As a sleep consultant, I’ve talked so much about sleep coaching over the years and shared my top tips and advice with other parents. But in my work with families, I’ve learned that sometimes, the most meaningful tips and suggestions come from other parents who are “in the trenches” of sleep deprivation and sleep coaching, or who have been there very recently.
So, in that light, today I will share some wisdom from the parents of The Baby Sleep Site® community, in the hopes that it will both encourage and instruct those of you who are “working on sleep” in your house right now.
5 Things Other Moms Want You To Know About Sleep
Some babies really are different. If your baby seems harder than all of your friends’ babies, you might have a high needs baby on your hands. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can start working on your own unique strategies and gathering your support system. -Manjari
I love this comment and could not agree more. If you’ve read The Baby Sleep Site® blog at all, then you know that my team and I are 100% committed to the philosophy that every baby is different, and that one-size-fits-all sleep advice does not work. It is so crucial to avoid playing the comparison game when it comes to sleep; just because your friend’s baby was sleeping through the night at 4 months does not at all mean your baby will be doing the same!
As Manjari mentions, if your baby isn’t sleeping well like your friends’ babies, then you may simply have a high needs baby on your hands. High needs babies really are “tougher” in various ways, so it’s normal for a them to struggle with sleep. But that doesn’t mean anything is “wrong” with your child; it just means you need a personalized approach to helping your baby sleep.
The first 3 months can be hard. Just let the baby eat and sleep when they want, and try to enjoy each moment, as it really does go fast! Then, when your baby is 4 months, sleep train early in a way that works for you. -Emily
Emily brings up an awesome point here. No matter how you feel about sleep coaching, the fact is that we try to wait until your baby is at least 4 months old. Yes, there are gentle ways you can help your newborn sleep better, but we need to keep realistic expectations when your baby is younger than 4 months. Ideally, your baby has gone through the 4 month sleep regression, first. The 4 month sleep regression marks a permanent change in your baby’s sleeping patterns; once those changes are established, any work you do with sleep coaching is far more likely to “stick”, and to make a meaningful and long-term difference.
Now, whether or not you decide to try sleep coaching right at the 4 month mark is of course up to you entirely! Some families are feeling really desperate and exhausted by that point and are more than ready to sleep coach; other families prefer to wait months before starting that journey. When you start is up to you; just be sure you don’t start officially before 4 months.
Consistency is key…..don’t get discouraged during those sleep regressions! -Chloe
Why do I love this quote so much? Because my team and I tell parents this all the time, and it is so encouraging to see a mom taking it to heart! I would say that when it comes to sleep coaching, one of the toughest parts is to stay consistent through setbacks. Many parents get really encouraged by progress, only to become totally discouraged by setbacks; it’s at that point that many get fed up and revert to old behaviors and patterns. But if you want to see long-term sleep success, it’s key to remain consistent.
Do your research and be well-informed. The experts know a lot, but you know your baby best! Don’t get bullied into making any rushed or hasty decisions. If something doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t! Trust yourself. -Victoria
I want to end with this one because I think it may be a bit different than the advice you’ve heard from other sleep experts. I know many sleep experts offer “my way or the highway” kinds of guidance; they typically don’t encourage parents to do research and to trust their gut instincts. (In fact, I have read books that actively encouraged parents to set aside their instincts and blindly follow a particular sleep training approach!) But I wholeheartedly encourage parents to do lots of reading and researching on their own, AND to listen to their instincts. YOU know your baby best, and while my team and I can create a Personalized Sleep Plan for you that is based on our years of collective experience and expertise, your instincts are an invaluable part of the sleep coaching experience. We like to say that you, the parent, are a key member of our sleep coaching team — we need your expertise about your baby as much as you need our expertise about sleep coaching best practices!
Want To Hear More From Experienced Parents? Check Out Our Case Studies!
If you want to hear more from parents who are just like you – parents who’ve struggled with sleep problems – then I encourage you to consider joining The Baby Sleep Site®’s Members Area! We have a number of really helpful case studies available to members; each one outlines a family’s experience sleep coaching their baby or toddler through challenging sleep issues. Sample case studies include……
…..a case study of how Derrick and Christy helped their 6 month old son, Wylie, overcome rocking and feeding sleep associations, plus how they transitioned him from co-sleeping to a crib. Wylie needed to be rocked and fed to sleep EVERY single time he woke at night and during naps; read how Christy and Derrick’s consultant helped Wylie learned to self-soothe!
….a case study of how Nadia and Brad worked to help their 4 month old daughter, Abigail, work through the 4 month sleep regression and overcome her swaddling and pacifier sleep associations. Abigail was taking micro-naps, and Nadia had to hold her in order to get Abigail to sleep at all during nap time! Learn how their consultant got Abigail taking long (and independent!) naps.
…a case study of how Samantha and Susan helped their 17-month old daughter Julie finally transition away from co-sleeping and into her own toddler bed. Julie wasn’t ready to stop waking at night nor to transition to her own bed, even though her parents were! Learn how Samantha and Susan’s consultant got little Julie sleeping in her own bed AND sleeping through the night!
Join The Baby Sleep Site’s Members Area and enjoy 24/7 access to these case studies and more, as well as access to e-books, custom schedule generator, quizzes, tele-seminars, weekly chats with expert consultants, printable resources, in-depth sleep coaching articles, and more!
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