I hear so many tired parents who are desperate for sleep tell me they've tried "everything" to get their baby or toddler to sleep. They rattle off the list of things they've tried. They say to me "I let him cry at bedtime to get to sleep... now what do I do when he wakes up at night?" or say "I let her cry for 15 minutes, then I went in to get her because it wasn't working." I hear parents say they have given up on sleep training after a few nights, because while it did seem to improve their child's sleep at first, it then got worse again, so they gave up or gave in. The reason it's not working for every one of those parents? There's one reason, and it's by far the biggest mistake I see in sleep training:
. . . Inconsistency. Trying too many techniques, or giving up after only a few wake-ups or a few nights, or responding differently to every wake-up - that will only make sleep training harder for your child and confuse your child.
If you're planning to do sleep training, don't just wing it. Come up with a plan. Study all of the sleep training methods and choose one you're confident with and can be committed to, and then stick with it. For every bedtime, every night waking, every early morning wakeup, and every nap.
If you start the night with a sleep training method, and then give in, all the progress and learning your child did was wasted, and it will likely lead to even worse sleep. This sounds harsh, but if you're not going to be consistent, don't start sleep training, because it will only confuse your child.
Before you start sleep training, here are five things to do:
If you're still not sure what to do, or want a baby/toddler sleep expert to walk you through the process with an easy step-by-step plan, reach out to me! I would love to help you walk through this process, and I offer free 15 minute phone consultations. I write personalized sleep plans for clients, based on your baby's needs and challenges, your sleep goals, and your personalities, and tell you exactly what to do.