Are the Benefits of Sleep Training Worth It?
Before I discovered the benefits of sleep training, I was mad, sad, and tired. Mad at myself for not being able to get my baby to sleep. Sad, because I wanted to be the world’s greatest mom, and tired of feeling like a failure because my baby wasn’t sleeping.
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Once you lay your baby down with all her needs met, the only thing she needs is sleep! When her belly is full she doesn’t need more food. When she’s been loved on all day, she doesn’t need snuggles. She’s not in great pain from teething (more on that another time.)
Before I Knew the Sleep Training Truth
I had a plan for sleep training my
It just wasn’t that easy.
After explaining to my pediatrician the hopelessness I felt at that 2-month check-up, he said, “You have to do whatever you have to do to get some sleep!” Something about the way he said it hit me hard.
He couldn’t come out and say, put him on his belly, let him cry, or co-sleep, because of liability. BUT… he knew a desperate Mommy when he saw one.
He was kind enough to look me in the eye and get the point across. Sleep is critical and my baby and I both needed to be getting it! I needed to get past my selfish fears and provide my baby with the sleep
This experience is what prompted me to come up with my own sleep training system that I was comfortable with and that would produce results!
Why Do We Ignore the Benefits of Sleep Training?
When was the last time you read a sentence like this: Letting a baby cry can cause brain damage!? There are no shortage of blog posts and articles floating around about sleep training, the effects of too much cortisol in a child’s brain, and whether or not sleep training is beneficial.
Cry, damage and brain are scary words for a new mom!
Someone writes the stuff we find these words in, right? And they must have gotten their information from somewhere. So where do these articles originate from?
What IS the truth behind these scary articles?
- Most of those articled source studies in mention were performed on grossly neglected babies. GROSSLY. NEGLECTED. Let me ask you; is your baby grossly neglected? No, I didn’t think so…
The Dangers of Lack of Sleep in C
- defiant behavior
- poor grades
- low attention span
- seeing the world in a negative light
- Lastly… Mental Disorders: Lack of sleep leads to various mental disorders like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and depression source
Dangers of Bad Sleeping Habits Persisting Into A
- memory loss
- trouble concentrating
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- depression (there’s that word again)
- weakened immune system (more likely to get flu and colds) source
- Lastly… bad sleep increases levels of some proteins that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. source
Babies are not immune to these side effects
The Top 5 Benefits of Sleep Training Your Baby
#1. Your Baby’s Health.
Humans need more sleep than most will admit. There’s no such thing as “I just don’t need that much sleep!”
The “go, go, go” way of life the majority of folks have adopted has led to a vast array of health problems including (but not limited to) those I’ve mentioned above.
Babies need massive amounts of sleep. There is SO much development happening in your baby’s brain. Pathways are being created, synapses are being formed, and the person your baby will someday be is a result of these very foundational elements.
Every component of that development is dependent upon sleep.
The connections between your baby’s right brain hemisphere and left brain hemisphere are formed during sleep. This means sleep is LITERALLY necessary for your baby’s brain to develop.
#2. Your Baby’s Temperament
A well-rested baby is a happy baby.
You’ll have a whole lot of child training to do for the next 18+ years. It’s intensely difficult to train your baby effectively if she cries all the time.
You’ll never know if she’s crying because she’s sick or because she’s simply cranky due to sleep deprivation.
It’ll be impossible to know if she’s crying due to teething or because she’s tired.
Determining whether or not she can tolerate
Every single aspect of your parenting will be better, more effective, and plain-ole-easier when you are confident that your baby is getting the sleep needed!
#3. Better Parenting
Take a look back over the dangers of poor sleep habits for adults. Those things really happen… on the regular…, particularly for moms with babies.
Those symptoms are brushed off as “mom fog” or dismissed as “part of the territory, but the truth is, they are dangerous… and largely preventable.
Recently I received a phone call from a mom who was at the end of her rope. She had a small child with special needs and had just had another baby who wasn’t sleeping. She simply could not function on a daily basis.
We worked together to get her baby sleeping, then worked some more to get her sleeping restoratively as well!
She was on the verge of anti-depressants and insomnia medication when all she actually needed was sleep.
She’s now able to care for both her children confidently, thanks to the benefits of sleep training!
#4. Better Relationship for Mom and Dad
During a recent interview with Fatherly, my husband and I discussed how we’ve kept our marriage so healthy over all these years and the birth of 4 children!
When the reporter asked me what parents can do to keep their relationship a priority, I responded with “Sleep!”
Sleep training for the babies, sleep schedules for the kids and going to sleep together for mom and dad. Sleep training gives your the liberty to create a sleep schedule when your kids are older. A predictable sleep schedule allows you to have a few hours alone together as a couple to invest in your relationship!
#5. Foundation of Obedience in Your Child
One of the most basic (and important) benefits of sleep training is the foundation of obedience you’re creating.
Let’s get metaphorical for a moment and think of parenting as a path. When the first step on that path is one of confidently providing your child with the sleep she needs, by firmly setting loving parameters that benefit her health, you set your parenting up for a great next step on the path!
Subsequent authoritative parenting will be approached more confidently as a result of your early success with sleep training. This bodes well for you and your child! You can read my
Proper Perspective on the Benefits of Sleep Training
I’ve been researching the importance of getting consistent, uninterrupted, good sleep for over a decade. The risk to your baby’s health from lack of sleep is real.
Let me ask you this: When was the last time you saw a mom walking around with a child who came out of her perfectly healthy, was not “grossly neglected” then suffered brain damage after appropriate sleep training?
Let me ask you another question: When was the last time you saw a mom walking through the grocery store with a defiant toddler? Or, the last time you heard a mom talk about her kid having a low attention span or trouble in school?
Answer #1: Never.
Answer #2: All. The. Time.
Will Sleep Training Be a Mistake?
Your baby can’t sleep and only you can change that.
Now that you know the risks of your baby not getting enough sleep, far outweigh the imaginary risks of sleep training, you’re going to get that baby sleeping and that’s all that matters. He’ll be getting the sleep he needs soon.
It’s hard to look into the face of that precious baby and believe you will ever make a mistake with her. I was certain, I would win mommy awards. Here I am, all these years later and I have made mistakes! However, sleep training was not one of them!
You can not raise the same child twice. There is no way to know whether you could have made a better decision. You can’t relive this life in a different way in order to preview two different outcomes ahead of time.
You must simply ask yourself what you can do to set your baby up for a successful life. Take the very best information, seek guidance, pray, and make a decision!
Finally, there is no magic button to get your baby to sleep through the night. There is no one word, trick, prayer, device or method that will do this for you. It’s up to you!
Sleep Training Supplies List
- The most important being the sleep training guide
- Get an affordable sound machine here. Waterfall is the best setting for sleep training if you decide to use this sound machine.
- Or get the baby shusher here. (this wasn’t available when I had infants, or I would have gotten one.)
- Get the right kind of baby pajamas for sleep training success here.
- Lastly, get a great kitchen timer like this one here. Or you could also use the timer on your phone.
A note about pacifiers.
**I like pacifiers, for a lot of reasons, (we don’t have time for today.) Overall, I think pacifiers are a good thing. However, they are not useful for sleep training. They will fall out of your baby’s mouth at night, and putting it back in every time it falls out is not good sleep training!
Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Sleep Training
Your baby needs consistent, uninterrupted sleep, in a bad, bad way! Some scary words are not true, but some are. The benefits of sleep training can be life-changing for both your baby and you. Now that you know the truth about how much you both stand to gain from sleep training, you’ll be more confident to tackle this difficult mom
Thank you for pointing out all the dangers of lack of sleep! If I shared this with my Montessori audience, I’d be strung up! Babies need sleep! Families need sleep! Thank you!
You are absolutely correct… humans NEED sleep! Thanks so much for saying hello and I’m glad you found the article helpful!
My 8 month old is still breastfeeding. We sleep trained early on and have no issues (most days) with falling asleep for naps or bedtime but he doesn’t seem to sleep long with out waking to feed. Bedtime 6:30-7:30, first waking 11-12 (if he skips this one he only wakes one time) second waking 2-3 am, third waking 4-430am waking up at 6-7am. Each time I feed him should I wait the 15 minutes to go check in him at each waking in the night?
Thanks so much for saying hello! At 8-months-old, I would recommend only one night-time feeding, while working quickly toward zero feedings at night. Both for sleeping habits and healthy oral hygiene. I would use the same process that I lay out in the Yawny Baby Sleep training guide to address nighttime feedings. You can use the guide instructions for permanently cutting the excessive night-time feedings as well as properly getting him back to sleep after the one night-time feeding you are keeping. If you haven’t read the guide yet, you can request a copy of it here.
I’m pretty sure it would be impossible to say AMEN loud enough in response to this article! 🙂 Shelley was literally a godsend after we had our first child. I soaked up everything she said about sleep training, did my own research too, and applied it all in a way that worked for our family and our baby. I’ll be honest–it wasn’t easy letting her cry. And training a good sleeper definitely didn’t happen in one night…or two, or three… But it was SO worth it!!! We sleep trained our second child as well and will do the same thing with any more children we have. It’s like so many other areas of parenting–it’s difficult, it requires lots of consistency, and it takes time. But the rewards are absolutely priceless.
Working with your family was a privilege! Thank you for sharing your experience. It is so important for parents who have accomplished something and are on the success side of the challenge to look back and speak encouragement to the parent who is facing the challenge with uncertainty! xoxo Many Blessings!