Updated: Dec 31, 2020
This is honestly the number one question going through our clients' minds before committing to the sleep training process.
And rightfully so! I don't like hearing babies cry, it's definitely not a part of the job I enjoy - just as I imagine a doctor would say about giving shots to a child! It’s unsettling when your child is crying even if you know it will help them thrive and sleep better afterwards. It's hard to believe that, or want to believe that.
Crying is a way for your child to let you know they are either frustrated, tired, mad, confused, not able to do this, scared or that they need help. When we make a change in the sleep department that is likely going to be met with crying, because your child is trying to tell you any of the above feelings that are going through their head.
So Will There Be Crying?
Yes. But the amount, level and extent varies greatly depending on the child's age, the amount of sleep changes involved and your chosen sleep training method and its fit for your child. The world of sleep training can be very polarizing - you hear of no cry solutions and CIO and you aren't sure what falls in the middle or if there even is something that could work that's in the middle and that's going to allow you to feel like you can cope with your child's crying but also respond to it.
HI! That's where The Sleepyhead Coach comes in. We are that "meet you in the middle" camp of sleep training, where we want to provide you with sleep training methods that are fair and not drawn out but are showing your child you are there for them. We want you to feel like you can respond to your child's cries and be present to help them through this change! We help you learn how to consistently respond to cries and show your child you are there for them and will help them!
Okay, But So How Much?
Night One is the TOUGHEST! It's when crying peaks. It's when it seems to be getting worse before it gets better. But really it's a big range - we've seen babies fall asleep within 5 minutes of going down at bedtime and then there have been those who want to make it close to a 2 hour process. Those are both outliers. On average, that initial night will typically take about 30-60 minutes for your child to fall asleep at bedtime. They are not screaming the entire time. They are not left there alone. They are learning with your guidance!
By Night Three you should be seeing progress with your baby - there will be at least one silver lining! You start to feel this sense of relief and your hard work and consistency is starting to show.
If by Nights 5-7 something is still amiss for your baby with going down at bedtime or staying asleep throughout the night, we have to uncover patterns in the sleep training method and how it's being used, the daytime schedule and the timing of bedtime. That's where our coaching and personalized support comes in to help you uncover what is preventing forward movement.
Older toddlers take TIME! It's a marathon, not a sprint! After a week you will be seeing progress but you will still have work to do the following week or so to really drive home this new change.
So Is This Crying Going To Harm My Child?
No. Period. I like to reference a few studies and articles about crying:
The 5 Year Follow Up, AAP
Understanding Tears and Tantrums, written by Aletha Solter, Ph.D.
Something to keep in mind is that stress is generally broken down into three categories — positive, tolerable, and toxic. These studies show that sleep training does not cause toxic stress, which will hinder development or sever attachment in securely attached parental relationships.
I completely understand that guilt of letting your child cry when he actually needs help. I won't let my child learn to ride a two-wheeler alone and I will not let you feel like you are having your child learn a new sleep skill without your support. But I can't ride that bike for my daughter any more than you can be the reason your child sleeps! Your chosen training method will allow your baby some independence to learn how to fall asleep on his own and still let him know you are always right there for him. Just as if you were right near your child learning to ride that bike - this gives him the backup he needs to face his worries, and feel them, which makes them dissipate.
Sleep is vital not only for your child's health but yours. So if you can't handle the countless broken nights of sleep let us help you restore peace back into your home!
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