For a few weeks I’ve been working on this insanely long post about sleep training — how to do it, when to do it, tips and tricks and if it’s right for you and your family.
But I’m going to trash it.
Not to say that I’m against it by any means — we did it with our little guy and continue to do it as he grows — but it’s a very personal decision, especially for new parents.
We chose to do it at three months with T-man because I was going back to work and we wanted to make sure there was sleep happening in this house. And guess what? It worked. I went back to work when he was 3.5 months old and he was sleeping through the night, sans one early morning feeding. It was great. I was feeling fabulous with 6 solid hours of sleep (who knew?) and he was getting the sleep he needed to grow and develop.
Another reason why I feel it’s not worth it is because there are so many books and theories out there to begin with. Not saying that I’m reinventing the wheel with this because we followed the “cry it out” method courtesy of the Sleep Nazi (that’s what we called our sleep consultant because she was akin to the Soup Nazi and in our own minds she was very likely a daughter of someone in the Stasi…. but I digress….). However, after following the Sleep Nazi’s instructions, researching on my own (yes, I did this after we used her because I’m like that), I can recommend books and sites I think are worth looking into.
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, MD: This book is awesome. Out of the handful of books I’ve flipped through and actually purchased, this is my favorite on so many levels. I think the biggest reason why I love this book so much is because his approach is flexible for the parent in that there are not too many hard and fast rules. This may also make it more difficult for a new parent or one that needs hard and fast rules to follow, but I feel his ranges and variations on methods make it more manageable in learning how to promote sleep in your child. The other great thing is that it’s a book that you can continue to reference because he takes you well into toddler-hood. The other reason why I love this is because the approach is more scientific vs. theoretical.
Baby Wise: I’ve had a few friends use this method and it has totally worked for them — and it makes sense. It’s less “cry it out” and more about scheduling so the baby doesn’t really need to cry it out. While I do have this book, I didn’t really use it (but I did flip through it), however I think it’s worth giving a shout out to.
BabyCenter.com: This site is a great resource to get started on determining what is best for you and your style. One thing I learned from this site that babies will respond differently to various approaches as well. For example, if you choose the no tears approach and you’re not getting anywhere with it, your baby might actually respond well to the “cry it out” method. The site doesn’t promote one method over another, it just gives you information and where to go to get more info.
Since we hired a sleep consultant I would actually recommend against it. Save your money, figure out what approach suits your fancy and get a book. Alternatively find a pediatrician that specializes in sleep — this way all you’re doing is paying the co-pay when you need help. Also, if you have a friend who’s going through it at the same time (as I did), you can share each other’s pain (not saying that it’s painful, but getting started most certainly can be!) and victories. So buddy up if you can.
There you have it. And if you really want my notes on sleep training from the Sleep Nazi and more, just let me know and I’ll send it on over.