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Gentle is not the same as supportive

Are you feeling confused about all the different options when it comes to sleep methods?

If so, you’re not alone. The sleep training industry has seen a shift, where parents are expecting more responsive techniques. Clever marketing tactics are being used to position the same old sleep training as new and fresh, and one common theme is a move to more ‘gentle’ methods.

But beware: gentle sleep training is still sleep training. Sometimes parents are told a method will be ‘gentle’ and it turns out to be anything but, and other times, parents are instructed to stay in the room for the crying but not to make any contact whatsoever.

𝙒𝙝𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙚𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙞𝙨 𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙘𝙚𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙙 𝙤𝙧 𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙪𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 𝙛𝙚𝙡𝙩: 𝙨𝙚𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙞𝙨 𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙡𝙡 𝙨𝙚𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣.

Babies and young children are biologically conditioned to seek connection from their primary caregiver. This isn’t a flaw, it isn’t something they need to be trained out of, and it isn’t something parents should feel guilty about.

If a sleep coach advises you to use a method that makes you feel uncomfortable, regardless of how ‘gentle’ it may be, 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘰𝘸 𝘪𝘵. Listen to that voice inside your head that is telling you it feels icky. Listen to your baby’s cries instead of turning up the volume on the white noise. Listen to the urge to pick your child up and hold them, and ignore the advice to sit on your hands (yes, that’s actually something parents are instructed to do 😡).

Shushing and patting are perfectly acceptable sleep associations, but if doing those things is a replacement for eye contact, physical contact, and emotion, then sitting in the room may still be as traumatic for a baby as being left alone.

❗𝗚𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗹𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝗮𝘀 𝘀𝘂𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲.

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