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What to do when your sleep training does not go as planned



I am guessing, if you’re considering hiring a sleep consultant, you’ve done quite a lot of reading about sleep training.


As a matter of fact, you’ve probably looked at about two hundred different websites trying to find out how to get your little one to sleep through the night.

And somewhere in all of that scrolling, you’ve definitely seen people raving about how their baby started going 11-12 hours a night, within a couple of nights.

Then you followed the advice, did everything that you were supposed to do, but here it is a week and a half later, and your baby is still waking for you five or six times a night.


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I can guess you are wondering, what are you doing wrong?


Well, actually maybe nothing. The truth is, some babies take longer to develop those amazing sleep skills than others. Some have formed strong associations between their props and the process of falling asleep. Others might have a significant sleep debt that they’re working on, and will take a little longer to get into the swing of things, and some babies, let’s face it, just have a different temperament, and are going to put up more of a resistance when you try to change their routine. I know, I have a strong-willed child too...!


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And while they’re all different, they’re all completely normal.


Just like crawling, talking, reading and teething, developing great sleep skills takes some children almost no time at all, and takes others a couple of weeks.


If you’ve decided on a sleep program, I recommend that you stick with it, and pull away from the online conversations for a while until you’ve given it a fighting chance. Too much advice and too many success stories can cause you to second guess your approach before it’s had time to take effect, and changing things up just as baby’s starting to get used to the routine is one of the biggest saboteurs of sleep training there is.


I often recommend people start a log when they begin sleep training. It’s amazing how easily we forget the progress that baby makes in the first few days, because we’re so eager for that “miracle” when baby finally sleeps straight through the night. A log will give you a good look back at just what you were dealing with when you first got started, and it’s important to celebrate those small victories and incremental successes. Seeing progress, however small it might be, can be the inspiration you need to keep at it, even when you’re feeling like things aren’t getting better. An example of a log I use can be found below:





However, maybe you are actually doing something wrong. And if you think that’s the case, my suggestion is to look first and foremost at bedtime.


When you put baby to bed, what does the last step of the routine look like? Does it involve baby getting very heavy eyelids, or getting just to the brink of falling asleep, before you put them into the cot?


This approach works for some babies, but if you’re having some trouble getting baby to sleep straight through the night, this is probably the thing I’d suggest you make changes with.


Some babies wake up drowsy and go back to sleep drowsy, so they’re okay with some soothing and drowsiness before they get put down. Others, however, wake up wide-eyed and alert in the night. They’re the ones who need to learn the skill of going from fully awake to asleep all on their own.




Although I know it seems counter-productive, if you think this might be your baby’s issue, then do whatever you need to in order to keep them wide awake through the bedtime routine and put them down in their crib before they start getting drowsy. That doesn’t mean, “at the first sign of drowsiness.” Figure out when they start getting drowsy in the routine and make accommodations to get them into the cot before it happens.


After a few nights of this, you should be noticing an improvement, but if not, don’t give up! Babies love to, and need to sleep, and if yours isn’t sleeping well, there’s a reason. We just need to find it, so call me for a free consultation and we can discuss it further.



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