Hard truth: Some of the information presented by the sleep training industry sounds so logical, that at one point in time, I even believed it myself.
The problem is, much of it is based on just nothing at all. Take this little doozy, about the ‘crutch’ you’re creating by supporting your child at bedtime. The vast majority of parents, whether they sleep train or not, are not getting up every 45 minutes to get their baby back to sleep. And if they are, it’s a pretty good indication that there is a heck of a lot more going on that just a “bad sleep association”.
So you might ask, “Why would sleep trainers present information that isn’t factual? What is to be gained?”
Making lasting changes to sleep is 𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘥. It takes planning and considerations that vary from one family to the next, without a guarantee of success, because, well, babies aren’t robots.
The only way to create a guarantee around sleep is to not be supportive. Full stop. Sleep trainers can make promises and money back guarantees because their approach relies on separating a child from their parent. And eventually, when under the “right conditions” (ie enough stress), every baby will sleep. Guaranteed. The human body is designed to protect itself from stress, and this is what babies do when they are put into a situation where conditions are too stressful to bear. I saw it with my own daughter when we sleep trained her, and I still see it with how she handles stress today.
So when a sleep trainer tells you that being responsive is going to create a “bad habit”, they are right about one thing – if you show your child that they can depend on you, they will trust that they can continually depend on you.
That doesn’t mean you can’t be responsive at bedtime, out of fear of what that will mean for nighttime sleep. And that’s what sleep trainers are banking on: your fear of sleep deprivation, your fear of doing the “wrong thing”, and your fear of looking like a “bad parent”.