Sleep training, yes or no?
Let's talk about sleep training. When Googling this you'll find lots of information on "Experts recommendations" Big websites like Pampers and What to Expect talking about the best tips and tricks but what is this new popular trend? In one article from What to Expect, it says Experts recommend beginning sleep training when babies are 4 to 6 months old. This age range is the sweet spot since babies are old enough to physically make it for six to eight hours overnight without needing to eat but aren't quite at the point where the comforting you provide has become a sleep association. Some other sites promote "Getting your Newborn to Sleep Through the Night". It's a big statement with some information that can be confusing and misleading for some.
Babies do not produce enough melatonin on their own until about 3 months of age. Therefore making it very difficult for them to sleep through the night and fall asleep easily for that matter. At even 4 months some babies are still requiring feedings in order for them to get through the night. This doesn't mean there is something wrong with your baby this just means this is what is normal for them. Every baby is different and does things at different times. Some can sleep through the night with no problem and some do need that extra night time feeding. Mothers are often pressured by so many aspects in our society. They often feel the need to live up to the expectations of the things said in the mommy blogs or parenting websites and magazines and this is just not fair. For moms who have had kids and experience, they know the difference and understand that it's not always the way the book says. However new vulnerable moms who are sleep deprived and overwhelmed may not. This can lead to lots of uncertainty and stress for new moms thinking that they "have" to get their baby to sleep the whole night or they "have" to be meeting a certain milestone at a certain month because that is what a friends baby did or what the blog said.
We honestly feel that sleep training and promoting this practice to a new mother is irresponsible and dangerous. A recent experience with a mom who did exactly what her sleep trainer told her to do, put her in a situation where her milk supply decreased and her baby lost 2lbs in 1 month. This is completely unacceptable. There is well-documented evidence-based research on why it's crucial for a baby's development to continue to feed on an "On-demand" schedule that the baby chooses and needs. This mother was told to stop nighttime feedings all together and delay feedings from every 2 hours to every 4 hours during the day. She was not eating solids yet either which made it even more dangerous because the baby was depending fully on breastmilk for her nutrients. Thankfully, this mother who has other children recognized something was wrong and reached out for help. We were able to identify the issues, rectify them with a plan and things were happier and healthier for the baby in just a little over two weeks. This story of course has a happy resolution but what if a mother doesn't realize the issues or that something is wrong? This is why we do not agree with sleep training for young babies especially before 1 year of life.
Check out our latest Youtube video for more detailed information on this subject and other options to help make sleeping and routines better. LINK: https://youtu.be/sATfmK20FiA