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How Much Crying Is Involved In Sleep Training?

So you are ready to sleep train but scared and nervous of the crying that may be involved and wonder how much crying will there really will be? Of course this is only natural to have these questions and be concerned so hopefully my blog post today will help answer these questions for you and put you at ease.

First of all, you have to understand that of course sleep training is going to involve changes, as small as they may be your child may not like it. They are very happy with the way they fall asleep currently and they communicate their disapproval by crying!

Changes can be hard even as an adult but, you are not happy with the way sleep happens in your home, perhaps it is just not sustainable anymore and you know your child needs better, healthier. consolidated sleep. That is perfectly okay and that is a positive thing. You need to make changes for the better health of your family and your child in the centre of it all.

Let’s Explore the Crying More

Night one is always going to be the hardest and is often dreaded the most by all of my families I work with. On average it takes about 30-90 minutes for their baby to fall asleep and this time is often less and less as we work through their sleep journey.

Now whether you are in the room with your child holding their hand through the whole process or doing the Pop Out method the tears will come. Remember you are changing the way your child falls asleep, whether that is by habit stacking or cold turkey removing a sleep prop so of course they will cry, it is their way of saying “ get me to sleep, I do not know how to do it on my own, give me back that thing that gets me to sleep”.

That 30-90 minutes in my experience has been a mixed bag or responses from the child. Some have cried, some have shouted and some have been awake babbling and thrown in the odd intermittent cry here and there.

Each family chooses to respond in a different way to these cries. I will never ask nor have I ever asked a family to leave their baby at bedtime and not return until the morning that to me is cruel and unfair to all involved and of course will end up in more tears that is necessary both from parent and child.

The tears will be short lived

There will be many times in your child’s life they cry and of course you can sweep them up and fix the situation right away but really does that help in the long term? Will that help your child regulate their feelings and learn how to solve the situation themselves? Sleep training is about teaching your child to fall asleep independently and supporting them to do so they can sleep independently and of course when they wake they do not need you to be there to get them back to sleep. If you continue to help your child back to sleep just because you don’t want them to cry a second your child may not learn the skill of independent sleep for months or even years to come.

Many times I have had parents ask me the following …

“Will this crying be the new norm?”

“Will this crying have a negative impact on my child for the long term”?

“Will my child become scared of sleeping”?

Your child comes from love, lives in a happy loving environment, is fed, clothed, played with and you are taking an interest into their sleep habits so they can thrive so NO! The crying is not going to impact their bond with you or have a lasting impact on their personality or brain development.

Studies show that actually continuing to be sleep deprived has more of a negative impact than the sleep training itself. Being a sleep deprived parent can impact your ability to make decisions during the day, impose unsafe driving conditions, and impact your personal relationships with family, partner and friends. Sleep deprivation also impacts your health and immune system.

You can read more about studies and research in THIS article.

Now if you think how much crying is happening now if you embark on a sleep training programe those tears as I mention will be short lived but if you don’t make any changes those tears may continue for weeks possibly months and at what cost to you? I really like this article here that explains this more through studies.

And of course the “no cry” methods are there and I talk all my families through these options but still there are tears. Often much less than out the room/pop out approaches but still tears all the same. You baby is communicating with you to be picked up and fed to sleep or rocked to sleep or whatever it is their brain has made neural connections with falling asleep.

Identify why your child is crying. Be confident your child is healthy, fed, has a clean nappy and is not to warm or not to cold. Your child will need time and space to learn new skills of falling asleep. Tears are expected and normal.

The Key Thing

Having a sleep plan in place is key to help you reach your sleep goals. It can help you keep on track and know what to change, how much to change, when and how.

I have designed my sleep training programs with you the parent and child in mind. After working with multiple families over the last 5 and half years I know what you want and need. I know what your child needs. I have the training behind me and the happy family reviews to show for it.

The Toddler Tears

Toddlers are a whole new ball game when it comes to sleep training and they can and do throw a few curve balls into the mix and often we need to dig deep into day time behaviour and boundaries before we even put a sleep plan in place.

Tears are usually out of pure frustration although there are some who suffer from separation/anxiety and we do have to tread very gently with these children. In these delicate situations in the room training is my preferred path to take and of course there is a lot less upset involved and much less tears that are shed but still a few. It is normal and expected.

The Conclusion

There will be tears during the sleep training process, anyone who says there will not be is giving you’re the wrong information. They will be short lived and generally in my professional experience only lasted for 3-5 days max at the onset of sleep only. If crying does pursue longer than this then the approach needs to be looked at and consideration into a different approach needs to be taken. That approach is not working. It happens. Some children are just over stimulated by a parent in the room touching and being next to them the whole time and others need more hands on approach.

In my view we can’t stop our children from crying entirely. This to me is a strange concept and not giving the child a chance to show their emotions and communicate with us fully and of course they do not learn how to manage those feelings. We must of course acknowledge those tears and when it comes to sleep training respond to your child and those cries in a loving way that you of course feel comfortable and confident to act on.

You can listen to previous families I have worked with on their why they chose to work with a sleep consultant and how they found the sleep training journey HERE!

If you are ready to sleep train LET'S DO THIS TOGETHER!

Find out more about my programs below

Peaceful nights are coming…


Your Paediatric Sleep Consultant



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