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How To Talk To Others About Your Child’s Sleep

how to talk to others about your child's sleep

Making decisions about your little one’s sleep is hard enough on it’s own and is only made harder by conflicting opinions coming at us from all angles. That’s why today, we are sharing our suggestions on how to talk to others about your child’s sleep!

It’s no secret that sleep and sleep training can be a pretty controversial topic. And depending on who you’re chatting with, it can be either completely polarizing or a great way to unite or bond with another mom. The trouble is that it’s not always easy to know right away which direction the conversation will take.

Believe it or not, even as a child sleep consultant, it’s hard for me to personally talk with others about sleep. Not everyone in my life understands why I’ve made the decisions I’ve made, especially if it doesn’t sync up with the way they view sleep or what has worked for their family. 

I’ve been publicly shamed at a support group.

I’ve been criticized by friends during playdates and told that keeping a strict sleep schedule is why my child is so inflexible (spoiler: this isn’t true, flexibility is a temperament trait!).

I get it!

When you think you know the answer and feel like you can really help another mom, the urge to share is SO strong. This is why I became a child sleep consultant in the first place! However, unsolicited advice/comments can sting, especially if you’re not feeling super confident in your decisions.

If you find yourself in an awkward conversation anytime soon, I’ve got you covered. With years of my own experiences and supporting parents as their sleep consultant, I’ve seen a lot of different scenarios.

Just like with sleep training, there’s not a “one size fits all” solution, so take what you can use from this advice and adjust as necessary.

Remember, any parenting decision you make has to feel right for YOUR family, no one else. You do not owe an explanation to anyone.

how to talk to others about your child's sleep

How To Talk To Your Parents

Depending on how your parents chose to parent you, this conversation can be a little tricky! If your parents chose to sleep train you, or they are open to sleep training, it’s unlikely to become awkward or uncomfortable.

Many times, we find ourselves with different philosophies with our parents or in-laws. Many cannot stand the thought of hearing their sweet grandbaby fuss. Or they may balk when you put your little one to bed early because they are missing out on precious time.

If you get this type of pushback, there are two paths to respond:

  • You may need to be assertive in sharing your philosophies and follow through with your sleep plans, even if they aren’t happy with your choices. Your baby, your rules!
  • You might need to weigh the cost vs. benefit of insisting they respect your routines. Once in a while might not be a big deal, but if your parents or in-laws regularly care for your baby, it’s probably worth sharing your requests.

I’ve found it helps to have it written down. Share with them your child’s normal schedule, their nap/bedtime routine, and emphasize that your child is super capable of putting themselves to sleep.

You might say “sometimes she fusses for a few minutes before she settles, especially if she was just having fun, but she will go to sleep quickly. She really loves her bed and her sleep!”

With in-laws, the conversation might look the same as above, but it might be helpful to ask your spouse to have the conversation instead 😉 

How To Talk To Daycare

In my experience, daycares LOVE when parents communicate with them about what helps their child thrive and sleep well.

Write down your child’s ideal schedule and ask them to stick to it as closely as they can. Let them know that your baby CAN fall asleep without assistance if given the opportunity. Ask them to give your baby a little extra time and space before providing any assistance.

Bella Luna’s founder, Christine, wrote an AMAZING blog about daycare and sleep. It is a must-read if you’re using childcare at all!

How To Talk To Your “Helpful” Friend

Your sweet friend probably has such good intentions. She loves you, and she really wants to see you happy, thriving, and enjoying motherhood.

To these friends, who have told me that putting my baby to sleep later will help him sleep later, or making him nap in a bright room will make him more flexible, I simply nod and say “Oh, I’m so glad that works well for you!” Depending on the relationship, I leave it at that, or I might say “I tried that with Logan and X happened. It was a disaster and I certainly learned my lesson” and then I change the subject.

Child rearing can be as polarizing as politics – best to keep the peace and do you anyways!

The Moms In Facebook Groups

If someone has criticizes or shames you…

Ignore.

Close the app.

Put the phone down.

Walk away.

Don’t let that negativity into your space.

You know your child; you are doing a great job.

Something in them is hurting, or perhaps they’re feeling insecure.

Hope that they’re OK.

If someone has asked for advice, my go-to response before becoming a sleep consultant was usually something like “this isn’t right for every family, but sleep training worked really well for us! My kiddo loves his bed, sleeps well, and is so much happier. I don’t love to discuss this publicly, but I’d be happy to discuss more with you if you’d like to DM.”

When I did this, I’d usually get 3-4 other moms messaging me for advice. If this keeps happening, and you enjoy it, perhaps consider a career as a sleep consultant with the Bella Luna team!!

The Kind Old Lady In The Grocery Store

Her: “Is he a good baby? How does he sleep?”

Me: “He’s amazing! He sleeps like a baby!”

Although one time when I was feeling snarky I said, “no, he’s an as**ole.”

Because if I’m being really honest, the good baby question drives me nuts. All babies are good babies.

Your Pediatrician

Just like daycares, your pediatrician probably loves hearing about your baby’s sleep! Your pediatrician should be a safe space where you can be honest about sleep training. Your pediatrician is a great source of information and most are very pro sleep training.

Regardless of who you’re talking to about your child’s sleep, remember you know your baby best.

You are the best mom for your baby. The mom your kiddo was meant to have, and you’re doing an amazing job!

You do not owe anyone an explanation, ever.

It’s ALWAYS OK to change the subject or to set boundaries about what is up for discussion. And did I mention you’re doing an amazing job?

We hope these suggestions about how to talk to others about your child’s sleep are helpful!

If sleep is challenging and advice is being slung at you left and right, but you don’t know what to do, we are here to help! Reach out to learn how our team of certified sleep consultants can help you figure it all out and give you a proven roadmap!

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