Dads can be Key to sleep training!
At the risk of generalizing here there’s usually one parent who handles the bulk of the night time responsibilities and there is a good reason for this.
As a sleep consultant, I don’t get called into situations where everyone sleeps soundly through the night. I’m usually contacted by parents who are having issues getting their babies to sleep, and that’s almost always because baby’s got an external sleep prop that they use to get back to sleep when they wake in the night.
And the most common prop I see, by far, is ………. Breast feeding, which can leave Dad out of the equation. Now, this is a problem for a couple of reasons. Obviously, if baby’s waking up six times a night and demanding Mum come in to feed her back to sleep, that’s taxing on mother and baby (Although this is perfectly normal behaviour in a new born!)
But there’s another person who tends to suffer in this scenario, and that’s Dad. Dads, the vast majority of them anyway, want to be great dads. They want to have an active role in bringing up their kids, and they love it when they feel like they’re succeeding in that role. But because Mum is the one with the magical breast milk, Dad often feels powerless to help out in the sleep department, which means Mum’s up every time baby cries, and Dad, while sympathetic, can feel a bit helpless.
But here’s the good news ……..if you’ve decided to give sleep training a try, it often goes better if Dad takes the lead. That’s right! Take a load off, Mum. Dad’s taking point on this one because Dad can’t breast feed, and baby knows this! So, when it comes to breaking the association between nursing and falling asleep, baby tends to learn quicker and respond better when Dad comes into the room during the first few nights of baby learning to fall asleep independently.
But if Dad’s going to get involved, him and Baby have to find their own rhythm. Mums have to give them the space they need to figure it out. As much as they always say they’ll have no problem letting their husbands take the wheel, when it comes down to the moment of truth, many women have trouble giving up control.
So remember, Dad might just be the magical solution to your baby’s sleep issues, but you’re going to have to let him take over. Take heart though. Most of my clients see dramatic improvements in their baby’s sleep in just a couple of nights, so you won’t have to control yourself for long. After that, you and your partner will have the evenings back to yourselves, and your whole family can get back to sleeping through the night.
Give the mums the gift of sleep this March!