5 Benefits of Gentle Sleep Training
In the womb, babies spend about 95% of their time asleep. And as soon as they make their entrance into the world, they’ll still spend the majority of their time sleeping, whether it be short naps or long stretches of sleep—the transition from the womb to the real world is overwhelming and exhausting for your baby. From the earliest days at home you can teach your baby good sleep habits and help them adjust to the world around them. Teaching your infant sleep skills from the beginning has huge benefits that impact the whole family.
Sleep is the time that babies’ bodies are in a state of rapid development, especially in their brains. While they’re snoozing, memories are being stored, synapses are forming, brain tissue is developing, energy is replenished and their bodies are growing… plus so much more! Their little bodies are so busy working, you can see why they need all of those hours of sleep!
As babies grow and get older, their sleep patterns start to appear and we notice longer awake times and *hopefully* more regular nap times, and maybe even sleeping through the night! Around 4 months or 16 weeks is when babies show readiness for sleep training. Some babies need help getting their sleep figured out and that’s totally fine! This is where sleep training comes in.
5 Benefits of Sleep Training
What is sleep training you ask? Sleep training is helping to teach your baby the skills they need to fall asleep independently and put themselves back to sleep if they wake up in the middle of the night. Essentially it’s helping your baby learn to fall asleep. Don’t worry, It’s not putting your baby down and leaving the room, letting them cry for hours! Sleep training can be as simple as setting up a consistent bedtime routine and putting your baby in their crib at bedtime to start out. There are many different sleep training techniques that range from the Ferber method (basically the cry it out method) to sitting in their room and periodically soothing them as they fall asleep.
Giving your child (and yourself) the gift of sleep is one of the best gifts you will ever give them. Having a well-rested, happy child transforms the experience of parenthood. Postpartum depression, anxiety, and stress are significantly diminished which will allow you to enjoy parenthood and your child in a new way. Sleep impacts EVERYTHING and the long term effects benefit both your child and you! The key to this is waiting to start sleep training until YOU are ready. Parents are such a key component to the success of sleep training so if you’re not 100% committed, don’t start. Wait until you’re ready!
1. Lower Household Stress
Bringing your baby home is such an exciting time but it can also add a lot of stress to your home. Whether it’s your first baby or your fifth, having another person to care for 24/7 can be a lot of work and can bring on a lot of added stress worrying about feeding at the right times, making sure diapers are changed, and of course making sure baby is sleeping. Teaching your baby independent sleep is, in my opinion, the biggest stress reliever in becoming a new parent. Having the confidence to lay your baby down and know that he or she will sleep, and sleep soundly is HUGE. This frees up your time to spend time with your other kids or your spouse, taking a shower in peace or even doing dishes without having to worry about waking up your baby!
2. Happier Baby!
A well rested baby is definitely a happier baby! When babies are overtired, they can’t communicate and tell you that they are too tired and they need a nap. They let us know they’re overtired by crying, screaming and being overall in a grumpy mood. Once you get your baby sleeping better, they spend their awake time SO much happier.
3. Self Care For New Moms!
We hear about it all the time “mom’s need to take time for self care!” But when are we supposed to do it? Between a baby crying and household chores it can feel impossible to take some time for yourself. When your baby starts sleeping independently, it feels like a whole new world of free time opens up! Imagine putting your baby down to sleep at 6:30pm and they fall asleep by 6:45pm. This gives YOU time for YOU to do whatever you need to before you go to sleep. When you start sleep training it may be hard to envision this but I promise you, it will happen!
4. Lifelong Healthy Sleep Habits
With sleep training, you’re not just teaching your baby to sleep well as an infant or toddler, you’re teaching this little person sleep habits that will last a lifetime! When your child has random night waking’s , you can feel confident that you have taught them the skills they need to easily go back to sleep. When a baby is learning to fall asleep on their own, the likelihood that they will be able to fall asleep and stay asleep will increase. This is a taught skill, anyone who says it’s not does not have the facts.
5. Good Amount of REM Sleep!!
One of the biggest benefits of sleep training your baby is SLEEP! For you and for your baby. They say when you have a baby you can say goodbye to the long nights of uninterrupted sleep that you had before your baby was born. That doesn’t have to be the case! Once you teach your baby to sleep through the night you too can enjoy sleeping through the night. It’s a win for both you and your baby.
A baby who gets enough sleep is going to be generally more agreeable, eat better (which is so important for development!), be less fussy, easier to soothe and more responsive. Sleep problems and wake ups several times a night don’t have to be a way of life! There are many different sleep training methods for families to choose from, it’s not a one size fits all program. The best part of working with a sleep coach is that we help guide you and teach you how to teach your baby to sleep independently!