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Does Baby Sleep Training Work? Should You Do It?

Updated: Mar 21

Should you sleep train? Is it harmful? What's the evidence against sleep training? Will it work?

You will find people giving anecdotal evidence in support of sleep training.

It’s important to realise that anecdotal evidence is not reliable at all and is heavily skewed by a parent's own self-serving bias, desire to feel “right”, “smart”, like they're a "good parent", and by their desire to avoid of the pain of ever admitting something they did might be detrimental to their child’s future development and mental health.

Some people also want others to sleep train so they feel validated in their choices, and to soften the deep primal pain and guilt of choosing to go against Mother Nature and to sacrifice their baby’s biological needs and future mental health for their own desire to hurry up and fit back into modern lifestyle.

Sleep training does “work” at getting a mum more time to herself… but it sacrifices the baby in doing so. The cost is not worth the result.

Ignoring anything gets you more time to yourself… but it’s cruel to neglect a vulnerable baby who is powerless to escape the situation or otherwise get its needs met.

Sleep training is inflicting early childhood trauma on something utterly powerless to protect itself.

Hitting a spouse is also likely to be effective at getting you more control over them too... it might scare them into submission or put them into "freeze" or "fawn" mode too - but it’s very wrong to do.

Some outcomes are not worth the price and the damage.

Some people object with: well the government offers sleeping training services for free!!

Just because the government offers you something for free, doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

Public/government hospitals also used to knock you out in childbirth and separate your baby from you for free too, and now they don’t because they later realised it was harmful.

There is significant research about the negative impacts of maternal separation/deprivation.

Human infants were not designed to cry without regulation. Just because some babies sadly “gave up” crying, gave up signalling their needs and went into "extinction mode" and, in doing so, were scarified to make that mother's life easier... does not mean it didn’t come at the harm of that child’s proper development.

A baby’s cry needs a response, every time.

That's the whole point of the cry. It's communication of a need. A need that can't be regulated because babies don't have the brain capacity for self-regulation... and can't just take themselves to the loo, ask for a hug, talk out their problems, tell you they're scared and need help to calm down etc..