Is there such a thing as a No Cry Sleep Training Method?
The answer is yes, but a “no cry method” is probably not what you think it is.
(*Deep breath*… run on sentence coming) I personally believe the name is intentionally misleading as a sales tactic in response to the overwhelming recent push against the sleep training industry.
Most parents dread the crying that typically occurs during sleep training – it’s the very reason that many parents avoid sleep training all together. So, when you see professionals talk about a “no cry method” it might make your ears perk up! The same results without the tears? Let’s do it!
No Tears Does not Mean No Crying
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I don't like deceiving parents - This is simply not true.
A no cry method is not suggesting that there will be no tears.
Logically, if we think about it, have you ever actually had control over your child’s emotions? Sure, they often are comforted if you snuggle, breastfeed, or rock them… but not every time. Ask any mama who has had a baby with colic, you can love on that baby all you want but they will still scream (sometimes for hours at a time!).
While there still will likely be tears involved during a no cry method, this type of method actually suggests that your baby will not be crying by themselves. I prefer to refer to these methods as “in the room” methods or “gentle” methods.
You are still teaching your baby a new way of falling asleep, and if there is one thing that babies don’t like – it’s a change in their routine. Babies LOVE predictability. Even if you are very involved in the sleep training method your child will likely still cry.
What Are Some No Crying (Alone) Methods?
There are a few different methods that you can use to implement, from pick up put down, to the shush and pat, to camping out. None of these methods are secrets – and a quick google search will break down these methods for you! (Or you can read a quick explanation of the different methods in my previous Blog Pot: Sleep Training Methods Explained)
Not a One Size Fits All Solution
What those posts might not tell you is that a "gentle" or "in the room" method may not work well for every child or parent!
For children we want to use a sleep training method that matches their temperament. Some children can become very stimulated or extremely frustrated if a parent is in the room with them but is not rocking or feeding them to sleep. While some frustration is completely normal, if it takes 3 hours for your child to fall asleep at night – I would be tempted to say that the frequent interaction might be keeping your child awake instead of helping them fall asleep.
For parents we want to use a method that you feel like you can be consistent with! For some, an in the room method sounds nice in theory – but it’s important to remember that this does not mean that it will be tear free.
For some parents, myself included, it’s very hard for to be right next to a crying child and “stick to the plan”. I do much better with a leave and check method. If there is some space between us then I can regulate myself a little better, set a timer, and complete my check ins with a calm demeanor – but if I am in the room then I will likely get overwhelmed, and 3 minutes will feel like 3 hours.
Lastly, there is an age factor to consider here. Older babies and toddlers may not do well with a method like pick up put down. This method is performed JUST like it sounds. If your child starts to cry you pick them up. You comfort them until they stop crying then you put them back down. Repeat until they fall asleep. For a very young baby with a more flexible temperament – this method can work like magic. For a strong willed two-year-old, you are going to be seeing a much different story!
This is your reminder, that sleep training or lack of sleep training does not determine if you are a good parent or if your children will be emotionally validated and securely attached. The suggestion that letting your child be upset temporarily is going to ruin their attachment, is scare media at it's best - and if that were true then it would honestly set us all up for failure.
The method you use also doesn't determine whether or not you are a good parent. I know it can feel overwhelming to sleep train, especially with how much information there is on the internet. If you want support through the process then let's schedule a time to chat.