Sleep training is often spoken of in hushed tones, as though it’s a conversation that should only take place in back alleys. It’s the kind of thing that has gotten more than a few people kicked out of Facebook groups for even suggesting it (which is horrifying and something that would never happen in my Facebook group). All of this creates an unsettling aura of taboo about sleep training leaving parents feeling like this.
Even if you’ve come to the well-reasoned decision that sleep training is the right answer for your family it can feel isolating, mysterious, and downright scary.
Which is a shame because it shouldn’t be. You aren’t alone and many people have been to this rodeo before you. What do they have to say about it? Do they have any words of wisdom to share? Is there a safe place to ask questions like these? (Hint: yes there is). So I asked parents for their #1 piece of advice on sleep training, which I’ll share in a second. But first…
My Number One Tip for Sleep Training
I clearly have a lot to say about CIO and I encourage you to read everything, but if I had to boil it down to one tip, it would be this.
If you or your partner are not entirely committed then don’t do it. There is no dip your toe in the lake. You have to cannonball in. It’s OK to be ambivalent. In fact it’s great that you have enough self-awareness to know you’re not committed. But then don’t do it. Because there is no halfway sleep training.
Sleep Training Pro Tips from Other Moms
I asked other smart parents who have successfully navigated a trip to cioville what advice they would give you. And this is what they had to share.
Stay consistent! It’s so hard and first but so worth it. My child literally asks to go to sleep at night now it’s insane. Never thought that would happen. Also have plenty of wine in the house. – AC
It’s ok if you cry too. – LS
Have a plan in advance. Also be consistent – like really consistent. – DZ
Commitment and consistency. Two things that are easily said but much harder to do. – MW
It’s worth it. You’re doing the right thing. Your baby will be fine. – VM
Have non-supportive people be led OUT THE DOOR. They really break you when you’re already feeling shitty. –WW
If you are Consistent, there is less crying in CIO than what you’ve been dealing with. – JL
Read read read! Make a plan. Be prepared to stay strong. Have a mantra “This is good for him, he’s learning a valuable skill”. Stay strong, mama! Good luck! – MS
Deep breaths. Calm down. Baby takes cues from you. Cries don’t hurt a child. Make sure you’re doing it at the RIGHT TIME. Stick to your guns; this could be a battle of wills – yours needs to be stronger. The rewards are so much better than the few nights of struggle! – MS
Make sure you and your partner (or whomever is at the house with you) are on the same page before starting. Be each other’s moral support. Leave the house if needed. Read pls over and over. – JP
Buy wine (joking!). Get a video monitor, be rigidly consistent, and know that the short term pain is worth the long term gain (ie happy baby & blissful sleep). – SP
Be 100% consistent. Expect some sleeplessness on your part. You may feel guilty, but know that you’re giving your baby the gift of sleep which will benefit your baby for many, many years. It is so worth it and you won’t regret it. – JH
Make a plan. Research what you’re about to do and understand what your intermediate and longer term goals are. Write yourself a note. “Dear Mama and Daddy, I know I’m crying and yelling. I’m just mad. Give me some space to cool off and figure this out, and I’ll be okay. I love you, Baby” – CB
Only choose a method you have inner peace about, and then TRUST YOURSELF. – JD
Consistency. If you’re not consistent it won’t work. And one more. It’s hard. But it will work. And when the baby wakes up all smiles and well rested the next morning, you will realize how much you are helping her. – KP
Once you’re done you wish you would’ve done it sooner. It’s not as bad as you think it’s gonna be! – LM
Got any additional words of wisdom to share? Leave a comment!