During my Instagram Q&A or on client and discovery calls, something that always comes up are the sleep myths that the sleep training industry tries to sell. I have said this before, but sleep training preys on the fears of already exhausted and overwhelmed parents, so it’s natural they have concerns about the best choices when it comes to their infant or toddler’s sleep. In this episode, I want to break down seven of the most common sleep training arguments I hear – why they are actually myths and actions you can take instead that will shift nap time and night time from a stressor, to something that is actually restful and that fills you with confidence. Did I miss anything? Let me know!
- The reminder that sleep is a biological function, an ability that we are all born with and know how to do and what to do instead of trying to force or train our baby to sleep
- What self-soothing is and the impact it has on our baby’s nervous system and ability to sleep
- The difference between self-soothing and self-settling and why one is not better than the other
- What secure attachment is and why it is key for the development of our baby
- Why sleep training isn’t actually a viable solution because it doesn’t address the root cause of baby’s tears
- The benefits of motion sleep and why it’s not something we should try to stray from
- Understanding the trauma isn’t only held in the memories, it’s held in the body, too and how sleep training impacts this
- The Possum’s Clinic
- Dr. Stuart Shanker
- Gordon Neufeld
- Gabor Mate
- Allan Schore
- Safe Infant Sleep by Dr. James McKenna
- Learning to sleep through the night: Solution or strain for mothers and young children? Study from Meret Keller and Wendy Goldberg
- Isla Grace
- The Body Keeps the Score by Besser van der Kolk
- Resting in the First Year (Comprehensive 0-12 month Sleep Course)
Read a raw, unedited transcript of this episode.
Hello, hello. I hope you’re having a wonderful day, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. I am so excited about today’s episode because I think you’re going to find it very helpful. But before we jump right in, I do want to start as I always start, which is by sharing how I’m currently finding rest in motherhood. I am currently finding rest in motherhood by really just tuning into what…
I’m doing and not comparing myself to other moms or other families that I see either in real life or on the internet.
Social media can be a great place because it’s a place where we can learn a lot, we can build a sense of community, but it’s also a place where we can really start comparing ourselves to what other people are doing. We see the moms who have all of the Pinterest perfect activities, or they always have the most beautiful meals that they’re posting. And so we can start really beating ourselves up for the things that we’re not doing without focusing on.
the things that we are doing and what’s going on in our life. So I have been really intentional of just kind of tuning out all of that noise, tuning into my unique motherhood journey, my unique child, and really stopping myself from comparing or beating myself up because I’m not doing what that mom on social media that I saw is doing. So.
I hope that as I say this, you are thinking about how you’re currently finding rest in motherhood or how you can find rest in motherhood this week. So I will jump right into what I want to chat about today, which is debunking sleep training myths. I hear all the time, whether it be when I am doing my weekly Instagram Q&A or from clients,
all of these sleep training myths that sleep trainers will tell. And the interesting thing about all of them is they all instill fear. They instill this fear in us that if we don’t sleep train, bad things are going to happen, or if we don’t sleep train, our child is never going to sleep through the night, or we’re doing them a disservice by not sleep training. And I first just wanna stop us and really look at that, right?
All of this is based on fear because fear sells. If we’re not afraid, if everything in our, if we had no idea about baby sleep, we had no idea about sleep schedules and wake windows and all of this stuff, we would just probably raise our baby, do like what felt right for us, be very intuitive in our parenting, but this fear has creeped in and it’s.
The sleep training industry has done a wonderful job of it. They’ve made us really afraid. And now we feel like our only option is to sleep train because if we don’t, X, Y, Z is going to happen. So I wanted to break down these sleep training myths. There’s even more out there, but I wanna talk about the most common. So the biggest, most blatant one is you can train a baby to sleep, which is completely false.
Sleep is a biological function, meaning that it is something we are born.
Meaning it is something we are born knowing how to do, just like eating and eliminating. Think about babies in the womb, they sleep just fine. Falling asleep is not within our conscious control, both adults and babies. So it is impossible to teach anyone how to do this.
We all know that the harder we try to fall asleep or the more we focus on falling asleep, the harder it is. I want you to put yourself on a night, like think back to a night where you’ve had a really hard time falling asleep and you toss and you turn and you can feel the clock ticking even if you can’t actually hear one and you look at it and it’s like, oh my gosh, it’s midnight. I’ve been trying to fall asleep for an hour. And then you toss and turn some more trying to focus on falling asleep.
It’s that same concept. The more we try to force sleep on ourselves, the harder it gets, the further away sleep gets. And we need to understand that there are two main drivers in sleep for humans. Sleep-wake homeostasis and our circadian clock or circadian rhythm. They both make sure that our bodies fall asleep when they need to. So no amount of schedules, crying or training can do this. Only our bodies.
And throughout the day, sleep inducing hormones build up sleep pressure until we reach a point where we absolutely need to fall asleep. This sleep pressure builds up throughout the day and then it lessens a bit with naps for children and babies until it reaches its peak at the end of the day and we fall asleep for the night. After this, we usually have our longest stretch of sleep. And another really important thing to realize is that no human can fall asleep
if they feel that they are not safe. So, for example, as a human, an adult human, if we knew that there was a fire outside our door, we wouldn’t be able to fall asleep. For a baby, they see being away from us as a threat. They need us close in order to feel safe and secure. Babies fall asleep in the womb because there is no danger. They are in literally the safest place they could be.
If we continue to think of maintaining the idea of the womb after birth, by keeping our baby close to their primary attachment figures, we see that babies sleep just fine. They may sleep 20 minutes or two hours depending on what they need, not what we have decided they need or not what the sleep training industry has said they need to sleep.
So since we can’t train or teach a baby to sleep, what do we do? We show our little one that sleep is a safe and inviting space. We send them to sleep feeling safe and secure. We tune into them to learn their unique sleepy cues and wake windows. From there, we offer sleep in a way that relaxes them and calms them. If they’re not in a state of fear or stress,
they will fall asleep and remain asleep until they have a need. I do wanna put a little caveat there and say, that is for a baby who doesn’t have any underlying issues going on. If they have an underlying issue going on, then that is going to wake them up more frequently than what they would normally wake up. But again, sleep training is not going to fix that, especially if there’s an underlying issue going on. So if your little one is having a hard time falling asleep,
You’ll want to ask yourself, are they comfortable? Have they received enough?
Have they received enough sensory stimulation throughout the day? Meaning, have they been given opportunities to use their senses in different ways? If we’re spending hours upon hours in our day sitting in a dark room, trying to get them to sleep, they’re probably under-stimulated, which is going to make it hard for them to fall asleep. So getting out of the house to walk around in the sunshine and fresh air will relieve…
will lead to it.
will lead to relaxation and healthy stimulation and relaxation for ourselves and regulation for ourselves if we start feeling really stressed about sleep. So not only is it going to help us mentally, it’s going to help our little one with sleep as well. You’ll also wanna ask yourself, are their nutritional needs being met? Am I tuning into their unique hunger cues or am I trying to keep them on a feeding schedule?
that sleep trainer I saw on Instagram said that they need to be on, or the internet told me that I need to keep them on. You’ll also wanna ask yourself, has sleep become a stressful place? Have we gotten to a place where I’m constantly fighting them to sleep so every time we go into nap time, I’m frustrated? If that’s the case, baby’s going to pick up on that and we’ve already created a place that doesn’t feel safe, baby knows.
Mom has negative feelings around this when we go into sleep, which automatically puts their defenses up. And as we just talked about, babies need to feel safe and secure when going to sleep. If their caregiver is kind of giving off this anxious energy, they’re already sensing that sleep is not a safe space. You’ll also wanna ask yourself, have I spent hours upon hours during the day trying to force my baby to sleep?
Have I spent hours at night trying to force a bedtime on them when they aren’t tired? Again, this is going to have negative effects on their sleep because it’s going to make us more anxious about sleep and then they’re going to pick up on these emotions and they won’t fall asleep if they’re feeling stressed. Possum’s Clinic has a great quote. They say, the best sleep outcomes long-term come about if our babies or children’s sleep times
are consistently pleasurable and easy. That is, if the sympathetic nervous system is consistently dialed down for sleep, creating positive associations, the biological sleep regularity will kick in easily at bedtimes and this becomes a habit. So let’s say that in layman’s terms. The more enjoyable we make bedtime, the more peaceful we make bedtime, the easier sleep is going to be because we have
created a very positive and safe association with sleep, which would leaving a baby to cry create a positive association with sleep? I don’t think so. So now we know we can’t force sleep or teach our babies to sleep, but what can we do? We can make sure that they know sleep is a very safe and inviting space.
We can help them fall asleep in a calm and peaceful way for naps and bedtime. We can answer their cries night and day so they learn that they can depend on us and that we will come, whatever their need is. Lastly, by following their unique sleepy cues and offering sleep when they are tired, we can help them learn what tired feels like so they are better in tune with their own body. I’ll never forget the first time
My daughter, when she was still napping, one of our nap time routines was just simply shutting the blinds. We had a super simple nap routine of walking in the room, shutting the blinds together, laying down on the bed to nurse. That was as simple as our routine was. I will never forget the first time it was almost nap time, we were playing, she looked at me, walked into our room, pointed at the shades.
like it was time for them to come down. I said, are you tired? And she pointed again at the shades. I put the shades down. She walked over to the bed. I picked her up, nursed her right to sleep. It was the first time she had listened to her body or I shouldn’t say first time because she couldn’t communicate it to me before that. But it was the first time that she communicated to me, I’m tired, I’m ready for my nap, let’s go.
And the more that we don’t force sleep on our children, but rather follow their cues, the more in tune they are with the messages that their body is telling them. And then we do end up with a child who will say, I’m tired, I’m ready for a nap. Or if they’re not that verbal, they might do exactly as my daughter did, walk over to the window or let you know, I’m ready to go to sleep. And that is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
The next myth that the sleep training industry would love for us to believe is babies can self-soothe and they need to be able to do this in order to sleep through the night. And this is a big, fat false. Self-soothing is the ability to bring oneself from a dysregulated state to a regulated state. So meaning a dysregulated state would be a very upset state, either…
Scared, afraid, those are the same. Scared, really angry, right? Regulated would be just our normal homeostasis, our calm nervous system.
our calm nervous system. Developmentally, babies, toddlers, and even children are not able to do this. Babies have six arousal states, being asleep, drowsy, hypoaroused, calmly focused, alert, and hyperaroused.
Then flooded. When a baby reaches hyperaroused or flooded, they are burning a lot of energy and they need parental or adult intervention to help them out of this state. They need contact and support from their parent to down-regulate. This process is known as co-regulation and it is the only way babies can regulate. If a parent does not help them down-regulate in their hyperaroused state,
they will go up the arousal scale, become flooded, and at this point, the baby turns.
the baby burns so much energy that they might fall asleep. But this is not because they’ve self-soothed, it’s because they are passing out from sheer exhaustion. And this information is given to us by Dr. Stuart Schenker. He also goes on to say that the brain’s last mechanism for protecting itself from severe energy depression.
He also goes on to say that it is the brain’s last mechanism for protecting itself from severe energy depletion. So let’s think about this. They are not learning some skill of self-soothing. It is literally a coping mechanism for the brain to shut down and pass out to protect baby from trauma. They are not learning anything except that their cries are not going to be answered at night. So…
It’s known as the extinction method, cry it out, and that’s exactly what it is. But all it is doing is it’s stopping them from crying. It’s not helping with sleep. The brain has learned, I cried out, nobody came for me at nighttime. I’m not going to cry out at night anymore to protect myself from trauma. When we learn this, we realize that leaving a baby to cry alone in a room at night does nothing for sleep.
So after this process is repeated, they will stop crying at night, knowing again that no one will come. They have not learned to self soothe or regulate themselves. And I will go on to say that humans don’t have the full capability to self soothe until about 18 to 21 years of age. And I’ll be honest, I don’t think that I had the full capability of self soothing.
until I became a mom and I started really researching attachment, biological sleep, and learned a lot more about the nervous system. And then I started working on coping mechanisms for myself when I was dysregulated. I would say I probably did not have the full capability to self soothe myself until I was 30 years old. And even sometimes still, right? Like…
Sometimes I still don’t have that skill when I get really upset. So why are we expecting babies to do this? Now, this is something self-soothing often gets used for what really is self-settling. So self-settling is what many people often mean, again, when they’re saying self-soothing. It’s the ability to fall asleep without support. Self-settling is not self-soothing.
Self-soothing is not the ability to fall asleep without support, that is self-settling. This is also something a baby doesn’t need to be able to do in order to sleep through the night. Self-settling is not something most babies can do. Some babies are able to do this, and these are the babies that you are able to put them into the crib awake, and they peacefully drift to sleep. But these babies are rare.
Most babies need help falling asleep and there is nothing wrong with that. You can absolutely help your baby fall asleep and they will sleep through the night when they are ready. I also wanna say that this is very temperament-based. I often see easygoing babies are the babies that you lay them down, awake, and they happily fall asleep. More highly sensitive or spirited children are probably not going to be the babies.
that you lay down and they fall asleep. If you have a highly sensitive child or a spirited child, you’re probably shaking your head yes right now or even saying yes because I laugh thinking about the fact that I tried to put my daughter down drowsy but awake, especially knowing her full temperament now, like how spirited she is.
that was not okay for her, right? And I was trying to fight against who she was and it just wasn’t going to work. And that’s where we need to circle back to the brain needs to feel very safe when falling asleep. So an easygoing child might not sense or feel that there’s as much danger around them as a more highly sensitive or spirited child who is already kind of…
amped up, right? Like a highly sensitive child, their brain’s already taking in a lot more information and so their nervous system is probably going to be a little bit more dysregulated than an easygoing child who isn’t very sensitive. So that we have to overcome. We have to be there to help them regulate their nervous system so that they can fall asleep and feel safe. And that’s where we circle back to what we talked about with Myth 1.
The best way to help a child fall asleep independently in their own time is to make sleep a safe space. So that will mean supporting them to sleep until they get to a place where independent sleep naturally comes. Myth number three, a baby needs to sleep independently and or they will only sleep good if they can sleep independently.
Attachment science tells us that only through a deep and abiding dependence with a primary caregiver, can a child take steps towards independence when they are ready. In other terms, a child must first be totally dependent on a caregiver in order to become independent. In fact, the biggest predictor of how well a child turns out is whether they have a secure attachment
with at least one person. And this comes from research by Branius. In order to build this attachment, we need to respond sensitively and consistently to help them to trust that their needs will be met both night and day. According to Gordon Neufeld and Dr. Gabor Matei, who are both attachment experts, attachment happens in stages.
You must meet their attachment needs in the first stage for them to move to the next. And
In literature by Alan Skor, he states, a secure attachment happens when we have experiences between the caregiver and the child, where the caregiver allows the child to feel that predictability. Their needs will be seen and responded to. They are connected and protected. They feel safe, seen, soothed, and secure. They need all of these things to move
They need all of these things to then move them to the next stage of attachment, which then moves them closer to independence. And this is important to understand. They need this closeness and security to become independent. Forcing a baby to be alone, isolating them in a crib or a room can result in a dysfunctional attachment when the baby or child is stuck in a stage of attachment and cannot move forward.
I want to be very clear here and state, first off, I am not an attachment expert. Second off, attachment science shows us that we can’t 100% say that doing one thing is going to result in a rupture in attachment or a dysfunctional attachment because we’re humans, right? There’s so many pieces to that attachment puzzle. But
We do know that leaving a baby alone to cry or not responding to their needs or not being there emotionally for them can, doesn’t necessarily mean it will, but it can result in a dysfunctional attachment.
So we often see this when a child resists proximity when really they should be pursuing it. So this is when a child doesn’t wanna be close to us. They’ve kind of gone away from that natural need for attachment.
In the book Safe Infant Sleep, Dr. James McKenna says, 20th century Western culture has stressed independence. Many experts assert that if an infant doesn’t learn to be independent quickly, it will never learn. Yet attachment studies have shown that infants who receive strong responses from caregivers requests.
Strong responses from caregivers request holding less often and appear to enjoy holding.
In addition to this,
Okay, I’m starting over Hayley with that quote. 20th century Western culture has stressed independence. Many experts assert that if an infant doesn’t learn to be independent quickly, it will never learn. Yet attachment studies have shown that infants who receive strong responses from caregivers request holding less often and appear to enjoy being held more. So what that’s saying to us is
They’re not requesting to be held as much as counterparts, but they enjoy being held more when they are being held. In addition to this, a study done by Merritt Keller and Wendy Goldberg showed that children who routinely sleep with their parents actually become more independent socially and psychologically. Contrary to popular belief that solitary sleep produces confident and secure children,
while co-sleeping infants will grow to be clingy and overly dependent, co-sleeping toddlers are actually able.
Co-sleeping toddlers are actually able to be alone and solve problems on their own better than solitary sleepers. I wanna stop here and say that.
This doesn’t mean, like, not all children are going to co-sleep and not all families are going to want to co-sleep. So I don’t want to say that this means that just by having your child in a crib in their own room, they’re not going to be independent. But it’s important to note that in these studies, it found that co-sleeping toddlers were able to better be alone and solve problems, meaning that it’s the opposite of what society is telling us. Forcing independence doesn’t create independence.
allowing for that dependence then allows them to be more independent when they are ready. The study also found that when compared to solitary sleeping children, the co-sleeping children in their sample tended to make friends more easily, could initiate problem solving more independently, and could be by themselves with less stress. Now again, something I want to state here is we don’t
I don’t know the specifics around that sample in terms of were the children who were solitary sleepers or they sleep trained? Was that another piece of the puzzle, right? So people get really defensive and I can understand that if you’re like, well, my child sleeps in a crib but we didn’t sleep train, but it’s just what works for us. I’m not saying that children who sleep in a crib will not be independent. But again, I really wanna stress that we don’t need to force that independence on them. It will come.
as we let them depend on our love and our attachment and our connection. Myth number four, sleep training works. Again, this one is false. I am going to quote my mentor, Lauren Heffernan of Isla Grace here. She states that, “‘It’s important to note first off that full extinction or cry it out can work for some babies to get them to stop signaling
and sleep through the night for brief periods of time. I do wanna stop here and say that studies have shown that children who are sleep trained wake just as often as children who are not sleep trained. The only difference is they are not signaling. Now I’m going back to what Lauren was stating.
Now I’m going back to what Lauren said. What we need to remember is why it works. It is the baby shutting down as a survival mechanism, not the baby self-soothing or being trained to sleep. In a recent study of 411 babies, aged six to 12 months, who had been sleep trained using cry it out or some form of cry it out, sometimes up to four times, it was discovered that leaving the baby to cry
only reduced the crying by 14%. It reduced night waking significantly for only 24% of babies, but 42% of the time, sleep training had no effect on night waking at all. So is it just a few nights? Do babies actually then sleep through the night? How many times have you heard a parent or a sleep trainer tell you that they have to train their baby again and again?
It’s not a long lasting solution as the sleep training industry would like for you to believe. And we need to understand here that again, it’s not addressing the root cause. What’s happening is we’re leaving them to cry, they’re not being responded to, and so they stop crying. But again, we haven’t addressed the root issue, which is sleep. And then that’s where we need to get into the fact that
It’s biologically normal for babies to wake about every two to three hours throughout the night to get a quick feed or a snuggle and go back to sleep. So we can’t fight biology on that. Now, can we make sure, again, like go back to those questions that I asked at the beginning of the podcast episode, are we meeting their nutritional needs? Are they getting healthy stimulation during the day? Are they actually tired when we’re trying to get them to sleep?
Those are the questions that we can look at. We can absolutely maximize sleep hygiene in our home, but we can’t fight biology. We can’t force babies to sleep longer than they’re biologically meant to. And we also need to understand that each child is on their own unique path when it comes to sleep. Some children will sleep through the night in the first year of life. My daughter did for a beautiful four weeks when she was about eight weeks old.
and then never did again until she was two and a half. That obviously she’s on the more sensitive side, so that makes sense. But I do have some clients who their babies start sleeping through the night regularly in the first year of life. For some children, they’re not going to start sleeping through the night until well into the second year of life. Some maybe even into the third year of life. Now do their sleep stretches gradually increase? Absolutely. But we need to understand that
leaving them to cry is not going to fix something that is not broken. We need to understand that their sleep is not broken. Now again, if we have a baby who is waking up hourly all night long, sleep training’s not gonna fix that either. If this baby is waking up hourly, and let me say barring teething and progressions, but if hourly is the reg, like if that’s what’s happening every night in your home for a long period of time,
something’s going on that we need to look into. And again, sleep training is not gonna fix that. We need to be getting to the root cause. Another thing to think about when we’re talking about the myth that sleep training works is that if you talk to a lot of families who have sleep trained, as soon as they travel, as soon as baby gets sick, as soon as baby teeds, they have to go back and redo all of the sleep training that they did.
because baby will kind of override that sleep training that they did. The pain is enough for their brain to tell them, no, I need comfort, I need a caregiver. Or being out of their routine is enough to kind of send their nervous system into a place where it says, I need that connection with my caregiver, I need to know that everything’s okay. So then they go back to calling out for us at night. And then once illness is done, once we’re back into our routine, then…
we’re left to sleep train again. I’m saying we collectively, I’ve never sleep trained. You probably have never sleep trained, but my point is, is oftentimes sleep training is not just this one and done thing, which in itself proves sleep training doesn’t work the way that they want us to think it works. Sure, we might be getting better sleep because our baby’s not crying at night, but is our baby sleeping better?
The next myth, motion sleep is not restorative. I remember hearing this one when my daughter was a baby and I was terrified to go and take her on a walk. I was terrified to let her sleep in the car, which is completely false. Motion has actually been proven to be really good for brain development. You can rock, sway, bounce, walk.
with a stroller or baby wearing to help your little one sleep. Getting out of the house while your baby naps is not only good for helping to set their circadian rhythm, but it also helps to give them sensory input in order to get better sleep, both during the day and at night. As we discussed, light and sleep pressure are two factors that dictate whether a baby will sleep. Sitting inside all day trying to get a nap in the dark is not going to give the baby
sensory input that they need to build up that sleep pressure and actually be ready for a nap. It also has the ability to interfere with circadian rhythm. Our body follows the sun, so if we have our baby and ourselves stuck in a dark room for hours of the day, our circadian rhythm is going to be very confused about is it daytime, is it nighttime, and then as a parent when we’re already not getting as much sleep as we’re used to,
then our circadian rhythm is thrown off. And so not only are we waking up more frequently, we’re probably not getting as deep of a sleep as we need because our body is confused if we’re not getting that night, if we’re not getting that bright, natural sunlight during the day. I also wanna say that walking with a baby is a really great mood booster for both parent and baby. The Possum’s Clinic says that plenty of sunlight, especially in the morning,
is known to help with adult sleep problems and depressed mood. So if we know that plenty of sunlight in the morning helps with adult sleep problems, wouldn’t it help with baby sleep problems as well? This light physical activity, if done often, can actually help you relax at bedtime. And it can make you feel better and make you feel less isolated. I am a huge supporter of naps while you’re walking or
naps in a bright room. If you can get baby used to napping in an environment that’s not completely dark, your life is going to be so much easier when they’re older and you want to go to the zoo, but you don’t want to have to plan naps around the zoo. You just hope that they can fall asleep while you’re there. That is a beautiful gift you can give yourself. Now I do want to say here some babies just won’t nap in a bright environment even if we try from a very young age. Just
Their temperament, their sensory needs don’t allow that. That is totally okay. You can shut the blinds, but then you wanna make sure that you’re…
but then you wanna make sure that you have them in natural bright light throughout the day, as well as yourself, because it’s good for you as well. Myth number six, they are so young that they won’t remember the crying.
This is a, I’m going to share a quote by Dr. Gabor Mate on his thoughts on fervor and the idea of leaving a baby to cry. He says, fervor, named after Dr. Richard Fervor, is the process of training, and that’s in quotes, an infant to sleep by ignoring their crying. As a family physician, I used to advocate the fervor technique and as a parent practiced it myself.
Since then, I have come to believe that the method is harmful to infant development and to a child’s long-term emotional health. Fibrillation seems simple. After about one week, your infant will learn that crying earns nothing more than a brief check-in from you and isn’t worth the effort. They’ll learn to fall asleep on their own without your help.
The question is, what else does a baby learn when treated this way? And what is the impact of such learning? People cannot consciously recall what they learned in the first year of life, because the brain structures that store narrative memory are not yet developed. But neuropsychological research has established that human beings have a far more powerful memory system imprinted in their nervous system called intrinsic memory.
Intrinsic memory encodes the emotional aspects of early experience, mostly in the prefrontal lobe of the brain. These emotional memories may last a lifetime without any recall of the events that originally encoded them. They serve as a template for how we perceive the world and how we react to later occurrences. That’s really powerful.
We might not remember vividly being left in a room to cry, but our brain remembers and our body remembers. There’s a really good book, I absolutely recommend reading it, called The Body Keeps the Score. And we need to understand that. Trauma is not always held in memories. Trauma is held in the body as well. So, these are kind of heavy topics, I know.
But I think that one of the things when I was choosing not to sleep train that really helped me was getting the research behind it, getting the facts so that if somebody brought up the topic to me, I could either talk about what I now knew or I could just let it roll off my shoulders knowing that I could stand firm in my decision because it felt right to me and I had science to back it up. So.
As we are in the midst of the holiday season and you will be spending more time with family and you are feeling a little bit insecure and your choice is not to sleep train, if you’re not sleep training, now you have some information. Again, you don’t need to bring it up if you don’t want to, but now you have it in your heart, in your head, that you can look back on. There are two other like mini myths that I wanna talk about before we leave today. Myth number, it would be myth number seven is,
teething doesn’t impact sleep. I recently had a client tell me that she had done a discovery call with a sleep trainer and the sleep trainer told her that teething doesn’t impact sleep. This cracks me up because as I was thinking about talking about this today, I had a thought, we know teething hurts babies, right? Like we, there’s aura gel, there’s teething remedies. We’re told to give them wet.
We’re told to give them breast milk popsicles or formula popsicles or teathers. We know teething is uncomfortable. So why would we think that it’s not going to impact sleep? We also know that when we’re laying down, if we have a toothache, the toothache gets worse when we lay down. So sleep is 110% impacted by teething.
Now I will say teething doesn’t impact some babies to the extent that it impacts others. Some babies are, for lack of a better term, I never like referring to babies as easy, but some babies are easy teethings, meaning we’re not going to see a lot of symptoms, our sleep isn’t going to be very disrupted. And then we’re gonna have more sensitive children where teething is going to be a big deal. When Lila got her first set of molars around,
13 or 14 months, it was like two months of disrupted sleep as we waited for those molars to come in. Other babies, you might not even know the molars are coming in and then you look in there and they’re there. So it’s unique to each child, but teething can absolutely impact sleep. The other common sleep myth that I see from people that they’ve learned from the sleep training industry is that…
Progressions, specifically I see it most often associated with the four months sleep progression. But that’s, progressions are these make or break moments where if you don’t teach them a certain skill, they’re never going to do it. So for example, if you support them to sleep during the four months sleep progression, they’re always going to need it. Or if you feed at night during the four months sleep progression, they’re always going to feed at night.
Total BS, sleep progressions are just a time in a life where baby’s going through huge development and their sleep is impacted. This brain development often means that they need more connection from us. They need our empathy. They need us to be there as they’re growing and developing and everything will happen in its own unique time. We don’t need to withhold comfort. We don’t need to withhold feeds. We need to continue to show up for our baby how they need us.
So I hope this helps you. I hope this gives you some peace of mind. If you’re needing more support with baby sleep, I would love to work with you. If you have a baby who’s zero to 12 months and you just feel like you need more education and resources, I highly recommend checking out my zero to 12 month course, Resting in the First Year, so that you can confidently navigate baby sleep while also having the tools to…
tackle those challenges that you’re having or make changes to the things that aren’t working. But ultimately, I just wanna remind you that you’re doing an amazing job. Have a wonderful day.