Sleep Training: Why the controversy?
Updated: Aug 4
Sleep training is one of those highly debated topics that parents tend to feel strongly about. Why is this? In my opinion as a parent who is just trying to do my best, it's because every other parent is doing just that--trying to keep our kids alive and perhaps even thrive under our influence and care! Its a hefty burden to bare for sure. We all have different views and methods of parenting when it comes to sleep. One method that worked for Supermom # 1 may not work for Wonder Woman mom #2. Mom # 3 may have the opinion that sleep training is harmful and would never allow it. The reality is, we all come from different backgrounds, are all shaped by different experiences, and differences ranging from from genetics to living environment will affect our decisions when it comes to sleep or sleep training. In a virtual world where parents are expected to be perfect, mom-shaming and endless debating about parenting choices can create a hostile and often hopeless-feeling environment for even the most veteran parents.
Another reality is, unlike many other developmental milestones, independent sleep just doesn't come 'naturally' for the majority of children, it is a skill that is learned. Some children who perhaps are more 'chill' may pick up this skill without flinching (we allll know mom's who have kids like this!), but for many many others, this is not the reality. What is 'best' choice for each family will be different, period. This leaves parents tasked with the job of figuring out the right balance for their family, whether that is just dealing with any sleep obstacles as they come, sleep training, or a mixture of the two.
That being said, parental choices are yours and yours alone to make. If any professional makes you feel that you are failing to make the best choices you can for your family, he or she is not the right fit for you. Never allow another person to guilt or shame you about your parenting. As a sleep consultant/specialist/coach/educator, I will never try to convince you that your parenting choices are wrong; rather, if you come to me for help, I will support, uplift, and meet you exactly where you are. That's where hiring a sleep consultant can be so beneficial: we have the opportunity to best understand your parenting style, your child's unique temperament and tendencies, your philosophy about sleep, and then can cater a sleep plan that meets your families' needs.
I always recommend parents do their homework. Go straight to the most substantive sources when it comes to understanding sleep training. Think: PubMed or Science Direct databases. So, instead of clicking through popular blog posts and feeds that share personal stories and opinions, look at the data on sleep practices and sleep training methods in evidence-based research studies. Sleep consultants who are trained through the Family Sleep Institute are tasked with sifting through research studies in order to determine exactly where their sleep methods come from and to understand the outcomes on infants and children in both the short and long term. Let me reassure you, the evidence undoubtedly supports and reassures the sleep consulting community that not only are our methods highly effective, but they are also safe.
This parenting game is hard. If you need help with taking the guesswork out of sleep, Sleep Logics, LLC can help you do that. You can also head to the Family Sleep Institute's website to find a local consultant. As an extremely biased aside, when you hire a Sleep Consultant who is also an Occupational Therapist, you will get a cheerleader, advocate, sounding board, milestone enthusiast, and tummy-time lover. Check out my booking options! Feel like sleep training just isn't for you? That's cool too. I'll support that. There is no one right way to parent. You've got this!
(The opinions and advice expressed in this blog post are those of Sleep Logics, LLC alone and are not intended to serve as medical advice. Please contact your pediatrician for sleep concerns.)