Hello everyone! My name is Jennifer Taylor from the blog MomTricks. As a mother who has been through sleep training twice, I’m excited to share with you what I believe are common mistakes many parents make with it.
1. Being inconsistent.
One of the keys to sleep training is consistency, and while you may think that you’re being consistent, sometimes it’s not working out that way and you don’t even realize it.
Both parents really should be on the same page, and that’s rarely the case. For example, if both parents handle bedtime routines differently, it’s almost like setting yourself up for failure.
On that note, many parents fail to stick to their sleep training plan. Even if you don’t get immediate results, you have to perservere and stick to it!
2. Not creating the ideal sleep environment.
I believe that a proper sleep environment is the most crucial step in sleep training. It should be a high priority, and sleep training is nearly impossible without one.
The things you really need are:
- A dark room. A dark environment causes the body to produce melatonin, a crucial sleep hormone. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use a nightlight, but make sure it’s a dim one. Bluish ones are less stimulating than yellowish ones, too.
- A safe crib. A modern, safe crib with nothing more than a mattress and crib sheet.
- White noise. It’s believed that white noise helps humans reach deeper levels of sleep and stay there longer. A white noise sound machine like these can be a huge benefit when sleep training.
- A baby monitor. A video baby monitor gives you the peace of mind in knowing that your child is sleeping safely without you having to come into the room, potentially interrupting their sleep needlessly.
And those are really the only things absolutely needed for sleep training.
3. Putting baby to bed at the wrong time.
You should put your little one to bed when she’s sleepy, not fully asleep yet. This isn’t always easy, but if you can manage to get into this habit, you’ll be much better off.
Babies that can fall asleep on their own can often soothe themselves to sleep, which is an ideal and crucial part of sleep training.
Ideally, try to put your baby down as she’s getting drowsy, right before she would normally fall asleep. If you miss this crucial time even by just a moment, you could completely throw off your little one’s sleep pattern, and their body will stop producing melatonin. A disaster waiting to happen!
4. Checking on baby too often.
I know that when you have a baby monitor setup in the nursery it’s easy to become concerned and rush into the room every time you hear the smallest of noises over the speaker.
The fact is that you should really wait and see if there’s really an issue that calls for your attention before you go into their nursery, most likely waking them up in the process.
Give her a few minutes to see if she can settle back to sleep on her own. If not, pick her up and comfort her before she starts to cry. Timing really is key here, and you’ll get a feel for it over time with a little effort.
5. Starting sleep training at the wrong time.
There is a right and wrong time to start sleep training, and many parents don’t time it very well.
There are a number of things that could make for a very non-ideal setting to start sleep training. Those might include things like:
- Disruptions around the house. If things are a bit chaotic around the home, it may not be the best time to attempt sleep training.
- You’re going back to work soon. If you’re soon to be out of the house on a regular basis, reconsider sleep training at this moment. Your little one is going to be craving time with you, and it may also make it difficult to be consistent.
- Your little one is sick or teething. If they’re not feeling well, sleep training may be nearly impossible. The same goes with teething. Wait it out until their illness clears up or their teething calms down and then try.
Basically, if anything is out of the ordinary or you suspect there may be interruptions in your sleep training, think about putting it off until that’s no longer an issue.