6 FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A SLEEP TRAINING METHOD
When it comes to sleep training, you’ve got options!
Sleep training does not equate to cry it out (CIO) like people often think. And you are going to learn about five factors to consider when choosing the response you wish to use to help your baby sleep well!
But before diving in, it is important to make sure that we are talking about the same thing when talking about CIO here in the Stork Community. Whether you share the same definition or not, understanding what someone means is important for having a conversation around any topic.
As explained in episode 4 of the After the Stork Podcast, CIO is defined here as a response (or lack there of) when sleep training. Another word for it is extinction. It is one method and it is the method that involves no parent engagement after putting the child down to sleep until time to get up.
Now, for others, it might mean ANY crying. However, that is not what we mean here in the Stork Community. In this community, we recognize that realistically, alone, an overtired child is going to have moments when they cry. Little sleep equals to difficulty regulating emotions.
Add change to their world?! Tears are definitely a potential.
Because I like setting realistic expectations, I recognize with how strongly people feel one way or the other, this community is not going to be everyone's cup of tea! But come on. Does anything make everyone happy?
Regardless of how you define CIO, you can minimize the number of tears by figuring out a sleep training method (aka how you will or will not respond when helping your baby with the ability to fall asleep and connect sleep cycles more easily) that is best for your child and situation.
While, yes, CIO or extinction is ONE option for sleep training and is sometimes the best option for a family, it rarely is an option with which I would suggest a family starts. Sleep training methods range from no to involvement to high involvement.
To help figure out the best option for your family, here are six factors to consider.
1. The history of sleep training for your child.
Have you tried sleep training in the past? How recently? What response(s) have you done? How long did you allow to see progress before stopping? How did your child respond to the method you used? Did you ONLY adjust your response or did you evaluate the other important areas that contribute to sleep?
2. Your child's age.
Younger children often do well with a less involved method and adapt quickly. I almost never see a child under one year of age take longer than two weeks, if even that, to start sleeping extremely well when providing them the components needed for quality sleep.
Older children typically require a bit more involved method and might take a month or so to really see changes. They need a lot of communication regarding expectations and often a very gradual approach.
3. Your child's personality.
And of course personality! Some kiddos need you to be more involved in the process. However, some? Need space! They need you to recognize when YOU are the reason they aren't sleeping well because they are overstimulated by your involvement.
4. Your parenting preferences.
Some parents have the patience to go with a more gradual option. Some parents want or need everyone to get sleeping well rather quickly.
Some parents are more hands on and want to be very engaging. Some parents are more about giving their children space.
Some parents desire to keep the breastfeeding relationship going long term. Some parents don't.
Your parenting philosophy and preferences will most likely contribute to which options you are most attracted to using.
5. With which option you will be able to remain consistent.
Now, while your parenting preferences are important, if you want to minimize tears and experience your sleep goal (one that is realistic based on your child's age), then it is equally important to choose an option with which you can remain consistent.
For example, if you like the idea of being in the room with your child but you know you won't be consistent with your response, perhaps it isn't the best one for you. OR perhaps that just means you need someone else involved in the process who can be consistent while removing yourself from the equation for a bit.
6. What is realistic for your family’s current situation.
Another one that I would say is as equally as important as number 3 and 4 is choosing an option that is realistic for your family's current situation. If you have multiple children and they all need supervision, some methods might just be out of the question whereas a family with one child might not really matter. Or, if you have a child who is on the spectrum, you might need an option that is more involved and gradual with the change.
My preference after years working with families.
From my experience, my favorite options for babies and toddlers fall under the moderate involvement. Think timed checks like the Sleep Wave. And here’s why…
Parents get to be responsive which often makes everyone involved feel more at ease.
It often provides amazing results within a week if not a few days.
The amount of tears shed typically dissipates within a couple of days.
If you are someone who wishes to sleep train and see results within a week and everything come together within about two weeks, I’m your gal! Let's chat.
If you are someone who has the gumption and energy to take things super slow (meaning taking about 2-4 weeks to really see results when it comes to your child independently sleeping), I can hook you up with a sleep consultant best for that!
Now, when it comes to older children out of the crib, I find that is a whole new ball game. Personality of your child is going to be a HUGE factor in figuring out what to do.
No matter what you choose, know that there’s no one right way to sleep train. It’s gonna depend on several things including the six factors mentioned above as well as other components that contribute to sleep and should be included in your Sleep Plan when sleep training.
If you want help in figuring out the best option for you and what else to consider, let's chat! You can schedule a free 15-minute consultation with me at www.afterthestorksleep.com/discover.