Easing Parent Guilt: A Roadmap to Successful Sleep Training

Are you feeling torn between the desire for your family to sleep better and the fear of letting your baby cry it out during sleep training? You're not alone. 😓 Parental guilt can often cloud the path to successful sleep training.

With that in mind, I've created a step-by-step guide to help you prepare for sleep training while addressing and quelling those feelings of guilt or inner conflict. Discover how to navigate this journey with confidence and create a plan that aligns with your family's unique needs.

Mother holding sleeping baby in a dark room looking away from camera.

The "Ghosts in the Nursery"

Sleep training isn't just about helping your baby sleep better; it's also about ensuring you're emotionally ready for the process. Our past experiences, childhood, and upbringing can cast long shadows on our parenting decisions, which is why we refer to them as "ghosts in the nursery." Many books and courses overlook this essential aspect, but this is a critical piece to your success.

Consider a recent conversation I had with a mother who shared her own childhood experiences. Her mother left when she was just 2 years old, leading her to fear that sleep training would make her own daughter feel "abandoned." By acknowledging these feelings and her need to be present during her baby's crying, we found a way for her to trust the process, allowing her daughter to learn to sleep.

Parental Readiness Matters

It's important to recognize that readiness and trust are vital for the success of any sleep training method. Babies can sense any uncertainty or lack of confidence from their parents, making it essential for both parents to feel prepared and trusting before initiating sleep changes.

Parental readiness infographic

Are You Really Ready?

Here are some ways to prepare yourself for sleep training your baby:

  1. Visualize the Night: Decide precisely how you want the night to unfold, including your baby's sleep location and duration.
  2. Real-Time Description: Write a real-time description of the process, putting yourself in the moment, focusing on how you and your baby will feel, and the reassurance and comfort you'll provide.
  3. Confront Your Fears: Address your fears, concerns, and doubts in writing, and plan how you'll overcome these challenges as they arise.
  4. Write a Letter to Yourself: Pen a letter to yourself, outlining what you want to remember, how you'll care for your family, why you sought help, and your vision for peaceful sleep.
  5. Write Your Baby a Letter: Write a heartfelt letter to your baby, sharing your love and intentions as they embark on this journey.

Creating a sleep plan isn't a one-size-fits-all solution; it's about addressing multiple factors, including your baby's readiness, development, and health, as well as your own emotional well-being. By acknowledging the "ghosts" from the past and preparing for sleep training, you can confidently guide your baby toward restful sleep while nurturing your own peace of mind.

About the Author

Hi, I’m Sarah. As a mother of two, I quickly learned that sleep is influenced by a variety of factors and there is not one RIGHT way to help baby sleep. Both of my daughters had unique temperaments and struggles, and I was humbled to learn that newborns are complicated and parenting in a world of information overload is stressful.

Now, I partner with parents to create a tailored plan using an evidence-based and multidimensional approach to sleep. I take great care in co-creating a plan that takes into account all of the factors that makes each family unique, including parenting philosophies, infant temperament and readiness, age, weight gain, health and development and much more. To date, I have helped over 2,000 families.

If you're ready to teach baby to sleep independently and feel like someone’s got your hand through all of this, contact me.

Tell me more about what you’re facing and I can answer your questions about my approach to working with families and offer a personalized plan that gives you the support you and your family deserve. 🫶