Let’s discuss 3 possible viewpoints people may have about newborn sleep training which may prevent them from considering it:
1. Some of us tend to hear the word “training” and shy away from it because they consider it to be something vigorous, aggressive, forceful, or unnatural. I mean, we must be animals to consider sleep training our newborns!
So, I invite you to reconsider the term “training”. Knowing what I know about sleep training, this primarily means the introduction of a very baby friendly/developmentally appropriate schedule. Which means, we aren’t forcing a 2 week old to sleep all night, and we certainly aren’t letting them “cry it out” all night. New babies need love and attention and soothing and we are certainly still giving all of those things. We’re just using a set of schedules to encourage sleep and the development of circadian rhythms. It is far from aggressive and allows baby to guide us as we guide them.
2. People may argue that you shouldn’t sleep train a newborn because they aren’t ready or old enough. I mean, they were just born!
This brings me to my next point, newborns. Let’s reconsider this term. A newborn, or the newborn phase, is birth until 3 months of age. A newborn isn’t only a baby that has just been born, it is a period of time, 12 weeks, 90 days, and as we all know with babies, a great deal happens in a short amount of time. They can change dramatically from week to week. Many of these changes that occur in the first 12 weeks relate to the development of circadian rhythms and the production of the sleep promoting hormone (melatonin)--which are key to sleep training! Without them, the possibility of sleep training wouldn't exist.
3. Some may have heard or believe that sleep training is harmful to a baby.
This may not be a concern by many, but it is by some. It may help that the American Academy of Pediatrics did a long-term study about precisely that question and they determined that sleep training is safe and effective for infants. Check out the article here:
Ultimately it is up to you and what is best for your family, but it couldn’t hurt to take another look at what sleep training actually means before going a different direction!