Please watch my video below on when to start child sleep training.
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To ask a question about your child’s sleep, just leave it in the ‘Comments’ section below! I’ll choose one and create a new video answer each week!View the Video Transcript
Hi! I’m Dana Obleman, creator of The Sleep Sense Program. If you’d rather read than watch, I’ve transcribed the text of this video below.
This week’s question comes from Jenny:
“My husband thinks it’s time to teach our six-month-old daughter to learn to go to sleep on her own, but I’m not comfortable with that. How can we reach a compromise?”
This is a great question, Jenny, and it’s one that I hear often. I even had fathers calling and expressing some concern that they’re ready for their bed back or they’re ready to see their wife get a better night’s sleep, and I want to spend a minute touching on that, because it really is a family decision. You can’t ignore somebody’s concerns or somebody’s need to have a good night’s sleep again or somebody’s need to have their bed back. I think a lot of times fathers get blamed for being less sensitive or cold about the whole situation, but I constantly remind people to evaluate the situation.
If somebody’s not happy, then something’s not working right. Maybe you’re not totally ready to let go of co-sleeping or nursing in the night, and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, but you really do need to pay attention to everyone’s concerns and work together. I tell parents all the time this goes much better, faster, smoother if both parents are on board, if both parents are committed to the plan, and if dads help out as much as they can.
I get lots of e-mails from people asking, “How come it’s so easy when my husband puts her to bed but so much harder when I do?” That’s the opposite of the normal reaction, as dads often feel completely helpless and hopeless when it comes to bedtime and have totally given up. So I do encourage parents to work together on this, and I think you can reach a compromise. I think, from your comments, you’re not comfortable with the idea of letting her cry it out, so to speak. But the Sleep Sense program offers an alternative, and you can be present. You can stay with your baby the entire time.
You can be supportive but not interfering. It doesn’t mean that she won’t cry; it just means that at least you can feel like you are being supportive and that you’re not just leaving her alone. And this is something the dad can be in the room for, so take turns so the two of you can work together as a team. And so you know, in the process of it all, what the key issues are, and it’s not, “Oh, she’ll sleep better because we let her cry.” The crying really has nothing do with it. It’s a development of skills, and so if she’s always nursed to sleep, for example, then she’s probably going to wake up several times in the night expecting to be nursed to sleep again. It’s just her strategy for getting herself to sleep. It’s just the way she does it.
And so, when you’re making sleep changes, one of the central focuses is that you’ve got to break that association between feeding and sleeping or rocking and sleeping and start teaching the baby some new ways and skills to get to sleep on their own. The first step is to make sure that in your bedtime routine, the child does not falling asleep at any point, even if it’s on a feed. You want to make sure that she’s staying awake through the feed and that she goes into her crib awake. And that’s where their development comes. She’ll basically have to figure out some ways to get to sleep that are not her old familiar ways.
When she’s mastered those skills, she’s going to be a really great sleeper. So I do encourage you to listen to your husband and find a way that you can both work on this together.
Thanks a lot for your question, Jenny. Sleep well.
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