When it comes to a baby not sleeping well one of the things I have noticed in the years of experience is parents look for excuses….Right, we wont to make sense of it and we don’t like not knowing why about things, especially when it come to our children. So, when we still have a six-month-old baby who is still up through the night 5-6 times a night we look for reason why!
so what I have found the most common reasons or excuses ( let’s call them to be more honest ) that parents come up with are things like he’s in a growth spurt, or she is teething, or he has some gas problems, we look for all these reason that will “explain” why our child is not sleeping so great! So lets ask, could those things be valid, yes they could be but most of the thing it is found to be more the parent looking for reassurance or validation that may be this will pass, its just a phase, she’s getting some teeth, or he has a bit of a tummy ache. These all could be but most of the time these are all excuse that you as parent use to appease / assure yourself in the current situation with little lies in order to make yourself feel a little bit better about all of the sleep situation. I do get this and also understand why if you haven’t been sleeping well for the last 3-6months then I get you are just looking for the answer that will allow you to make it through the day and your holding out hope that the teething will pass and once the tooth as broken through, or this growth burst passed or once the current developmental milestone goes away it will all pass and that somehow this child is all of sudden going to start sleeping well.
So today I am going to talk to you about when is a good time to start my program and by start, I mean using the Lisa Gargaro Sleep Co Sleep Program to teach your child how to sleep well. I will highlight some of the good reasons why you shouldn’t start and debunk some of the reasons why people should be but they don’t.
One of the common things that I hear in this business is I don’t think it is a good time to start this program because my child is teething….this one is huge, that one is the number one excuse / reason why people are stopping or stalling to start the program. So I have to be honest with them and say well come back to start then when the child is 2 as teething will be something that will come and go, come and go, come and go throughout the first couple of years in fact probably 2 ½ years old before all of those teeth are in. In my opinion that is 2 ½ years of anguish & bad sleep that no one deserves. Not even the child deserves to have 2 years of poor sleep. So I would say lets put the teething excuse / reason to bed unless you actually see the little tooth cutting gum then we can say there is physical discomfort. Now this has been researched and research and I have hunted high and low for evidence to state that any other point there is discomfort… there is none. Now the cutting of the gum takes a couple of days and then pain should subside. Yeah so course if you see that happening then yes you should postpone the training for a couple of day while the tooth cut through as there is no point in adding anymore stress to an already stressed infant but once that is through go ahead and start. If however your child is just drooling and chewing on things then that is just what babies do. They stick things in their mouths, they drool this has nothing to do with teething its not causing them any pain even if they are chewing on everything they can get their fingers on. Simply that is what babies do. So lets go ahead and start a program and get everyone sleeping well if that is the case.
Another reason why people wait or stall or put off starting a program is because their child is not eating well. So this will be our older babies. Say our 10month olds, our 1year olds, 15 months olds, those starting to push into the toddler realms. Once they hide the 1year old they should be eating the majority of their daily calories from solid foods and milk whether is breast or formula , milk then becomes a beverage. An compliment and this can be a hard transition for some kids as it is easier to down a 8oz glass of milk than to sit and eat a meal with a lot of kids preferring the easier road and are therefore drinking most of their calories, which then cause parents worry. When they say she isn’t eating that great during the day so I am going to continue to offer and give night feeds by milk. So I am going to tell you, you are in a catch 22 situation, so she is not eat well during the day as she is eating during the night, so guess what she will never eat well during the day if she is topping up her calories during the night. So, by taking away the night time calories up will see your child over the next week days consuming more calories during the days as they are not getting those calories during the night anymore. I wish to be clear here, I am talking older babies by that I mean the 11-18month old babies age range and I am not talking about new-born’s or infants / young babies in any way shape or form. This is very important to stress this point and be very clear about this fact. If for the older babies then let’s go ahead and start, lets get this child sleeping well, lets get them not eating calories during the night and she will naturally start consuming more during the day. The best way to do this is every 2hours during the day you are offering some sort of solid food with compliment of milk, setting the boundaries that food is the main calorie source and not milk which will in turn fix the feeding during the night as you know they have eaten well and its not hunger that has woken them. The amount of time I have had a client tell me their child is not eating well during the day that when we stop the night time feeding then boom the next few days the child starts eating well during the day and night time feeding stops. We have also found that when they sleep better and more consolidated then they actually start eating better also just for that fact alone. Making this great news so you should go ahead and start.
The last one now is that your child is not eating solids yet…so this will be our younger babies, this will be say the 4- 5months age range and you are thinking I am not sure if I should start this yet as they have not started solids yet, I am here to say that starting solids have nothing to do with sleeping well…nothing. I mean that, it really has nothing to do with it. If you have a baby who is a great weight, whether it be breast or formula milk that doesn’t matter either. In either scenario you can still have a great sleeper, Are they sleeping all the way through the night? Maybe, maybe not, and I am not that sticky around that if you wish to give you 5month old one-night time feed then sure go ahead and do that. But you can absolutely teach them to sleep independently AND offer them a night time feed. The 2 don’t have to mutually exclusive, they only thing you need to keep an eye on is making sure you don’t feed your baby to sleep in the night. If you are trying to brake that prop association between feeding and sleep then if you feed in the night then keep them awake through that feed and then place back into the crib to use their own skills to fall back to sleep again.
This is the whole point of the sleep training, is to get them to learn their own method to sleep independently and not rely on external sources to do all the work for you. SO if you have a 4 month old who is up during night say 8 x a night or 5 x a night now is actually a great time to teach them to sleep well, they can absolutely learn independent sleeping skills and I have taught many new born babies how to self soothe from the moment they came home from the hospital. SO I know this is all possible and you don’t have to wait for some magic age to teach them this or wait until they are 6months or what you are being told by those all to good intention advise givers. You can absolutely do this at any age. The differences are in how you do it not that is not possible and I would encourage you to reach out to myself to get the best individual advice for the best program & method being that one is age appropriate to ensure success and not to make the matters worse by taking well intended advice which is not appropriate for your child. The little younger babies most definitely have a different program and I definitely do things differently for these children, but that will not stop them for learning how to sleep well independently.
So when might you not wish to start sleep training?
these ones I would offer caution about starting training, I have 3.
First one is sickness. You have bought you program you are ready to start on the Friday night and on the Friday day you start to notice she is not quite herself, she has a fever, or she has the sniffles your little one has picked up a sickness bug, this will not be great time to start. She is already sick we don’t wish to stress her or her body out any further by doing some changes to her current routines, so we will carry on doing what she has been doing making sure she is getting as much rest as she can throughout the illness and once she is better then, we start. It is a couple of days of her feeling well then we can start the program and will have a much better success with it when you go ahead and start.
Should you start the program and during the middle of it your child gets sick then it will really depend on the kind of sickness they child has got as to whether or not you continue with the program. If its just a cold then you should continue with it making sure they are a comfortable as you can possibility make them but keep going, you may have to go in to comfort them more often than you would have ideally been doing but sticking with them getting good sleep will actually help them recover quicker. GO in offer a cuddle & love, if you need to pick them up then do this giving them the love is essential to give allow them the space to continue to self sooth and offer the reassurance that everything is OK and you are there for them but you cant do it for them. They need to learn to do this without their sleep prop. I personally think that is better than abandoning the plan completely and then having to start again from scratch once they are well again. However, should she be running a high temperature. Fever, or something more serious is going on then, absolutely you should stop and then just pick this back up again once they are feeling well again.
The third and final reason why you may wish to hold off on starting a sleep co sleep program would be if you are about to move in the next week or two, and that is really just if we are talking about the toddler range, 18month at up. If you have a move coming up in a few weeks to a month then wait until after the move. For toddlers. Any kind of environmental change for a toddler can throw them off, toddler tend to be very black & white thinkers and a change in their home or room and be a sit of setting for them. Wait a few weeks for them to get settled into their new home, surrounding and room the you can go ahead and start. If you have younger babies, under 1 years, if you have a move coming up then if you are feeling up to it then go ahead and start however if you are feeling stressed (and let’s face it moving is with it being in the top5 most stressful things you can do ) then starting a new sleep program may not help you therefore it maybe best to wait until you are in your new home so you don’t add anymore undue stress to what is already a challenging time especially in the first few couple of days. Have a good look at yourself and are feeling you can manage to do this then do it. Under 1’s can adapt well so it can be a great idea just to start.
These are the only reason why I would tell someone to hold off or wait from sleep training. Its never to soon and its never to late to teach your child to sleep well and it a gift that will last your child a lifetime.