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This expert wants you to know: There’s no wrong way to sleep train

Sometimes you just gotta do you, mama. 

This expert wants you to know: There’s no wrong way to sleep train

Before I became a sleep consultant, I thought sleep training was some kind of secret club for moms. I could not understand why you would need to “train” your baby to get a full night of rest. Training was something I did before running a race or starting a job. Sleeping was something I did when I was just tired. Ah, pre-mom naivety.


Once I became a mother and started to read up on sleep, I became fascinated (but also confused) with all of the information out there on how to get your baby to sleep better.

Before my training, here’s what I thought sleep training meant:

If you don’t train your baby to sleep, he will never learn on his own.

Training your baby to sleep means teaching self-soothing, but self-soothing can't happen until a certain age.

Then, once he is ready, you have to un-train him on the habits he learned before he was ready to sleep train.

Sleep training basically means letting your baby cry, but that also does damage.

If you sleep train you are pretty much homebound for two weeks.

On top of all that, there were secret acronyms like CIO (cry-it-out) and LO (little one) that everyone used in baby forums.

But, the more I read, the more I became interested in the science of sleep and understanding why sleep deprivation is such a problem. As soon as I found out sleep consultants were a thing, I was convinced it was my calling.

Today, I have worked with hundreds of families in my seven years as a sleep coach (the term I prefer) and sleep training is no longer a foreign concept that makes my head spin. Unfortunately, though, it is for most mamas.

There is no shortage of information out there on sleep training. That is part of the problem. If you aren’t sure what to think, I wish I could give you a hug (or baby sleep dust). But I do have something else that will hopefully make this a little easier...

The ONE thing I want you to know about sleep training is that it isn’t one-size-fits-all.

I know this might not be earth-shattering news, but it does make all the difference to adopt this principle.

You see, in my profession I rarely have moms reaching out to me who just want to chat about sleep. They are usually desperate, have tried “everything” and I am their last hope.

And each time I hear a relatively similar story: They read somewhere to follow a specific method, which didn't end up working. Or they were told by their friend's sister's neighbor to let their baby cry it out. And now they are totally confused and still very tired.

Sleep training is designed to really be the stage of teaching opportunities. Sleeping is as natural to us as is eating or breathing—babies included. Our bodies know that it needs to happen and without it we wouldn't survive.

So, why does it seem so unnatural for babies to get the rest their bodies need?

Because every baby is unique, which means each child has her own set of unique sleeping patterns. Some babies will quickly adapt to sleeping alone or following a specific sleep schedule and some won't. Some will cry all night long if they are left alone in their crib and some will not. Some will feel soothed when given a paci or when offered a feed. Some will refuse all of the above.

“Sleep training” is an opportunity to work with your child in identifying her natural sleep cycle and to help her to develop healthy habits around that cycle. There are many ways you can do this, starting with one of the many sleep methods out there (Ferber, Sleep Lady Shuffle, No Cry Sleep Solution, etc.)

It is very common to try one method and realize it is not going to be effective for your child. While you do want to give it some time to stick, you may realize that your child responds very differently than anticipated or predicted by a book. Give yourself some credit and follow your instincts because you know your baby best—not your friend who is commenting on your social media on what to do with YOUR baby.

Sleep training is a process. It takes time. It takes patience. And it takes the (rightful) belief you will get there. You may even come to find that there is very little training that actually needs to happen.

These new arrivals from the Motherly Shop are *so* good you need them all

Noodle and Boo, Mushie and Plan Toys—everything you need, mama.

Motherhood is hard work—finding great products and brands to make the journey easier doesn't have to be. Each week, we stock the Motherly Shop with brilliant new products we know you'll need and love from brands and makers that really care.

So, what's new this week?

Noodle and Boo: Holistic baby skin care

Through working with chemists who specialize in natural and holistic skin care, Noodle and Boo has developed exclusive formulas that nourish, replenish and protect especially delicate, eczema-prone and sensitive skin—including laundry detergent. Their signature, obsession-worthy scent—which is subtly sweet, pure and fresh—is the closest thing to bottling up "baby smell" we've ever found.

Mushie: Kids' dinnerware that actually looks great

We're totally crushing on Mushie's minimalist dinnerware for kids. Their innovative baby and toddler products leverage Swedish design to marry both form and function while putting safety front and center. Everything is created in soft, muted colors from BPA-free materials.

Plan Toys: Open-ended toys that last

Corralling and cleaning up the toys becomes less stressful when you bring home fewer, better, more beautiful ones. Plan Toys checks all the boxes. Made from re-purposed rubber wood, they're better for the planet as well.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Mushie silicone baby bib

Mushie silicone baby bib

There's no going back to cloth bibs after falling in love with this Swedish design. The pocket catches whatever misses their mouths and the BPA-free silicone is waterproof and easy to wipe down between uses.

$13

Mushie kids' square dinnerware plate set

Mushie kids' square dinnerware plate set

We're totally crushing on the soft muted colors that flow with our table aesthetics and the thoughtful high-sided design that helps babies and toddler who are learning to feed themselves.

$15

Noodle and Boo nursery essentials kit

Noodle and Boo nursery essentials kit

Stocked with everything a new mama needs to care for her little one's delicate skin, Noodle and Boo's nursery essentials gift set is the perfect way to create a holistic and natural skin care routine from day one.

$45

Plan Toys doctor set 

Plan Toys doctor set

Ideal for quiet time and imaginative role play, we love the gorgeous planet-friendly doctor kit from Plan Toys. The rubber wood stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, thermometer, syringe and reflex hammer pack up neat and tidy into the red cotton case should they need to dash off on a rescue mission.

$30

Noodle and Boo instant hand sanitizer

Noodle and Boo instant hand sanitizer

Since we're buying and using hand sanitizer by the truckload these days, we're thrilled Noodle and Boo has made one we can feel good about using on little ones who cram their hands in their mouths 24/7. Not only does it kill 99.9% of germs, but it also leaves hands moisturized as well.

$10

Plan Toys natural wooden blocks set

Plan Toys natural wooden blocks set

A toy box isn't complete without a set of blocks—and this set is one of our new favorites. The sustainable, re-purposed wood is eco-friendly, comes at a relatively affordable price point and are certain to last well beyond multiple kids, hand-me-downs and even generations.

$30

Noodle and Boo family fun pack cleansing set

Noodle and Boo family fun pack cleansing set

Because their products were developed for delicate and eczema-prone skin, Noodle and Boo's full line of skin care has become a favorite among those with sensitive skin of all ages. This set is the perfect way to pamper the entire family.

$48

Mushie kids' round dinnerware bowl set

Mushie kids' round dinnerware bowl set

No need to sacrifice safety or design with the sustainable dinnerware from Mushie. Their minimalist, functional dishes are perfect for serving up meals and snacks to your tablemates who might hurl it to the floor at any point. They're made in Denmark from BPA-free polypropylene plastic mamas can feel good about and dishwasher and microwave-safe as well.

$14

Plan Toys geo stacking blocks

Plan Toys geo stacking blocks

The best engaging, open-ended toys are the ones that are left out and available, inviting little (and big!) ones to play. These beautiful gem-like blocks make for addicting coffee table play for the entire family.

$30

Plan Toys wooden green dollhouse

Plan Toys wooden green dollhouse

Energy-efficient design isn't just for grown-up real estate. This green dollhouse includes a wind turbine, a solar cell panel, electric inverter, recycling bins, a rain barrel, a biofacade and a blind that can adjust the amount of sunlight and air circulation along with minimalist furniture we'd totally love to have in our own houses.

$250

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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