This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.This post is sponsored by The Baby Sleep Site. All opinions are my own.
You can only deal with sleepless nights for so long. Here is some expert advice for figuring out when it’s time to consult a sleep professional.
Sleep. We all want it.
Moms, especially, are told that a lifetime of sleepless nights awaits us after having kids. But is that necessarily true?
In my house (three kids aged 4, 2, and almost 1), we have the occasional night-waking by a child once every few weeks, but other than that, they all sleep through the night from 6 or 7:00 P.M. to 6 or 7:00 A.M.
But it wasn’t always that way. Each of my kids has gone through periods of waking several times a night or not napping or waking too early.
And each time I dealt with it as long as I could, until I reached my breaking point. That is when I asked for help.
I remember how happy I was when I found The Baby Sleep Site® when my daughter was a six-month-old. She was crying every time the pacifier fell out of her mouth during the night. The Baby Sleep Site gave me a customized plan to reduce her dependency on her pacifier and get her sleeping through the night unassisted.
It was a godsend. I am so thankful that when I had reached my breaking point, The Baby Sleep Site was there to help.
But everyone has a different breaking point. Yours might come earlier, when your infant is three months old. Maybe you have to go back to work and you need more sleep. Or maybe your child is two years old and you need him to sleep in his bed all night.
We all have our issues and sleep expert Nicole Johnson is here to help. As Lead Consultant at The Baby Sleep Site, Nicole has the following advice to offer about when to consult a professional for sleep help.
“After more than 8 years of working with families around the globe, I’ve learned that baby and toddler sleep problems do NOT discriminate. There are families in every country, families from all walks of life and all income levels, families utilizing a variety of parenting styles and living arrangements, who are at this very moment struggling with sleepless children.
Here’s something that is different, though: the way families respond to these sleep challenges will vary greatly. Some families live with sleep problems for years, counting on their children to simply outgrow them. Other families hit their breaking point very quickly, and decide they can’t handle any more sleepless nights.
And that raises a good question: how do you know when you should just roll with sleep problems, and let them fade on their own? Or when you should work on sleep coaching yourself? Or – even more perplexing – how do you know when it’s time to call in sleep coaching help from a pro?
7 Reasons You May Need Personalized Help For Your Baby or Toddler’s Sleep Problems
1. Your baby or toddler has medical concerns – Medical issues often need a customized sleep coaching plan that takes into account their unique health needs, and is created with a healthcare provider’s recommendations in mind.
2. Your family has a unique lifestyle – There are as many ways to live as there are families under the sun! We’ve worked with parents who do shift work, families who live in multi-generational homes, families who travel overseas on a regular basis…you name it. And in unique situations like these, personalized help can be a real life-saver for parents. It makes a world of difference to have a sleep consultant understand your unique lifestyle and made sleep recommendations that will work with that lifestyle.
3. You have twins or multiples – The traditional wisdom about baby sleep coaching definitely needs to be tweaked and modified for families who have twins or multiples. The basics still apply, of course, but when you have two babies waking each other up, or who are operating on different schedules, it helps to have a consultant standing by who can put a personalized spin on those sleep training basics.
4. You want to keep breastfeeding during sleep coaching, but have concerns – Breastfeeding and sleep coaching really can go together. But if you have any breastfeeding issues that may impact sleep training, or if you are concerned about your milk supply during the sleep coaching process, then it may be a good idea to go with personalized help.
5. Your toddler has significant sleep issues, and has had them since birth – It tends to be harder to sleep coach a toddler. Why? Because toddlers can walk and talk – and because they tend to have very strong wills! This means that in addition to all the work of sleep coaching, parents of toddlers often have a battle of wills to deal with when they begin to work on their toddlers’ sleep. Plus, if your toddler has had napping issues and night-waking problems since birth, she’s had plenty of time to form deeply-ingrained sleep habits, and those can be tough to break. Toddler sleep coaching also tends to take a little longer than baby sleep coaching. For all these reasons, it may take a consultant helping you along through the process, and providing support and encouragement, in order to see real progress with your toddler’s sleep.
6. You are committed to using a no-cry or low-cry sleep training approach – Using gentle methods like these tends to be more involved for parents – there’s more ‘work’ to do, in some ways. And gentle methods typically take longer to produce results. For these reasons, parents can quickly become discouraged when using gentle methods, and can feel like all their effort is for nothing. A pro can help you navigate gentle sleep coaching and keep you motivated.
7. You have already read/tried everything, and nothing has worked – If you feel like you’re at your wit’s end and have tried everything you can without success, you may want to consider personalized help. A sleep consultant will be able to organize the information for you in a new way, and will provide a fresh perspective on your particular situation. And that can make all the difference.
Remember, this isn’t prescriptive – YOU get to determine what kind of help you need, not me. You know what’s best for your baby and for your family.
Rather, this list is meant to be a help to those families who want to work on sleep but don’t know where to start, or who are struggling with their babies’ or toddlers’ sleep and don’t know what to try next.
However you go about working on sleep, I wish you the best of luck and truly hope that you and your family are sleeping happily very soon!”
Nicole Johnson is a married mother of two wonderful boys and owner of The Baby Sleep Site. When her eldest son was born, he had a lot of sleep problems – he would wake every one or two hours, all night long! She got busy and thoroughly researched literature and scientific reports until she became an expert in sleep methods, scheduling routines, baby developmental needs, and more. She overcame her son’s sleeping issues in a way that matched her own parenting style, and knew it was her mission to help other tired parents “find their child’s sleep”.
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