You have been sleep training your little one for a while but your progress seems slow. You’ve heard that sleep training takes a lot less time than it seems to be for you to get the success you were looking for. Now you are wondering what might be the reason. These six reasons below will help you problem solve why you are having sleep training issues instead of successes.
1) Jumping in without doing research.
It is important to spend time researching sleep training before getting started. This means researching sleep training methods and really understanding how to implement the one you choose, your baby or child’s sleep needs and ideal sleep schedule and how to set up the perfect sleep environment. If we haven’t done enough research we can find that we make mistakes in the sleep training process which inhibit our sleep training success.
2) Not sleep training for both night and naps at the same time.
Some sleep consultants will suggest that it is fine not to sleep train for both nights and naptimes together, but if you are struggling with both periods I tend to suggest doing both of them together. This is for a few different reasons. Firstly, the quality and amount of sleep at nap times directly affects overnight sleep. As people say, sleep begets sleep. Secondly, when we do things differently at bedtime and naptime with the way our little one falls asleep it is giving mixed messages which then confuse your little one and delay their progress.
3) Putting them down drowsy but awake.
When our babies are newborn we often put them down drowsy but awake – they are starting to fall asleep but aren’t completely asleep yet. We do this so they can start to learn how to tip themselves into the final stage of sleep independently. But as we move past 16 weeks of age, when it is okay to start sleep training, it is important to start putting them down awake and aware so that they do the whole work of going to sleep on their own. If we get them to the point of drowsy during sleep training they still having help doing part of the falling asleep process. On top of that, they might start to doze, and then when you put them down in the crib they can wake up upset because they are startled. Plus, they are also associating how they fell asleep with what made them drowsy.
4) Having an overtired child or baby.
If we haven’t got the sleep schedule right each day our little one can become overtired. Sometimes we think that lots of tiredness is a good thing, that they’ll drop off to sleep quickly because they are exhausted, but unfortunately the opposite is often true. When a baby or child is tired they can find it a lot harder to fall asleep and stay asleep because of the influx of cortisol and adrenaline flooding into their little bodies. Earlier bedtimes make for better sleep training success.
5) Lack of support during the process.
Sleep training is not an easy task and having support helps keep you going. The type of support can be different depending on what helps you the most. Maybe it is having a friend to call on when you need a listening ear, or your partner sitting beside you each night. Or maybe it is having a sleep consultant that can talk through any questions you have, to talk through how you are feeling, to be your biggest cheerleader. Whatever support makes sense for you will be an important sleep training component because it is so hard to do sleep training in isolation and it is hard to be consistent and follow through when you don’t have someone to talk things through with when things get hard.
6) You’re not confident in your sleep plan.
Maybe you are not confident that sleep training is what you want to do, or maybe you’re not confident that your little one will improve their sleep, or maybe you’re not all in on your chosen sleep training method. Whatever the reason is that you lack confidence your baby can sense it. It is important to put your baby down each nap and bedtime with confidence – that you know they can do it. The other thing is that when you lack confidence you can also lack consistency, you are more likely to give up or make a decision to help your little one and therefore provide mixed messages.