If you haven't heard me say it yet, I am here to tell you, sleep training can be controversial. It's not the right choice for every family, but it can also be the perfect choice for others. It literally saved me. Once you've gone through the back and forth and finally decided sleep training (or really any other controversial parent choice) is right for you, the trial isn't over. You still have to deal with everyone else, and their opinions. In reality, there are only two opinions that matter: you and your partner. That's it!
Let's start there. I do believe it is important for both parents to be on the same page when sleep training. And finding that page may mean waiting for the right time. Other parents have had to switch up nighttime roles so their spouse could understand how debilitating waking multiple times all night long can really be. Sometimes it can look like being flexible on the sleep training method chosen. Other times it can mean a few nights away. This is a real option. I once had a client where the wife stayed in a hotel for two nights. She knew what they needed to do, her husband was willing to do it, but she knew she couldn't even be in the home. Be creative! I am a firm believer that there is a solution out there for most problems we just have to be creative enough to find the answer. We also need to be able to communicate effectively and be willing to be vulnerable. As a licensed marriage and family therapist I have the skills and training to help couples find the right solution for them. I would love to help you too! I offer a 60 minute consultation that you can schedule here.
I wish that once you have the support of your partner you are good, to go. Unfortunately, the real trial has just begun. It seems that once you make a decision as a couple everyone wants to share their own strong and obviously 'right' opinions about why you are wrong. I do believe that almost all the people that are sharing their opinions are truly doing so because they love you and care for you (except for the Karens on the internet. Don't even listen to them!) and to put it simply their values and experiences are just different than yours. Yet, sometimes, maybe even most the time, it really isn't helpful. See, you've already weighed your options, discussed them with your partner and made a decision. Your mind has already been made. And even when you know where you stand it can be difficult to respond to those comments that tear you and your decision apart. Don't worry! I've got your back! Here is my go to response to those I love (or don't love) who share their opinion on a parenting choice I am already committed to: “I am so grateful there are so many different but good ways to take care of our children so each family can find the best fit for their family.” Another option might be, "I appreciate your concern. We've already weighed the pros and cons and feel this is the best choice for our family and I'd rather not discuss it further."
Boom! Done! Sometimes just having a sentence written up can make a world of difference. You already know what you are going to say, you don't have to think and you will be able to handle any uncomfortable situation without regrets. There's still one more critic we need to know how to respond to and it's you!
Yep! You read that right. Sleep training is hard and even when you've carefully chosen your plan you may still turn into your worst enemy right in the middle of it. Doubts inevitable show up, at the most inconvenient time. Know now how you will respond. First, write down your why for sleep training. Dig deep! This is important, it will keep you motivated when you want to quit. Second, choose some affirmations so repeat over and over to yourself when it gets hard. Here are a few examples:
I know my family best and I am the best person to make this decision.
Any change that is worth making is going to be hard.
This too shall pass.
I am the parent, I know my child, self, and family situation best. I am trusting my gut.
We can do this!
My child can do this! He/she is strong, capable, and a fast learner.
Just wait! (If you've taken my newborn course you know the power of this one!)
Sleep training will not hurt the attachment I have built with my child.
Crying is okay (how much crying will depend on your own values and chosen sleep training method).
I have taken care of my baby, and now he/she gets to take care of sleep on their own.
Obviously you could add to or take away from this list. Pick the ones th