For those of you who have spoken to us about our sleep philosophy you will know that our passion is to enable parents to teach their little ones (not newborns) to find sleep independently and without external sleep props.
What are external sleep props?
These are like dummies, rocking to sleep, patting to sleep, lying with your child, feeding to sleep and so on. As we always say, we celebrate how people want to parent so if people want to do that and it's working for them then we say go for it. However mostly when people come to us with sleep issues we see one or more of those external sleep props being used for the child to fall asleep.
So let's think about this. If a child or even you and I are reliant on something external to 'put us to sleep' or 'get us to sleep' then when we have a normal rousing or waking in the night, which is totally biologically normal, then we would be looking for that same external prop to get us back to sleep right? If we don't know how to fall asleep without that external prop then we simply don't have that skill yet so of course we are going to be seeking that prop to support us. This is exactly the same for little ones.
Often we also see that a certain sleep prop has been effective for a while but then literally overnight it all shifts and it's not working anymore. So parents are either having to 'do that thing' for longer or they introduce another layer of another sleep prop to see if that works. It can be confusing, frustrating and more than anything very tiring for our bubs.
Sleep is developmental and we can enable our children to learn how to use internal sleep strategies to fall asleep. In fact, we see this all the time week in and week out. Little ones are finding their way to sleep happily as they learn this skill and as a result are getting wonderful, deep and connected sleep.
The key is we are not removing external sleep props to be cruel or remove comfort. It's about lovingly enabling them to experience rich nourishing sleep and with the right plan for your child that's based on who they are, their age and a range of variables plus having the support as you make the changes.....well you will be amazed at what superstar sleepers our children can actually be.
So if you are struggling with your little one's sleep and you are using external sleep props to put them to sleep or to get them to sleep perhaps this is something for you to consider.