adequate rest for yourself and your baby means you value your health and want to be the best mom you possible to your child.