Cry it out or gentle sleep?
Friday 13th of November
Recently a consultant in our team had the unfortunate experience of seeing a mum leave her own coffee group and walk out during a sleep talk. The sleep consultant was describing cry it out and how to successfully use it when appropriate. The mum in question had twins who hadn’t slept for the first 6 months of their lives for more than 2 hours in a row. Imagine that multiplied by 2, having to re-settle 2 babies or feed 2 babies every 2 hours for 6 months.
Mum had made the decision based on her circumstances and her parenting style to use cry it out, her babies now successfully settled to sleep and slept for 8 hours each a night.
Everyone at the coffee group new this mum as a friend, they loved her twins, yet not knowing her personal circumstances felt it was ok to speak derogatively about this mother’s choices in sleep training her twins. Their comments hurt this mum so much she got up and walked out.
I wish so much that mummy culture would begin to accept that we are all different and have such different parenting styles. There is no wrong or right way to parent or sleep train, there is just the best way for YOUR family. Be careful what you say when around other mother’s you never know what they are going through at home.
Gentle Sleep Training
This week I have had an influx of gentle sleep training clients, moving from co-sleeping or feeding to sleep with independent sleep. A key part of their sleep training process has been reducing night feeds and increasing day time calorie intake.
Because they are over 9 months a lot of this calorie increase has been with good nutrient dense solids. More protein, fats and carbohydrates, concentrating the carbohydrates at dinner and the protein at lunch, also adding dessert. Dessert is often seen as a treat, but is actually an easy way to increase calories and an important part of a healthy diet.
One baby is having mango and coconut “ice cream” (just frozen mango puree and coconut cream) the other is having banana coconut ice-cream, same concept! Yum!
Its been really great seeing the mums get to know their babies cry’s and identifying frustration, over tiredness and emotional crying. This has helped them know how to respond, and when to increase how much they are “helping” their baby to settle. An amazing transformation from co-sleeping to sleeping through! So proud of these mums and the journey’s they have been on.
I have received a lot of calls this week of toddlers and babies who have had their sleep disturbed by fire works and now appear to be afraid to sleep.
When anything has scared your child at bed time or over night, sometimes sleeping in their room might be necessary, either on the night of the fireworks or for a few nights afterwards. This is my preferred solution to bringing them into your bed unless you are happy with long term bed sharing. It is much easier for you to gradually leave the room than it is for you to kick them from your bed in a couple of nights.
Their fear is real, acknowledge that and stay with them as they begin to regain security around sleep. You don’t need to suddenly rock them to sleep, or feed them to sleep, your presence and voice and occasional touch should be enough……if you are patient.
But this is one of those short term patience for long term gain, situations.
Stay tuned for more sleep columns in the coming months.
Emma is the owner and founder of Baby Sleep Consultant, she is a certified infant and child sleep consultant, Happiest Baby on the block educator, has a Bachelor of Science, and Diploma in Education. Emma is a mother to 3 children, and loves writing when she isn't working with tired clients and cheering on her team helping thousands of mums just like you.
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