Updated: Sep 11, 2021
In the sleep consulting realm, there are some who may advertise a "no crying" or "zero tears" approach to improving your little ones sleep.
Compassion and empathy for little ones and their parents will always be at the heart of what we do and as Pediatric Sleep Consultants, we only wish we could guarantee our families "zero tears" when working through sleep challenges; but, the term "Zero Crying Sleep Training" is sadly rather deceiving and setting families up for disappointment... (look closely at the small print or disclaimer at the bottom of any page recommending this ...)
An overtired baby + change = tears
Whether we choose a high, moderate or low involvement approach to improving family sleep, the following remains true; an overtired baby + change = tears.
When little ones are tired, they're just like us; reactive, grumpy and easily rattled! By their nature, they will likely cry much more than a well rested baby.
Overtired babies also have a much harder time getting to sleep and staying asleep, because they're body is having a tough time balancing sleepy hormones and natural stimulants; which we produce when fighting through fatigue, which can make them "wired" and crabby. Even though a lovely long nap or a full night's sleep is all they really need, without direction or adjustments to their sleep schedule or habits, it's easier said than done!
On our sleep consulting journey together, we will always be striving to make positive changes while being ever mindful of what you as their parent feel your child will be receptive to. If we're working through reducing multiple night wakings, we may choose a high involvement approach such as sitting in your child's room at pre-determined intervals until they settle. Here we are offering your presence and your voice to sooth and calm your little one, while giving them space to learn the important skill of falling to sleep independently (which will help them sleep through the night! yay!).
Our goal will always be to minimize stress for little ones and their parents
In this scenario, you will be staying present with your child and not leaving them alone to cry; this may take time, and that's ok! Working on babies and children's sleep is a process. If we are adjusting our strategy from say, feeding to sleep 8 times a night to feeding before sleep, you as their parent know that you are encouraging healthy development while remaining present and supporting your child. They may cry during this time but our goal will always be to minimize stress for little ones and their parents, while consistently working towards healthy sleep for the whole family. Yes there might be tears, but, this will be brief! With perseverance and consistency, peaceful nights can be just around the corner...