When my partner and I were fairly clueless when we started sleep training our daughter. On the advice of a dear friend and doula, we started sort of low-key sleep training when our daughter was just 3 months old. She was suffering from major baby FOMO and wasn't sleeping well, or frequently, and especially during the daytime. Since we barely knew what we were doing, we didn't realize it would probably be a good idea to tell ourselves a few key things during a pre-sleep training pep talk. Sure, hindsight is always 20/20, but I have a feeling these clutch phrases definitely would have made the entire process a more peaceful one.
I know sleep training isn't for everyone. Trust me, I know. Since sleep training our daughter, I've seen and read and been bombarded by every single article, claiming sleep training is the most cruel thing I could do to my baby and, as a result, my baby would never bond to me the way co-sleeping babies bonded with their mothers. It's really hard to avoid those messages online, and even in person with friends who have strong beliefs about and against sleep training. What worked for my family doesn't necessarily have to work for your family, though, and that was the crux of what my partner and I told ourselves before we sleep trained our daughter.
The other critical part of a pre-sleep training pep talk was that my partner and I were having it together. We were a team, and that was so important for our daughter and for our family. So as long as you tackle the whole sleep training thing as one united front, and tell yourself the following things, you're going to be just fine and sleeping in no time.
"This Won't Last Forever"
Yes, you will probably need gently repeat this mantra to yourself over and over again for a few months, and especially when your baby's sleep patterns change, but I promise this whole sleep training thing won't last forever. Not if you give it a proper chance, that is.
If you half-ass it, you might be at it forever, but with 100 percent effort from the very beginning I can assure you the painful throes of sleep training will, eventually, come to an end.
"This Is What's Best For My Family"
This is the best pep talk my partner and I gave ourselves before sleep training our daughter. We knew it was what was best for our family, and we needed to remind ourselves of that periodically.
"Maybe I Should Check The Internet"
Remind yourself that you've got all the information at your finger tips. You've done your research (or have at least gathered some pieces of information about what you're about to do) and you're armed with a plan that you and your partner both agree on.
In other words, you got this.
"Yeah, Screw The Internet"
Then again, if you spend too much time on the internet you won't know what to believe about sleep training anymore. Half the internet loves it and half the internet thinks it's the worst thing ever. Do your research on options for sleep training (because there are many!) and leave the excoriating opinions behind before they seep into your brain and rob you of any peace about your sleep training plan.
"No One Else's Opinion Matters"
Except your pediatrician, because I really can't recommend you ignore that person, I say you try your hardest to eliminate everyone else's opinions from your mind. You know what is best for your family.
"It's OK To Eat All The Chocolate"
In my opinion, sleep training earns you face-to-face time with your treat of choice. Lots of face-to-face time.
"It's A Marathon, Not A Sprint"
It won't take forever, but remember that it's best not to judge the efficacy of your sleep training on the first night, or even the first nap. It's likely going to take a few tries before your little one learns how to sooth themselves to sleep.
"It's OK To Take A Break"
Tell yourself, and tell yourself often, that it's OK to take breaks. In fact, a walk around the block usually helped me clear my mind so that I could continue the process. My partner felt the same way, and considered the shushing and bouncing part of our daughter's sleep training process to be exhausting. I really needed breaks from the crying-it-out period, especially when we realized our darling baby was not going to be shushed to sleep, no matter how hard we tried.
"I'm Part Of A Team"
Whether you have a parenting partner you can rely on, or a support person who can come over and help you, you need to be part of a team when you're sleep training. You absolutely do not need to go through it alone, regardless of whether or not you have a romantic partner involved in you or your baby's life.
So, try to turn to someone else and remind that person that they're there for you, and you're there for them, and together you can make this whole sleep training thing work for everyone involved.