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Sleep training - frequently asked questions 

When I first started consulting in 2004 I took a lot of slack from many parents regarding sleep training.  There were times when I felt I needed to apologise to parents because their baby/toddler was going to cry and throw a tantrum.

Many years later and with more Sleep Consultants available to parents, parents appear more willing to embrace the practice of sleep training, and even though there are still lots of questions and concerns, the words 'sleep training' don't seem to elicit the same intense emotions it did years back.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions I have come across over the years I've been helping families. I hope this brings some clarity and peace of mind. 

(child = baby/toddler)


Will sleep training harm my child?

Sleep training shouldn't harm your child if:

  • your child is healthy

  • you know you have met your child's needs

  • you have taken a holistic approach and know the only reason why your child is behaving this way is because he is tired but can't fall asleep unless fed, rocked, patted etc

  • you have consulted with a Sleep Consultant (as opposed to googling)

Will my child feel abandoned and unloved?

  • If you know there is nothing wrong and the only reason your child is behaving this way is because he is tired but can't fall asleep unless fed, patted, rocked etc, then you know you are just dealing with a behaviour and it's absolutely fine to persevere with your sleep training (which is just a boundary)

  • It's important to make household noises when you put your child down for a nap or at bedtime so they can hear you, they know you are in the house and that no one has abandoned them

  • During your child's awake time you will love, cherish, nurture, spoil and stimulate your child, and this is just as important as teaching your child to be an independent sleeper


I feel like such a bad parent for sleep training

  • We at Happy Parenting totally get that so please know you are not alone but just because you are implementing sleep training (which is just a boundary), doesn't mean you love your child any less. 

  • If your toddler was running around the house with a pair of scissors and you took the scissors away, chances are your toddler will throw a temper tantrum which could go on for an hour and that's okay, you won't give the scissors back, instead you'll persevere with your boundary and eventually your toddler will get over herself.

Do all sleep training approaches involve crying?

  • If the sleep training approach you are implementing means you are leaving the room while your child is still awake, and that's the true meaning of sleep training, then yes, there will be an element of crying.

  • In order for a child to learn how to self sooth and fall asleep unassisted, you need to leave the room while your child is awake.

  • If you're in the room and your child falls asleep you are the unhealthy sleep association and they have not fallen asleep unassisted.

What's wrong with holding my baby until he falls asleep?

  • It's lovely to have a baby fall asleep in your arms, but when they weigh 13kg's it's not so lovely anymore. 

  • If you hold your baby to get her to sleep and then put her in her cot asleep, when she wakes up she'll get a fright as that is not where she fell asleep... is that fair on your child? (if you fell asleep in the lounge but woke up in your bed, can you imagine the fright you would get and how confused you'd be)

  • But Baby Love believes 'it's different strokes for different folks' and if you don't mind holding your baby to get him to sleep, and then having to hold him again in order to get him back to sleep, if this approach works for you then that's the approach you should follow

Can I implement sleep training during the day and not at night? (or vice versa)

  • As it's important to persevere with sleep training, or any boundary for that matter, so it is equally important to be consistent, so wherever possible we recommend sleep training is applied both at night and during the day


Do both parents have to implement sleep training?

  • This is recommended. We want to avoid a 'good cop bad cop' scenario and for parents to present a united front.

  • The aim is to teach our children that no matter how they behave, we, their parents, respond the same way as this consistency creates a sense of security as your child will always know what to expect next


How long does sleep training take?

  • This is child dependent and not necessarily age dependent. 

  • Some parents, when they've given us their feedback have said by night 3 their child was already sleeping through (for us it took 7).

  • It's not uncommon for the nights to fall into place before the days, however we recommend not giving up on the days as they drive the nights.

At what age can I start sleep training?

  • The minute a parent realises their child can only fall asleep if rocked/patted/fed etc, then you can sleep train. 

  • Baby Love offers a very gentle hands-on sleep training approach which I implemented on my 6 week old.  Baby Love also has a firmer approach for those parents who prefer.

Are you tired of being tired?  Are you ready to make some positive changes? If so then don't hesitate to email me

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