Sleep training is difficult enough, but when you're doing it on your own, it can seem impossible. Even with an engaged and invested dad, sleep can often feel like mom's duty, especially if you're breastfeeding or if your child is particularly cling to you. But there are plenty of ways dads can and should help with sleep training so that your entire family can get a good night's sleep.
Seems pretty straightforward, right? Your dad is a parent to your child, so they should be involved with sleep training, too. But for many parents, the bedtime routine falls on the shoulders of mom. Whether it's because your partner works later than you do or because you've just always been the first one to head to the bedroom for pajamas and stories, it happens. But sleep training is a totally different beast. I already think it's nice if both parents are involved at bedtime, but I can honestly say that sleep training is much easier if you have your baby's father helping out, no matter what kind of technique or method you use.
If you're breastfeeding or trying to break a sleep association for your child, it's even more necessary for your partner to try these nine different ways to help out with sleep training. Because two sleep-deprived parents? Way worse than sleep training.
1. They Can Go In To Calm Your Baby Down
Even if your child is particularly clingy, it's always helpful if dad takes one for the team and heads into the room when it's time to calm your little one back down. Not only because it gives you a break, but it also shows your child that they can find comfort in their father, even at night.
2. They Can Feed Your Baby A Bottle
If your baby is breastfed, this tip is especially helpful. According to Kelly Mom, babies comfort nurse, especially when they are getting sleepy, but this can lead to sleep associations that are heard to break. You don't want to breastfeed your baby every night to get them to go to sleep, right? Give your baby's dad a bottle so they can take over a night feeding and break the association of breast and sleep.
3. They Can Take Over While You Relax
One of the hardest parts about sleep training is the consistent crying, going back and forth to your baby's room, and feeling guilty. What works for a lot of couples, including my fiancé and me, was taking turns. For 15 minutes, my fiancé would do all of the comforting and checking on our daughter while I took a shower or sat outside where I couldn't hear her fighting her sleep. It's amazing what that time can do to calm you down and make you an even better mom.
4. They Can Be A Part Of The Bedtime Routine
I always think two parents are better than one during bedtime and there are a few reasons why. First, your kid understands that bedtime is a two person job and that both of you are a team. It's also way easier on you to have someone help read a book and tuck in your child, especially if they are fighting sleep. And finally, your baby's dad needs to know how the bedtime routine works so they can take over on nights when you're gone or when it's too tough to put your little one to sleep.
5. They Can Clear Their Schedule For A Few Days
This way, no one can say "but I have to get up early tomorrow." When you both have clear schedules for sleep training, it doesn't feel quite as panicky.
6. They Can Stay Consistent
No breaking the routine, no changing things up, and no new interactions during sleep training. Whatever your partner has been doing during sleep training, they need to remain consistent with it. According to Baby Sleep Site, consistency is key in sleep training.
7. They Can Queue Up Netflix For The Long Nights
Hey, some nights are long and hard. Even if you're the one putting your baby back to sleep, it's nice if your partner decides to stay awake with you and power through those late hours. Have them queue up a favorite Netflix show, grab a snack, and try to make the most of the 2 a.m. hour.
8. They Can Calm Down Older Children In The House
Sleep training is especially hard if there are other children in the house. While you're handing the littlest one, Alpha Mom noted that you can have your children's father keep the other kids in the house calm and put them to bed so you can focus.
9. They Ask How They Can Help
The best way for them to help? They just need to ask you what they can do. Maybe all you need is a glass of water or a shoulder to cry on. Maybe you need them to rock the baby for a few minutes while you take a breather outside. Be honest with them and ask them for what you actually need, even if it's nothing to do with sleep training. You need support.