Sleep Skills: How to Sleep Train Your Baby
Waking up three, four, five, or more times a night to the sound of crying. Stumbling half-asleep into the child’s room and reaching into their crib. Rocking them, nursing them, or singing to them before laying them down and going back to bed yourself. Repeat.
If this scene is all too familiar to you, you may want to look into sleep training your baby. Kandra Beccera, owner of Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby, has answers to any questions you may have about the process of teaching your child independent sleeping skills.
What exactly is sleep training?
“The term ‘sleep training’ has a lot of negative connotations, so I refer to it as ‘teaching independent sleeping skills,’” says Becerra. “It teaches your child how to connect sleep cycles, fall asleep independently, and end night wakings when developmentally appropriate.”
Becerra opened Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby six years ago out of necessity for her own family’s needs. Her son struggled with sleeping from the very beginning, which led her to reach out to a local sleep consultant who was ultimately unhelpful. From there, Becerra got fully certified and opened her own businesses to provide sleep training services to moms around the world.
When do you know your child needs sleep training?
While sleep training is not for every family, Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby serves prenatal moms to children up to eight years old. “The perfect time for sleep training is when the parents are ready,” Becerra instructs. “Sometimes that’s when the child is four months old, sometimes when they are four years old. If the parents aren’t ready, they won’t see success.”
If you truly don’t mind waking up with your child every night, then there is no need to worry about implementing independent sleeping skills, even if you have a friend or family member telling you otherwise. However, if you cannot function at work because you are so tired, or if your day-to-day family dynamics are being affected, then you should look into sleep training your child.
What may sleep training entail?
Everything is child specific at Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby. “We start with a phone call with the families and then a thorough intake form that allows us to put together a sleep plan that will work with that specific family,” says Becerra. This virtual company is based on the idea that the parents need to develop an understanding of their child’s sleep habits rather than have a sleep trainer come over and do everything for them.
“I don’t have a strong attachment to their child, but they do,” Becerra adds. “Having that attachment with independent sleep skills development is important.”
The goal is for the parents to not have to Google anything anymore after the 90-minute video consultation, development of a thorough sleep plan, and series of phone calls that occur during the first few weeks.
What are the benefits of sleep training?
“I always tell parents that sleep is not a luxury–it’s a necessity. By week two, moms tell me they had no idea how exhausted they were until they sleep trained their baby. However, now every case is extreme,” Becerra notes.
If you’re feeling guilty about sleep training your child, think of how it affects your everyday life in which you are constantly overtired, impatient, and not the mom/spouse you want to be. At the same time, sleep deprivation affects a child’s behavior throughout the day. An overtired toddler can have behavioral issues, and helping them sleep will help them produce those growth hormones necessary to even out their behavior.
Any tips, tricks, or resources?
Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby offers plenty of free resources on its website, such as a blog that comes out every few weeks, a quiz for parents to fill out, and a free download on sleep training. The company’s Instagram page also does a free Q&A every Monday so parents who cannot afford services can ask a question.
“My number-one tip is to focus on bedtime,” says Beccera. “All sleep starts at bedtime. If you’re assisting your child at bedtime, we can’t train them for night wakings or naps because they don’t have the foundation to begin with. Another thing is consistency. If you find a technique that works with you, stay consistent with that. Trying one thing, then trying something else can create a really confused child.”
Ultimately, sleep training is about respecting families where they are. While it may not be a solution for one family, another family may see incredible results when they consult a sleep specialist. If you think you and your child will benefit from independent sleep skills, don’t hesitate to reach out to Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby!