Top 10 Indicators It's Time to Sleep Train (Part 1)

I talk to a lot of exhausted moms (and dads) who feel like their current sleep situation with their child really isn’t working, but they feel guilty or unsure about the idea of sleep training. After all, babies are only young once, it goes by so fast, you need to “night parent” the same as during the day, maybe they will just outgrow it, etc.  There is truth to all of this and the parents I work are always very cognizant of wanting to do whatever is best for their child, even at their own expense. 

So, how do you know when it is time to take the plunge?  There is a threshold that is crossed at a certain point where no one is happy, physical and mental health are deteriorating, relationships (marital or parent-child) are suffering, and something desperately needs to change. Here are the top 10 indicators that I look for and notice in parents to whom I simply want to say, “Friend, IT IS TIME.”


1. The problem has been going on for more than 2 weeks.

Babies are wonderful but exhausting. Even the best sleeper will keep his parents up for a good chunk of the night at least a handful of times in the first year.  We can’t cure normal. Disrupted sleep because of illness, traveling, or new developmental milestones is going to happen. But when a problem persists for at least a week or two, it’s time to make some changes. A persistent pattern gives us a chance to really pinpoint what’s going on and come up with the right plan. 

2. You've had sleep-deprived accidents. 

Sleep deprivation is no joke. I’ve talked to more than 1 mom whose wake-up call was literally falling down the stairs while holding the baby because of being so sleep deprived. Another client was so tired she shattered her whole coffee pot into pieces against the counter top, glass shards everywhere. And don't even get me started on the dangers of DUIN - Driving Under the Influence of a Newborn! Sleep deprived moms are at serious risk for dangerous car accidents. Don’t let it get this bad, parents! But if it already is that bad, it’s time to make a change today. 

3. Babe is cranky during the day/evening and even after naps. 

A classic sign of an overtired baby is waking up from sleep already cranky and/or being cranky for the hours before bed. Many people call this the witching hour and think it’s normal. It is common, but it’s not normal. A well-rested baby or toddler on the right schedule should not be falling apart for hours before bed. 

A well-rested baby or toddler on the right schedule should not be falling apart for hours before bed. 

4. You haven't showered since Lord-knows-when. 

Ok, Moms, we all know we go through seasons where pampering ourselves isn’t exactly top priority. That’s motherhood. But if self-care has gone out the window to the point that you’re not even doing basic things for yourself like showering, eating properly (or even eating at all), and getting a tiny bit of alone time, (because you’re spending all your time putting the baby to sleep or getting up all night), then it’s time for a change.

5. You feel stuck. 

If you’ve tried to make changes to your little one’s sleep patterns but have not seen the success you and your child really need to thrive, and you don’t know what else to do, then it’s time to reach out for help. 

If even one of the above is true for you, we strongly suggest that NOW is the time. 

Which number do you relate to?

Lindsey McGonegal