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Sleep training - reasons (excuses) not to implement

When I first started consulting in 2004 it was astonishing to hear how many babies had colic.  I now realise that because the signs of colic are very similar to the signs of overstimulation and hyperalert, many parents were incorrectly self-diagnosing colic when in actual fact their baby was over tired, hence an age appropriate awake time is critical.  For many years colic was the buzz word and the reason for parents tolerating endless months of sleepless nights.

Around 2013 I found that colic was fading into the distance and reflux was becoming the buzz word and yet again I was astonished at how many babies supposedly had reflux. Not for one moment am I saying there aren't babies who don't genuinely suffer from colic or reflux, I am however asking parents to be mindful of not assuming their baby has colic/reflux and therefore put up with endless sleepless nights (unnecessarily so).  

Around 2015 I noticed that reflux, although still quite prominent, was now taking a back seat to sleep regressions and I was hearing that the reason why a baby wasn't sleeping was because of the 4 month, 9 month, 12 month, 18 month and 2 year sleep regression.  Children will continue to grow, learn new things and go through various milestones, but that doesn't mean they should stop sleeping through the night.

Over and above the colic, reflux and sleep regressions is the teething. How many parents have blamed the sleepless nights on teething, only to realise they are dealing with unhealthy sleep associations instead. If parents put sleep training on hold because of colic, reflux, sleep regressions and teething (children teeth until they're 2), they will have an extremely unhappy and exhausted family. 

  • If a baby has genuine colic you can't implement any form of sleep training as they are in pain, but once they have outgrown the colic then parents can implement sleep training. 

  • If a baby has been diagnosed with reflux and is on medication which is working and they are no longer in pain, then sleep training can be implemented.

  • If a child is teething and in pain but has been given pain medication and is no longer in pain, then sleep training can be implemented


There is never a good time to sleep train and parents can always find reasons why they can't implement sleep training, but remember sleep training can be successful within 2 weeks whereas sleepless nights can go on for years

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