Today is another exhausting day. Looking back, you had enough sleepless nights. It's been months since you last had a good night's sleep without waking up multiple times to breastfeed or to change diapers. You are desperate for a good night's sleep right now.
You are also thinking of sleep training and maybe you even tried it a few times only to give up because of your baby's non-stop crying... You are not alone. Many parents face the same dilemma when it comes to sleep training. So is sleep training a must? What will happen if I don't sleep train my baby? Is there any potential negative impact on my baby’s development?
Let's dig deep and find out.
What will happen if I don't sleep train my baby: There is not an official study or research to answer this question. However, out of 32 moms who shared their experiences, nearly 85% of children who have never sleep-trained couldn't sleep well through the night.
What is sleep training?
At its simplest, sleep training is a process of helping your baby learn to sleep throughout the night without depending too much on parents.
Sleep training also can help babies learn to self-soothe, and get back to sleep themselves if they wake up at midnight. When the baby sleeps well and does not cry in the middle of the night, the mother will also have a better night's sleep.
When it comes to sleep training, many parents shake their heads because they don’t want to let their kids cry themselves to sleep. But it’s not the case.
For me, sleep training is creating a routine for your baby to be aware of sleeping time and wind down when he or she needs to sleep. Gradually, your baby can learn to sleep when he or she gets tired and eventually put themselves to sleep without your help.
Benefits of self-sleep training for babies and parents
For the baby
Your baby's sleep will be improved, having a regular and deeper sleep hour without suddenly waking up in the middle of the night. For babies, getting enough sleep is even more important than other activities like sunbathing, or taking vitamin supplements.
When your baby sleeps a long night, his/her body will relax, and the organs in the body will restore. With deep and good sleep, your baby will be less fussy and more happy and alert. He/ she becomes active in fun activities with parents or simply learns very quickly what parents teach.
According to a study that examines how improving babies' sleep impacts the emotional well-being of mothers, we can see that a baby's sleep is closely linked to a mother's health. Successfully practicing self-sleep for babies, mothers have significantly declined depression, anxiety, and stress. Besides, The mean number of maximum night awakenings also decreased.
Improving babies' sleep will raise mothers' emotional health, which in turn makes them more confident in parenting and increases pleasure in being a mother.
Parents will also have more time to nurture the family home and have time to take care of themselves – something that not many mothers can do.
Does sleep training have any cons?
While sleep training may be an effective way to help your baby learn to sleep through the night, it is not for everyone. Some potential side effects of sleep training are:
What will happen if I don’t sleep-train my baby? - The worst scenario
I've conducted a research pool and 32 moms participated to share what happened to their babies if they didn't sleep-train. And here's the result:
From the above survey, you can see that the percentage of babies who do not sleep at night is more. It means that you will always have to be there to rock him to sleep and you will never get a good night's sleep yourself. In addition, your baby will likely be cranky and irritable during the day, as they are not getting enough sleep.
Over time, the baby will form a bad habit of sleeping during the day but staying up at night. Of course, you can't adapt to the bad habit of your baby forever. Imagine it as if you see it happen in the future.
Generally speaking, sleep training is essential for both you and your baby to get a good night's sleep!
When can you start to sleep training your baby?
Experts recommend that parents should train their infant to sleep when the baby is about 4-6 months old. At 4 months, babies begin to sleep and wake at more regular times, and the number of nighttime breastfeeding decreases. These are signs that the baby is starting to get ready for sleep training.
However, not every baby is the same, so there will be babies who are ready to learn to fall asleep on their own at a later time. Therefore, if you are not sure that your baby is ready, you can ask the doctor for advice.
3 tips to sleep train your baby safely
Your baby needs to learn the difference between day and night
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), babies spend the majority of their day sleeping. The normal amount of time that babies sleep depends on their age. The fact that the baby is awake at night can make mothers miserable. Because at this time, the baby is too young to be able to distinguish between day and night. Some tips to solve this problem:
During the day, keep the house well-lit and filled with activities such as playing music, singing nursery rhymes, and reading books together. Especially, don’t let your baby sleep too much or sleep during the day. Please arrange your work so that you can talk and play with your baby at that time.
At night, dim the lights and keep things calm and quiet. You can also help your baby relax with a warm bath, a gentle massage, and a bedtime story. With a little patience and consistency, the baby will soon learn to tell the difference between day and night!
Set up a routine or a daily plan for your baby
This routine includes times when your baby eats, plays, and sleeps. Mothers need to set a period that is suitable for the babies’ age. When your baby follows a routine, he will likely get hungry, sleepy and wake up on a routine and reduce the unexpected. As much as we hate the unexpected, our babies’ brains and bodies do too. Mothers can refer to the very popular EASY method to help children get on the routine:
Pay attention to what activities are suited for your baby and make up a bedtime routine right away.
Put your baby to bed/crib while he is still awake.
The reason parents are encouraged to put their babies down this way is that it teaches babies a useful skill: how to fall asleep on their own. To do this sleep training, you should:
Wondering how to figure out whether your baby is drowsy?. Some of the signs below can help you know that your baby is sleepy:
When the baby shows the above signs, start the bedtime routine. Remember not to put your baby to sleep all the way, just start the routine and put your baby to bed when he is still awake. Understanding your little one’s sleep cues and responding to them promptly will help develop healthy sleep habits by following your baby’s natural sleep rhythm as it develops and changes.
What will happen if I don't sleep train my baby: Final thought
No matter what method you use to train your baby to sleep, remember if you start sleep training, make sure you give it enough time to work and watch out for signs to prove that sleep training method just doesn't go with your baby. Not all babies are suitable for the same method. If the sleep training method doesn't have a positive effect on your baby's sleep, you can change immediately. Things can be difficult at first, but don't give up. You're a great mom trying to learn safe sleeping practices.
But also should not force the baby into sleep training. Be a patient and calm mother. Try to be understanding and find ways that work best for your baby. That's why I say what a wonderful mother you are. Because when you search for this information, you put your whole heart into understanding your little angel. We are all great moms!!!