So. You're tired and considering getting some help getting your baby to sleep... but you have some hesitations. I get it. There are a lot of beliefs surrounding sleep training your baby, some of which sound pretty scary.
My intention for sharing the following information is not to "talk you into" sleep training your baby. If what you're doing is working for you and your family, then sleep training may not be for you. But if you're feeling depleted, worn down, at your limit or if your baby's sleep is a constant source of stress, I want you to have some more information to make a confident decision for your family.
Sleep training equals "cry it out"
Honestly, this is the comment I get the most. And my response is always "What does 'cry it out' mean to you?" And I gotta tell you, the answers vary widely!
To many parents, CIO means doing everything cold turkey - cutting out all night feeds, taking away the swaddle, putting the baby into the crib and closing the door until morning. In this scenario no amount of crying is too much and you don't go into the room for any reason.
If this is your view of "cry it out", I absolutely understand why you wouldn't want to subject your baby to this! But I'm here to tell you: THIS IS NOT WHAT WE DO.
I won't lie, there will probably be tears... learning a new skill is hard and that is exactly what your baby is doing - learning how to sleep independently! Crying is how your baby communicates and interpreting that cry is key.
Is your baby crying because she's frustrated with this new routine? Is your baby fussing because he's trying to roll to his belly and getting stuck? Is your baby telling you that she has a poopy diaper or crying because he's hungry? There are so many scenarios and so many reasons why your baby might cry during sleep coaching.
My job is to help you tune in to what your baby is communicating and give you permission and space to respond and meet your baby's needs with confidence. Instead of standing outside the door listening to your baby cry and fearing what will happen if you or don't go in, together we create a plan to address your baby's needs without confusing your baby further and without derailing everything your baby has already learned.
You'd be surprised how many babies I see that fuss for a few minutes as they try to get comfortable, eventually find a finger or hand to suck on, and fall asleep faster than anyone expected. Babies are incredibly smart and adaptable and often times they just need some room to figure it all for themselves.
It will hurt my breastfeeding relationship
We know that as a breastfeeding mom this relationship with your baby is an incredibly important one. Our job as doulas and sleep coaches is to support all aspects of the bonding relationship between baby & the parents. We are 100% pro-breastfeeding here at Doulas of OC and there's no way we would encourage you to do something that would negatively affect your milk supply or your breastfeeding relationship with your child.
That said, we firmly believe that the fact that you are breastfeeding does not mean you have to enter into energy depletion and suffer through sleep deprivation. You really can help your baby build incredible sleep habits in a breastfeeding-friendly way. We can help you with one of our sleep coaching packages.
Breastfeeding and sleep training really CAN go together. I've seen it happen!
I've seen countless breastfeeding relationships IMPROVE after implementing structure around baby sleep. Why? Because mom is getting more rest, paying off her sleep debt, which can positively impact milk supply and help her be more energetically present for her baby. What once felt like her baby sucking the life out of her, now brings her joy & a sense of fulfillment.
Ok. Stop right there. Sleep training your baby IS NOT SELFISH.
Adequate sleep is imperative to being a good parent and keeping your sanity. There is a reason why sleep deprivation is a form of torture - it's because it messes with your head and your ability to function normally!
Some sleep deprivation is to be expected when you bring a new baby into the world... but there's a limit to what you can handle and if you hit that limit, it is absolutely ok to ask for help.
If you're spending your days bouncing on a ball to get your baby to sleep or your baby is nursing constantly through the night preventing you from getting restorative sleep, I'm talking to you.
If you spend 45 minutes putting your baby to sleep only to have her eyes pop open the second you set her down and you do this over and over and over again, day and night, I'm talking to you.
Hiring a sleep coach is much like reaching for a life preserver. I know that sounds dramatic, but I see it time and again. People don't call me because they're sleeping well. They call me because they are at their wits end and have no more energy to give to their baby, their family, let alone themselves. They call me because they know they need help and they accept that they can't do it all on their own.
If this is you, I want you to say to you again, that helping your baby create healthy sleep habits is not selfish. It may be what you need to survive the next few weeks, months, and years. It may be what saves your marriage. It may be what gives you freedom and space to spend time with your older kids. It may help you keep your sanity. If this is where you are at, call me. Let's talk about what's not working and put together a plan to get your life back.
There are so many more myths I could spend time debunking, but the reality is I'd prefer to spend my time helping you get out from under this dark cloud of sleep deprivation. If you're still hesitant or are wondering what our approach looks like, I invite you to schedule a sleep assessment with me. This complimentary assessment will help you get clear on what needs to happen to get you and your family sleeping through the night faster than you can imagine. I'm 100% here for you and I can't wait to chat with you!