How can I relax as much as possible during sleep training?
Make a plan, go with your gut, and call in reinforcements!
Listening to your baby cry at bedtime while you’re doing sleep training is tough. So – what do you do? You know that you want to go in there to check on her and pick her up, but you know that will probably make everything harder tomorrow. That’s because picking her up after she cries for a long time may teach her that if she just keeps crying, maybe, just maybe, you will come in to get her. So, the next night, she just cries for that much longer.
That said, I typically recommend checking as frequently or as infrequently as you wish. So, go with your gut! If you want to go in, then go in. If and when you do go in, be sure to be consistent. I suggest going into the room, having a plan about what you are going to say, and then giving her a simple phrase such as “goodnight, I love you,” or, “it’s night-night time.” Consistency will be key throughout the process, and it is quite important when talking about checking on her or responding to her cries in any way.
But – what do I do when I’m outside the room?
The best thing to do is to have a plan for yourself. Think about what calms you down in general. You can say prayers, do some deep breathing exercises, call a good friend or family member, listen to music, or even go to a completely different part of the home if at all possible. For some people, physical activity also helps nervousness or uncomfortable feelings. Think about what you are trying to achieve. Although it is hard at the moment it will help your ultimate goal of getting a good night’s sleep for your little one and your family. You can also make a plan with other caregivers in the home to see if someone else can do bedtime so you can take a break. As I mentioned, having a plan is the important part.
Finally, after I recorded this video Dr. Melisa Moore gave me some more excellent ideas. She said that she sometimes recommends that you do something that you really enjoy that you only do during that time. For instance, you can read a chapter of a really exciting mystery, or watch an episode of a show you really like – something that really makes you want to keep watching to see what happens next. This can help with some distraction and motivation to continue with the sleep training as you continue with the book or television series. As long as the baby is safe in her sleep environment and she can be monitored, Dr. Moore also mentioned that she recommends that you consider taking a long shower after you the baby into the crib to sleep.About Dr. Erin Leichman