Sleep training is foreign to a lot of people. Here you will find some of the most frequently asked questions that I receive. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m always here to help.
1. WHY SHOULD I SLEEP TRAIN MY CHILD? IS IT SAFE?
Newborns don’t have an established circadian rhythm (knowing day from night) so as parents, we rock, bounce, swaddle and shush and do what we can to mimic the womb during the 4th trimester. By about 4 months, once they can tell day from night, they are ready and need to be taught the skill of falling asleep independently. It doesn’t come naturally. Good, healthy sleep is life changing, and just like water and food, it is one of life’s necessities. It is important to teach our children safe, independent sleep skills because it is critical for their development and your mental health! Without adequate sleep, our brains don’t function properly. As adults, lack of sleep can cause depression, memory issues, and irritability. In children, fragmented or lack of sleep can impact development. It can cause behavioral problems, impact health and wellness, and even physical growth and coordination. Have you heard “your child is too young at 4 months” or “it’s not safe to sleep train.” Good news, neither are true. Sleep training is safe and can be done using a variety of gentle methods, all have various degrees of crying and involvement, but none that harm the child or cause long term physical, mental or emotional consequences. We will choose a method that not only works best for your child’s age, development, and your family dynamics but also one that you feel comfortable and confident that you can stay committed to. We can get you and your little one sleeping with healthy sleep habits, without a prop or crutch in about 2 weeks! Book a free 15-minute consultation.
2. WHY SHOULD I INVEST IN A SLEEP CONSULTANT?
The internet is full of opinions (and facts!) on sleep training. There are an overwhelming amount of resources on the internet. While you can read about sleep methods and try to execute on your own, the truth is that none of what you read will be customized to your specific child nor will you get the one-on-one support, accountability or sounding board. Your situation is unique; your family dynamic, sleep environment, day care situation, etc. it is all one-of-a kind. Let’s face it, do you have the time or energy to research and create a plan just for you? As a Certified Infant & Toddler Sleep Consultant, I will save you precious time, cut through the clutter of information and help you identify the best tactic to fit you and your child’s situation. Working with a sleep consultant means you have a dedicated person to help you stay committed, encourage you to stay confident, and personal coach. You will also save time not only not having to spend time reading to the depths of the internet to figure out what is true or not, but you can dive right in and within about two weeks, start sleeping better! A good sleep consultant is an expert at not only providing sleep solutions but also coaching parents and caregivers on expectations, crying sounds, and sleep method execution. All of which you will come to find and expect when you work Sleep Tight Tonight.
3. WHAT AGE CAN I START SLEEP TRAINING MY CHILD?
While formal sleep training is not possible in the first 12 weeks (4th trimester) as newborns have not yet established their circadian rhythm, it is never too early to start establishing proper sleep hygiene, implement good sleep habits, and create foundations for healthy independent sleep for your child - known as Sleep Shaping. Parents can begin sleep training around 4 months, which is actually an ideal time to start! It’s always a good idea to get your pediatrician’s approval before beginning sleep training.
4. DOES SLEEP TRAINING MEAN “CRY IT OUT”? IS THAT THE METHOD YOU USE?
Many people hear “sleep training” and assume “cry it out.” The Extinction method, known commonly as “Cry it out” is most often associated with sleep training because it is the most famous. While Extinction is indeed one method of sleep training, it is just one of several methods. Although it is effective, it is not a method I generally recommend unless specifically requested by a client. I will never ask you to ignore your child or leave them to ‘cry it out’. I am trained in the practice of several other Parent Present methods and based on your Sleep Assessment Questionnaire and parenting style, I will recommend a couple methods I think will help you be successful. We will then narrow it down and select the right method that makes you most comfortable and most willing to commit to.
5. DO YOU COME TO MY HOME? CAN THIS REALLY BE DONE REMOTELY?
While based in Atlanta, Georgia, I do not do house calls. I am exclusively remote (except for live workshops or group classes.) Working remote gives us tons of advantages! It’s like I’m your own personal coach, cheerleader and mentor, right in your pocket. If we were in person, I would only be with you for limited hours, only at naptime or only at bedtime. However, as a virtual sleep coach, I am able to coach you daily through unlimited text and email throughout the day, every day. I am able to be there with at all of our morning and evening check-ins, before or after each nap and at bedtime. How’s that for service!? Plus, you don’t have to be local. I can help you no matter where you are.
6. CAN YOU REALLY CORRECT MY CHILD'S SLEEP ISSUES IN TWO WEEKS? WILL THAT BE ENOUGH?
You can expect to see results within two weeks but like getting your hair highlighted, it will take maintenance and commitment. Sleep training is about improvement and progress, not being perfect. Sleep training is successful when parents stick to “The 5 C’s”! Being Comfortable, Calm, Confident, Consistent, and Committed. Results are almost always correlated to their commitment. It takes continuing diligence, commitment, and patience to stick with the routines and habits established to continue the progress and maintain it. Sleep training requires calmly and effectively handling tantrums to avoid a “power battle.” You are in charge and responsible for teaching appropriate behavior and staying committed to the plan. I set expectations for during our session as well as how to handle future milestones. At Sleep Tight Tonight, my hope is that during our session I have educated and coached parents and caregivers with all the support needed (and then some!) so that when our time together is over, you feel empowered, educated, and confident in your ability to continue to execute our plan on your own and can manage your child’s sleep long-term. I hope that I have instructed you how to facilitate the necessary changes so you can teach your child how to fall asleep independently. I believe having a solid plan is the critical to ensure your commitment.
7. DOES EVERY CHILD NEED SLEEP TRAINING?
Every child? No. While it is true, some kids are just born with easy temperaments and easy sleepers. Sometimes it’s just a simple tweak to a bedtime routine or daily nap schedule change that can make a huge difference. Sometimes it’s more than that. The earlier parents set the foundation and teach their child how to fall asleep without props, sleep associations and without assistance, the better sleeper the child will be. Some gentle sleep habits to start at an early age is not rocking your child to sleep (after 4 months), or putting your baby down relaxed, drowsy and awake for naps and nighttime sleep. Sleep Tight Tonight can help you assess your child’s sleep situation and determine what course of action would be most beneficial for your child.
8. CAN I STILL BREASTFEED WHILE I SLEEPTRAIN?
Yes! Yes! Yes! Absolutely. Sometimes breastfeeding mothers and babies do require additional adjustments to the sleep plans to be successful, but what you feed your baby does not impact your child learning the skill of independent sleep.
9. WHAT IF THE ONLY WAY MY BABY WILL FALL ASLEEP IS BY... (INSERT ANY SLEEP ASSOCIATION HERE)?
There are so many reasons our children struggle to fall asleep. Believe it or not, trust me when I tell you that your kiddo does not need any of those associations to fall asleep! When they are used to the association, they will continue to seek out that source whenever they wake up. The reason your baby cries is because s/he is communicating with you that they do not know how to fall asleep without them. We will break that dependency! Babies are capable of falling asleep without assistance. Independent sleep is a skill taught and your kiddo is ready to learn! Let’s get started and teach them so you can Sleep Tight Tonight!
10. OKAY, I’M IN! HOW DO I START WORKING WITH YOU?
Two ways to get started:
1) Schedule a 15-minute FREE Sleep Assessment Call to discuss your specific situation and goals and see how I can help you reach those goals. We'll get to know each other and figure out your best course of action. Get started today!
2) OR you can select a program now and get started! We'll set up a call and you'll recieve an in-depth sleep assessment questionnaire so I can get to know YOUR specific situation. Let's get started today!