Do you have a sleepless baby, toddler or preschooler on your hands where, on the one hand, you’re constantly wondering when can you finally start sleep training, but on the other hand, you’re hesitant to sleep train and make changes? That’s fine, I get it! Over the years, I’ve worked with TONS of families who are READY to get their little one sleeping as soon as possible….and I’ve worked with many families who just aren’t sure if they’re ready.
In this episode, I’m going to discuss when the best time is to sleep train your baby, when you can start sleep training, the best age for sleep training, and why it’s so important to kick that “mom guilt” around sleep training to the curb. I also address some common doubts that parents have about sleep training, such as “I don’t need to sleep train because my baby’s sleep could be worse” (that one gets my blood boiling) as well as “sleep training won’t work for my baby because____”. Have a listen!
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Hey there, you’re listening to the, My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.
All right, today, I want to talk all about a very common question that I get from people reaching out to me for help. And the question is, how do I know that I am ready to sleep, train my baby? Or how do I know that it is the right time? Is there a right time to sleep? When can you start slepep training? And so I want to delve into all this and take it apart and really address various aspects of this question, because I’ll tell you that if you’re asking when you can start sleep training, the best time to sleep train your baby is when you are ready. That is crucial. Is there an ideal, perfect age when you can start sleep training and it goes significantly better than any other age? I don’t believe so. I really, really don’t. To address the question of when you can start sleep training, know that it’s possible with a four or five month old, but it doesn’t mean that that is the best time for you to be doing some sleep training.
Because if whatever other sleep scenario you have for your little one is working, then there’s no need to change that up. The sky is not going to fall. If you end up waiting an extra few months until your little one is a little bit older and you’re feeling more ready, that being said, I will say for the record that, if you’re wondering when you can start sleep training, infants are usually easier and a little bit more straight forward than sleep training, a toddler or a preschooler. And the reason for that is fairly obvious, right? When you’re asleep, training a toddler or a preschooler, they’re older, they’re smarter, they’ve got more energy. They can sometimes talk. They’ve got more ability to, you know, fight the good fight and really let you know that they’re not happy with the status quo. Whereas we don’t get the same level of protesting from an infant, right?
That’s the obvious. And so if you have a four month old and you’re going, I know that this scenario is not going to work in the long run. I know that spending all this time, feeding her to sleep or rocking her to sleep is not viable for the long run. I’m not ready to sleep, train her Jessie yet. That’s totally fine. I would just tell you, you know, not to wait until you’re past the one year Mark, if you can, because it’s, and to be easier for you to tackle this when your little one is younger, that being said, I do just want to say that if you weren’t ready to sleep, train your infant at all. And now you have a toddler or a preschooler that you are ready to make some changes to don’t fret. I don’t want this to scare you away.
This is absolutely fixable for your toddler or preschooler as well. It just might take a little bit more time. That’s all now sleep screening in and of itself can sometimes get a bit of a bad rep because there are people out there that will say, Oh, you shouldn’t be trying to teach your little one how to sleep when they’re good and ready, they’ll learn how to sleep. They’ll just naturally do it. And I have a really hard time hearing that messaging because is potty training bad? Do we wait for our little ones to just naturally start using the toilet on their own? I mean, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes that is what happens. But a lot of the time, that’s not what happens a lot of the time, our little one turns two or three years old and we go, okay, it is now time for you to start learning how to use the toilet.
And if they’re not naturally doing it their own, we teach them, right. And sometimes it goes a little bit more smoothly. Sometimes we get pushback, but toilet training is absolutely a skill that we teach by a surgeon age, if they’re not naturally using the toilet on their own anyways. And I don’t see why sleep needs to be any different. You know, we don’t for a child to be ready to use the toilet on their own without any push from us. And so there’s no reason why sleep can’t fall into the sleep. And that seemed to be some children are naturally fantastic sleepers. They don’t need to be taught. They just kind of naturally get it on their own. Whereas there are many other kids that need to be because it’s a skill that just doesn’t come so naturally to them, you know, kind of like learning how to swim, right?
Swimming is that skill that you see some two year olds just master and they’re a little fish swimming around. And then there are other six year old that are still swimming and water wings, a true story. I was that six year olds swimming in water wings. So I guess now they’re floaties. But I was in, in my day, we didn’t have floaters. We had water wings. And, uh, and I was that kid in grade one, still not swimming independently. And so my mom got me into private swimming lessons and I learned how to swim and Jamaica very long story short. By the time I was in high school, I was a lifeguard. I was a swim instructor and I was on my high school swim team. The reason why I’m sharing this is just because swimming was a skill that didn’t come naturally. To me, it didn’t stop me from mastering it.
I mean, as a lifeguard swim instructor and a member of my swim team, I became a pretty good swimmer, even though I needed a little bit of help at the very beginning. And so if anyone is going to try and guilt you out of trying to get your little one sleeping, because you’re falling on your face, just let that go through one ear and out the other and know that the years, no guilt or shame around potty training or toilet training. And so there should be the same amount of acceptance around sleep training as well. Now some moms will say to me, yeah, Eva, I know that I’m really tired. I know that my little one sleep could be better, but it could also be worse. And I have all these friends with babies in the same age range where they’re waking up more frequently at night and they take longer to fall asleep.
And those moms are even more tired. And so maybe that means that I don’t have anything to complain about. That couldn’t be further from the truth, right? Here’s the reality just because your little one sleep could be worse. It doesn’t mean you can’t aim to have it better. I mean, why not aim for a consistent 11 to 12 hour night? If that’s what your little one can do, right? Even getting rid of one of those night wakings or two of those night wakings can make a massive difference. I mean, it means it could be the difference between you sleeping straight through on a nightly basis versus getting interrupted. It’s huge. You don’t need to hit rock bottom before you reach out for help and get your little one sleeping. If you see yourself about you hit rock bottom, that’s when you can start sleep training and definitely want to be reaching out for help.
But the way that I look at things, this is the question that I, I bet I ask myself, or I tell my clients, my sleep Bible members to ask themselves is your little ones. One night waking two night wakings, three night wakings, are they necessary? Does your little one physiologically developmentally neutrally need those night feeds need to be waking up at night still? Yes or no. If the answer is yes, then of course, we’re going to continue to feed that baby. Especially the younger ones who do do, who do usually need to be waking up and eating at night, uh, at least once. But when you have a baby in the seven to eight month, Mark and onwards, those babies, as long as they’re healthy, don’t need to be waking up at night anymore at all. And so just because you’re a little one, sleep could be worse.
It doesn’t mean that that should prevent you from wanting to get your little one sleeping even better. I mean, getting woken up once versus not getting woken up at all is going to make a huge change to your overall day to day life being able to sleep straight through versus not getting woken up at all. So don’t underestimate what your little one can do, and don’t underestimate the impact that getting woken up even once a night can have on your energy levels. If it is not necessary for your little one to be waking up, then it doesn’t need to be your normal. I’m sure you’re told sometimes, Oh, it’s normal for babies throughout the first year of their life to be waking up. There’s lots of things in the world that are normal. It doesn’t mean that they’re healthy. It doesn’t mean that they’re good for you.
It doesn’t mean that they’re ideal. And it doesn’t mean they can’t be fixed. So recently I posted on my Instagram at my sleeping baby, a question I asked my followers. I said, I want you guys to tell me those of you who decided to sleep train. I want you to tell me what prompted you to make that decision. What was the final straw that broke the camel’s back that made you go, okay, that’s it. We need to make some changes. And there were definitely some common themes with regards to the answers. So one very common answer was that they felt pressure to get their older baby sleeping because they were expecting another baby and they were pregnant. And that baby was coming very, very soon. And the thought of being up with two babies at night was far more overwhelming than just having the one.
And so that scenario prompted a lot of families to say, all right, party’s over, let’s get this little one sleeping. And I’m telling you that is super, super valid. Another scenario was that they saw that their baby or their toddler was waking up and eating so much at night, that they were barely eating at all during the day. They barely wanted to eat solids during the day because they were taking down so much milk at night. And that can happen when you have a baby that is not sleep trained and eating quite a bit at nighttime. It can impact how well they’re eating during the day. It can impact how well they begin eating solids, how well they should be eating solids by a certain age. And so as a result, that’s also a very, very valid reason to say, okay, you know what? This isn’t working for a little one anymore. Another very common theme of answers that my followers gave me was that the sleep deprivation was affecting their relationship with their signal.
Speaker 3: (11:19)
I can other guys, this is a
Common one. This is pretty much the case across the board when you are sleep deprived, because let’s not forget sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture in prison cells around them
Speaker 3: (11:35)
In the world. Why? Because it’s effective. It works.
It works. And so when you, a human are deprived of something that you need for survival, right? Like sleep falls into the same category as clean air and water and food. When you’re deprived of sleep, it means you’re not able to function. You probably barely recognize yourself. And it brings outsides in people that never existed when they were able to function properly when they were sleeping well. And so, as a result, it’s going to affect their mental health. It’s going to affect, you know, relationships with your partner, you know, with your other people in your life. And it can really, really, really have a negative impact on so many aspects of your life. And when, when people tell me that they are constantly fighting with their husband, because they’re so bloody exhausted, they have no patience. They can barely stand each other. They’re constantly fighting.
They’ve got their, they’re just constantly, you know, on, on edge, around each other, that all comes down to that sleep deprivation, right? And so that’s when a lot of people are saying, you know what? I love my husband dearly. I love my wife dearly. And I hate the fact that we are so miserable from being so sleep deprived and fighting all the time that we need to prioritize our relationship. That by the way your baby is going to benefit from, right, because your baby, your toddler, your preschooler directly benefits from having a peaceful home from having two parents that get along really, really well and are not constantly fighting another very common theme around why families decided to sleep train was sheer mental and emotional health, right? Maybe they weren’t necessarily fighting, but the mom was suffering from postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety, or, you know what, maybe she didn’t even have PPD or PPA, but she was really physically and emotionally suffering from never getting a break from getting woken up every few hours at night from only getting 20 minutes to herself at a time before the baby gets woken up from spending all this time, trying to get the baby to sleep.
Her stress levels are just through the roof as a result of it. And she hates the fact that she is so beyond drained, that she doesn’t have any energy in her to be a responsive patient, uh, patient parent during the daytime that that’s when they also decide, alright, you know what time is up? Now we have to make some changes because I need to prioritize my mental health, which is also something that your little ones directly benefit from. So if you’re feeling completely spent and frazzled, and you just have nothing in your tank left because you’re spending more time getting your baby to sleep, then the amount of time that she actually sleeves herself, congrats, you’re human, right? You’re your tank is empty because you’re not sleeping enough. You’re not getting any breaks. You’re spending all this time, getting your little one’s asleep. Many people in your shoes are asking when can you start sleep training and decided it is now time for me to explore some sleep training options.
And I want to assure you all that when you decided you can start sleep training and you are looking into options, other than continuing the status quo, you don’t have to just be doing cry it out in order for you to get those big sleep results that you want. If you want your little one consistently sleeping 11 to 12 hours at night, so you can be a functioning human the next day. You don’t have to do cry it out to get there. There are other approaches that you can use that will allow you to get to your end point. And if you want more help getting there, check out my online coaching program, the sleep Bible, you can check out all that information at my sleeping bb.com/sleep-bible. It is my online coaching program. My signature coaching program that takes you through. Step-by-step exactly how to get that sleep champion, baby of yours. So to sum up, how do you when you can start sleep training?
It is when you are ready, if you are not ready, if the status quo is working for you, you don’t have to change anything, right? As long as it’s working for you, then that is all that matters at the same time, recognize that you don’t have to hit rock bottom before you make changes, just because your little one sleep could be worse. It doesn’t mean that it can’t get better. And it doesn’t mean that you can’t want it to be better. A good night’s sleep is not a luxury. It shouldn’t be a luxury. It should never be a luxury in any which way or form. It is an absolute necessity for you to be able to be the best version of yourself so that you can be that patient responsive parent that I know that you want to be. And so that you can continue to have a peaceful, loving relationship with your partner and not be constantly down at each other’s throats. So if you’re looking for more help on how to get your little one giving you that consistent night’s sleep, definitely check out my sleep Bible program that is about it, everyone. And I hope you have a
If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listeners. So feel free to DM me on Instagram @mysleepingbaby, or send me an email at email@example.com until next time have a wonderful restful nights.
Want to get your little one consistently sleeping 11-12 hours at night so you can be a functioning human?