Baby Quinn - When sleep training is not appropriate.
When sleep training is not appropriate.
Sometimes sleep training is actually not the most appropriate thing to be doing at a certain time, this is not usually a simple decision as a child needs to be very sick or not in a stable living environment for us to usually make this call, or in this situation when the parents are not ready.
Being ready for change is the biggest factor in determining how successful you will be at sleep training your child, and a lot of parents don’t really take this into consideration when making the call to sleep train.
Sometimes parents are not even aware they are not ready to sleep train, but it becomes quickly apparent through days of inconsistent settling and inconsistent responses and timing that the parents are not ready to commit to the process.
Another factor in considering if sleep training is right for you is your mental state and mental ability to cope with stress right now, as often sleep training is emotionally draining for a few days, and can increase your feelings of stress for 24-48 hours as you make a big change, and you need to be 100% confident you can cope with this right now.
A tough call
A tough call for us is around post natal depression and post natal anxiety, these conditions are often made worse by sleep deprivation so improving your sleeping situation can be a good idea, but then on the other hand if you are too anxious or suffering from too severe depression then the sleep training might be the final straw which breaks the mothers back so to speak.
Baby Quinn was nearly 5 months when I met his mum on a home consult, she was such a sweetheart but from the minute we started talking about the situation the tears started flowing, while this in itself is not unusual, (often parents feel immense relief when they off load their story onto someone else) this mother was very tearful and anxious through out the 2 hours when I was with her, and we easily and successfully settled baby Quinn with a better swaddle, some louder white noise and a darker environment but this didn’t alleviate her stress or anxiety too much.
As we talked about the options to help teach Quinn to take better longer naps, I could sense this was only increasing her anxiety levels, we had a gentle discussion around this and mum new she was feeling very anxious and not surprisingly really Quinn had had a rough start to life, and he was now on neocate due to a Dairy issue and mum was strictly dairy free and pumping and taking dom to get her supply up to express enough to mix feed and do the “right” thing for Quinn.
Something had to give
Mum’s day was spent either trying to settle Quinn, trying to pump for endless hours with little milk production, or feed Quinn or medicate Quinn or settle Quinn, or pump for Quinn. Now we were going to throw sleep training into the equation?
Not a chance.
Where was the mum in all of this?
Where was the lovely walk in the afternoon sun with Quinn to get a coffee and where was the eating lunch or resting for 5 minutes for mum?
Sometimes mum needs to be bumped to the top of the priority list in order to get into the right head space to even contemplate sleep training.
Luckily I could see several areas around timing, sleep environment, sleep cues, and sleep associations which would really help Quinn to take longer naps.
We decided to work on these which took no extra effort for mum, just a change from what she was currently doing and keep Quinn’s dummy so there was no stress around crying and sleep.
We decided to work on these small changes only and see how Quinn managed over a week.
The great news was that making small changes to his environment, timing of his naps and sleep associations resulted in much longer naps for Quinn (up to 2 hours), which resulted in more time for mum to express milk, and rest and eat!
Which resulted in a happier less anxious mum who now had time to focus on herself and becoming the mum she wanted to be.
We love working with babies and mums, we are not clinical psychologists and can’t diagnose but definitely realise when there is more going on than simple sleep deprivation, and in every case want the very best for the mother and the baby.
Happy mum = Happy baby
Wow so refreshing to see a holistic approach, well done guys