Sleep training – Is it for you?
When I learned the most important roles of a postpartum doula, I realized how important it was for me to train myself not to be judgmental. A postpartum doula deals with families during a very special time of their lives when parents are adjusting to a new baby as well as having to deal with sleep deprivation, possible difficulties with breastfeeding, postpartum blues, joy, and lots of other challenges. I also learned fast that I could love my job even when I had to deal with moms with postpartum depression and their mood swings when I made the decision to respect differences and be non-judgmental about them.
This thought and the process of becoming increasingly non-judgmental helped me to be a postpartum doula as well as a caring helper for mothers who have decided to bottle feed their babies instead of breastfeeding, even though I strongly believe breast feeding is best. This thought also helped me to understand that children’s sleep issues sometimes happen in families who decide to rather be patient and choose not to do any sleep training.
Sleep training is an amazing tool for parents who are exhausted and cannot take sleep deprivation anymore. There are many studies that show sleep training does not harm your child when applied with love, reassurance, care, hugs, cuddling and patience.
Yes, it is possible to be gentle when doing sleep training! We just need to take our time and understand that if the sleep problem has been going on for months, we should not expect our child to change in three nights. It is not that we should expect no crying, but we can deal with crying better if we understand that crying can be a way to demonstrate frustration rather than suffering.
Sleep training is not harmful if applied correctly and we do not use the “one size fits all” approach. It is essential to respect the family’s dynamics, the child’s development and personality, and the parenting style. What I offer is not a magic solution but a plan that respects the child’s needs and promotes independence with loving support. I have often been fortunate to hear families saying: “This was the best money I have ever spent in my life!” Sleep is essential for all of us and a rested family is a happy family.
The decision of doing sleep training can be a though one. Some will never follow this path and that is OK, as long as everyone in the family agrees to that and the child is not exhausted.
Sleep wishes to all!