There are times when I think my parents must have been pros at sleep training because there is nothing I like more than a nap on the couch! From a dad’s perspective, sleep training is the period when a baby stops falling asleep before being put down because they’re learning to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own — and it’s as important to baby as it is to parents!
I have friends who admit to rocking their son to sleep every night and now that they’re sleep training, they’re ready to pull their hair out. I can’t help but think “No wonder you’re having trouble.”
We started with a routine — bath, fresh pajamas, a story, and off to bed. For my younger kids, we even included a song and a walk around the room so we could say “good night” to all the animals. But once it was time for bed — we knew we had to be firm about the routine. As a dad, I personally love the routine and it works best for me.
I tell my new-parent friends that are just starting to sleep train to read as many books on different strategies as they can — and encourage them to not be afraid to ask around to see what worked for other suggestions. I’d also tell them to brace themselves — sometimes it gets ugly before it gets better. And as parents, they should remember to support each other. If you can hold each other back from running in the room at the sound of baby’s first cry, the clock will switch the other direction,and after a few nights they may only cry to 1-2 minutes or not at all. They’ll get used to the routine and learn to be excellent sleepers (and you’ll get some much deserved shut-eye too!).
Our 8-month-old seems to really love her bed. We have a very quick routine and we both know what to expect — it makes bedtime easy on all of us.
How did you go about sleep training your baby?