Will I have to leave my baby to cry alone in order to teach sleep?
This is not a method I believe in. This is called extinction and the word alone makes me feel uncomfortable. I’m sure it makes you feel the same way!
But haven’t you heard so many people say it’s the only way?! I remember being told by doctors, older family members and reading that the only true way to get my baby to sleep is by letting them cry and ignoring those cries in order to teach them.
I couldn’t believe that was the only way. In fact, I refused to believe that. I was surviving off 1.5 hour stretches of sleep every night for 9 months because of my strong feelings against this “only way”.
But it is most definitely NOT the case and I can tell you why!!!
Your baby has become so used to being put to sleep by someone or something else. Rocking, nursing, the swing, butt patting, and bottle feeding to name a few. We cannot expect to gently teach a baby a new trick by ripping everything he has ever known away from him so abruptly!
When teaching your child to sit up, where are you?
When teaching your baby to walk, where are you?
When teaching your child to use a spoon, where are you?
When teaching your baby to climb stairs, where are you?
Right next to them, of course!
You gradually turn over complete control to them once they start to learn and gain confidence.
This is EXACTLY how sleep should be taught!!!
Most likely, your baby needs you the most to fall asleep. So, we’re going to teach them that they can do this on their own! Just like they learn to eventually sit up, crawl, walk, eat, go to the potty, and ride a bike for themselves!
But instead of “training them”, we will guide them. The same way we guide them through every other skill in life! Sleep IS a skill! And it CAN be taught gently!