As an infant sleep consultant, I began to see a pattern with my clients. First, rarely were both parents or caregivers on the same page when it came to sleep strategies or sleep expectations for baby. This topic created A LOT of tension in the home. And, for at least one parent, the discussion about making changes to baby’s sleep routine was scary and laden with strong emotions.
Still, parents know they can’t continue to function on four hours of interrupted sleep. They want the situation to improve, but the stress of listening to baby cry is unbearable.
Stuck. It’s a tough place to be. And a tough place for a sleep consultant. I saw too many moms battling anxiety about crying babies and too many dads feeling hopeless and frustrated. And, I saw a lot of families that thought they were ready to sleep train their baby but really, they were a long way from being ready.
My take-away is this. Parents need to recognize that sleep for their baby is unique to baby AND unique to the family. There is no sleep training technique that works for every single baby or family and no set time to make these changes. And, frankly, very few of the families that paid me to tell them what to do to help their baby sleep were even remotely ready to make a change.
Parents, be kind to yourselves. Be realistic about how you feel about sleep changes for your baby. Consider your mental capacity for making changes to baby’s sleep patterns. Slow down. While the nights may be long, the days of your baby being a baby are quickly passing.