What attachment-based sleep training looks like and how to put it into practice

In this post, I’m going to go over attachment-based sleep training approaches, but first, we need to go over what the difference between healthy and unhealthy attachment is and discerning your child’s wants and their needs. 

Healthy Attachment

So what exactly does a healthy attachment look like? 

  1. Your child is secure and confident that their needs are going to be met.
  2. They know mom is there for them and will meet their needs

This can look different for every parent and child, so stay in tuned for what YOUR child needs. Always think: How can I meet my child’s needs without doing more than that? Doing everything for your child does not build a healthy and secure attachment. 

Wants VS Needs

Now let’s look at how we can discern between our kid’s wants and needs. 

There’s so much research out there and so many competing and opposing ideas on how to raise kids, and it can be overwhelming. To help counteract that:

  1. Be as well informed as possible
  2. Be conscientious and make informed decisions based on what YOU think is right
  3. Move forward with confidence
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Healthy attachment sets the stage for sleep training by fostering your babies ability to self soothe

If the baby starts crying and you start panicking on what your baby needs, first take a deep breath. Remember that crying does not always signal an unmet need. If your baby is fed, dry, and safe, then it’s OK to let your baby cry it out and self soothe.

Self Soothing

Your baby will start to learn that mom is there when I NEED her. When you leave them to work things out on their own and self soothe, they will build on this independence all their lives. 

The amount of intervention that our kids actually need from us is way lower than we give to them sometimes.

Attachment is founded on the millions of interactions we have with our kids every day, not just one or two events. 

Being in tune with what your child needs and them being able to self soothe and work things out for themselves are interconnected. If you know your child can do those things and yet they’re still crying or they’re not acting the same, you can immediately tell something is wrong. 

Keep In Mind

It’s so important to remember that it’s not our duty as parents to prevent our children from experiencing discomfort. Our job is to keep them in a loving and safe environment, meet their needs, and help them learn that they can rely on themselves.

When you keep these important aspects in mind and implement them, sleep training your child can run a lot smoother. 

Babies

Now that we have an understanding of what healthy attachment looks like, let’s dive into how to use healthy attachment to sleep train your baby. 

The most important aspect to remember during this whole experience and what I will constantly tell other mamas is: overtired babies protest more.

Keeping your baby from getting overtired is key through this whole process. To do this, you don’t want to go more than 90 minutes of an awake time stretch. Don’t overstimulate baby during their awake times because this will also make the baby overtired. 

Bedtimes and Feedings

We also want to start making bedtimes nice and early and feeding your babies when they are hungry, not just to help them fall asleep.

Helping your kids learn how to sleep independently will help you know if they are crying because they are hungry/ wet or because they are just being fussy. You can do this by getting them on a predictable sleep schedule and being in tune with their needs.

You are the best at knowing what your baby needs, and if you don’t want to let them cry it out, you don’t have to! Do whatever feels right for you and your baby! 

By 4 months old, your baby is looking for structure in their daily routine, making it the most optimal time to start.

Naps

Overall, your nap schedule will change as your babies grow. In general, you want to keep them on a nap schedule until they’re about 2 ½ years old. In terms of swaddling, I recommend that you stop swaddling when they can roll over on their own. 

I’ve just scratched the surface of sleep training in this blog so if you still have questions or want a more tailored sleep training guide, I have a sleep training book you can find on my website or you can purchase a consultation by yours truly!