“Should Mum or Dad do the sleep training?” is a question I often get asked during sleep consultations. Who should do the sleep training, the reassuring? Should it be me or should it be my husband? The reality is, it’s actually more important that we have the person who the baby is expecting to come in, do at least the first night or two of the sleep training.
Who usually responds?
Say we got the person who doesn’t usually get up at night to settle baby to do the sleep training for the first few nights and there’s an improvement (because there will be an improvement) and on night four or five, the other parent goes in (the one who usually got up through the night). What happens is baby goes “Oh, great! You’re here! You’re the one who knows how things work around here and not the crappy idea that’s been happening the last few nights. YOU know that I need to be rocked and fed and facing due north, and bathed in unicorn tears before I go back to sleep. Get cracking!”
We will see improvement if the other person does it, but it’s best to stick to the normal responder. In some cases that might not be mom. I can think of many consults where the baby actually gets mom for bedtime, dad does the 10 o’clock every time, and then mom does the ones after that, etc. In that case, absolutely, get dad to do the 10 o’clock. It’s equally interesting for the child if all of a sudden it’s like, “Oh, mum’s here! What’s going on?” Definitely, just keep to the norm and start sleep training with the one who would normally respond.
Keep going until baby is asleep
Also, if you’re using a certain method for sleep training, whether it’s one that we’ve given you or one you’ve gotten elsewhere, what’s important is that the one person who responds sticks with it until the little one is asleep. If you’ve got one person doing it for half an hour and then gets somebody else to take over and then that person swaps with the first person, etc. you’ll have one very stimulated child – especially if we’re dealing with toddlers. So just have one person per settle, if you will.
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