Sleep training, or how I like to call sleep coaching, isn’t exactly a new idea; so much has been written on the subject over the years. But here’s an idea that is relatively new (an idea that I think I’ve pioneered, actually!): customized sleep coaching is the best kind of sleep coaching.
Let me explain what I mean. Typically, if you pick up a baby sleep book at the bookstore or online, you’re going to find ONE approach. The author will lay out his or her methodology, give you a set of steps to follow…and that’s it. The end. Now, these books can work well (that’s why some have become bestsellers).
BUT. In all my years of working as a sleep consultant with tens of thousands of families around the world, I’ve learned something: while these kinds of one-size-fits-all books will work for some, they won’t work for most. Why? Because babies aren’t exactly known for all being alike! We’re each as unique as snowflakes, no two humans are alike, etc., etc. So why do so many sleep experts approach sleep coaching as if all babies were popped from the same mold and needed exactly the same sort to sleep coaching help?
I can’t tell you why so many approach sleep coaching this way. I can only tell you why I don’t.
Why Customized Sleep Coaching Is The Best Sleep Coaching
In my years of sleep consulting, I’ve identified three key factors that, in my experience, simply demand a customized approach to sleep coaching:
Simply put, your baby has a unique personality and way of looking at and interacting with the world and with those around him. Unique factors like how your baby reacts to new things, how predictable your baby’s eating and sleeping patterns are, and how intense and persistent your baby is are all factors that influence your baby’s sleep needs – and therefore will influence your approach to sleep coaching. The truth is, certain temperaments require certain sleep coaching methods; what works for an adaptable, relaxed baby will not necessarily work for an intense, energetic baby.
You can read more about baby temperament and sleep coaching (and take a quiz to help you learn your baby’s temperament) here.
Your baby is unique, and so are you! Just as your baby has a unique temperament that dictates how she deals with daily life, so do you have a unique parenting style that influences how you approach your child’s care. And guess what? Your parenting style will absolutely influence how you sleep coach. Attachment parents, for example, almost universally opt for extremely gentle, low-cry or no-cry sleep coaching, while more authoritarian parents generally use cry-it-out approaches and then there is everything in between.
You can learn more about parenting styles and how they affect sleep coaching here.
Family Expectations and Needs
Finally, your family as a whole has unique needs and expectations when it comes to sleep coaching. I’ve learned over the years that expectations are everything. Additionally, it’s important to remember that your family has needs. Some families can handle weeks and weeks of sleep coaching, so they do just fine with gentler methods. However, other families have very limited time in which to sleep coach (i.e. a surgeon or pilot literally has lives in her hands) and really can’t accommodate potentially days of sleep loss, so they do better with other methods.
How You Can Get Customized Sleep Coaching Help
I recognize that customized sleep coaching is one of those things that’s easier said than done. Most families need help finding a custom sleep solution. And that is one reason why I created The Baby Sleep Site® in the first place! Two of our best customized sleep solutions are…..
…..our latest book, Baby S.T.E.P.S. to Better Sleep. In a sea of baby sleep books, Baby S.T.E.P.S. to Better Sleep stands apart as the first resource to put parents in the driver’s seat. This resource empowers parents with the tools and knowledge they need to gently coach their children to better nights and rested naps, in a way that fits their goals and parenting styles.
……our Members Area, the only membership web site created specifically for parents to help their children sleep better. It doesn’t matter if you’re exploring sleep schedules for the first time, or if you’re simply looking for resources to support an existing sleep plan. The Baby Sleep Site® Members Area provides the guidance you need to reach your day and nighttime sleep goals – no matter how long it takes to get there and there are sleep consultants standing by via weekly expert chat.
To celebrate our new book, Baby S.T.E.P.S to Better Sleep, we’re going to give away an autographed copy of the book to one lucky reader plus 5 winners will receive an Apple iBook copy! All you have to do is enter using the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win!
Good luck, and here’s to finding your way back to a better night of sleep!
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