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What is Sleep Training and How Can it Help Your Baby? - sweetlittledreams.com

What is Sleep Training and How Can it Help Your Baby?

I am sure when you hear the term ‘sleep training’, lots of different topics come to mind.  Many often think it’s putting the baby to sleep, shutting the door and coming back after a certain time. The term sleep training has developed a lot of mixed feelings.

My story

I want to tell you my journey about sleep training. I got married and my husband and I knew we wanted to have kids. Shortly after that, we found out I was expecting, little did I know I was expecting TWINS! This was a huge shock to us. The thought of having twins never even crossed my mind. I remember being told: “Sleep while you can”, “It’s hard with one”, “Hope they let you sleep!”.

I’ll be honest the thought of having twins was terrifying but exciting at the same time. My own mom told me, “My only dream was to lay down at night and wake up in the morning”. My mom has struggled with my sleep since I was 3 years old. So, I knew if there’s one thing I can do, it’s to learn all about baby sleep.

I took newborn classes to learn all about sleep and naps. I took classes to learn about sleep for babies 5 months and up. And what I can tell you in all honesty, I never once regretted those purchases (at least for me). Sleep training is not for everyone. You are a mother who is allowed to make choices for your baby and that may include not doing any form of sleep training and that is your personal choice.

Once I started to learn all about baby sleep, the benefits of sleep, sleep research and evidence-based practices, I knew I had to help others.

My twins as newborns were amazing sleepers (mostly because we used a sleep prop which was the Snoo, and I had no idea that it was even a sleep prop. After transitioning out of the Snoo, we noticed they didn’t sleep as great. One of my twins eventually ended up sleeping in my bed, he wouldn’t nap anywhere but our bed, sometimes he wouldn’t nap at all. I saw this was having an impact on him. He was more irritable, fussier, wouldn’t eat as great and so on. I knew, enough is enough, I need to do something about this.

He would sleep through the night that wasn’t the issue. The issue was his naps and the fact that he would not sleep anywhere by my bed. I knew this wasn’t safe either. We decided to sleep train him. In a few short days, he was taking the 2 naps required for his age, sleeping 7PM -7AM and most importantly it was all in his crib.

Seeing what a difference that can make for both him and our family, I knew I wanted to do more. I wanted to become certified to help families just like yours. Having a baby doesn’t mean you never sleep again.

What are some of the benefits of sleep?

Growth

Did you ever notice your baby may feel slightly heavier after you pick them up the next morning? Chances are that it’s because they grew!

If you haven’t noticed it yet, babies grow extremely fast in the first 6 months of their life. They usually double their weight by around 5 months and triple their weight by 12 months. That is a lot of growth in such a short time frame, and good quality of sleep plays such an important role here.

Babies grow when they are sleeping! Not getting enough sleep during the day and night can hinder physical development. It is important for your baby!

Weight

Studies have shown that short sleep duration can lead to childhood obesity. Research by Tikotzy et al found significant correlations between sleep and growth in babies in the first 6 months which looked at 915 children and found that “daily sleep duration of less than 12 hours during infancy appears to be a risk factor for overweight and adiposity in schooled children”

Sleep is just as important not just for growth but for weight as well!

Development 

Sleep plays a crucial role in a child’s development. According to Sleep Foundation research shows that “sleep impacts alertness and attention, cognitive performance, mood, resiliency, vocabulary acquisition and learning and memory. In toddlers, napping appears to be necessary for memory consolidation, executive attention and motor skills development.”

A child who is short on sleep can create moody and hyperactive behaviours with effects that can mimic ADHD. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a quarter of children under the age of 5 do not get adequate sleep. Poor sleep in early childhood has been linked to allergic rhinitis, problems with the immune system, as well as anxiety and depression.

Happy Baby Happy Family

Did you know sleep deprivation is a form of torture? When you are not getting the adequate sleep you need, your body does not function as it needs too. Same goes for your baby, they can become very irritable, fussy, have issues eating, and become extremely overtired causing meltdowns.  

Having a baby who sleeps the appropriate amount of time for their age creates a content baby which as a result creates a content family. You are under less stress, you have more time to be present with your baby! It’s safe to say when your baby sleeps, the entire family is happier!

When can I introduce sleep training?

Formal sleep training can start when the baby is 4 months old or 12 lbs, whichever comes first. You can always get clearance from your pediatrician to know you can comfortably begin.

What are the sleep training methods you teach?

When working with me, my packages include a personalized sleep plan that is tailored to your family needs and your baby. I always offer two sleep techniques to choose from that I think would work best for your family. One is always gentler than the other. I do not teach the cry it out (CIO) method which is putting your baby down and letting them cry until they fall asleep.

And if you are thinking, well will crying still be involved? I want you to know crying is how our babies communicate with us. At some point in your baby’s life, they have definitely cried. I cannot guarantee that your baby won’t cry but I can guarantee that you will be able to respond to their cries.

Sleep training is not for everyone but if you need the help, I am here. I would love to work with your family to help you get the sleep you deserve. You do not have to do it alone!

If your baby is less than 4-month-old be sure to check out my newborn guide to help you learn all about newborn sleep and how to start establishing healthy sleep foundations! This is not a sleep training guide.

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