3 Reasons sleep training efforts fail

general Sep 16, 2021

    My name is Mica. I am a certified sleep consultant and founder of Rested Mama, Happy Baby. I help families on their journey to establish healthy sleep habits and get the whole family sleeping again! You may be reading this because you’ve tried sleep training and it was either not helpful or just pulled at your heart.  You’ve heard “sleep training” in the past, and you thought “cry-it-out.”  Maybe you tried it because you were tired, exhausted, and this was the method suggested to you.  You geared yourself up because you knew there was going to be value in having a sleep-trained child.  You tried it one night, your child cried, there was no end in sight and…It failed. 

   This is such a familiar story that I have heard many times and in the end, you and your child are back to sleepless nights with the tremendous amount of guilt weighing on you for the ‘pointless crying’ the previous night. You’re not alone.  So many families have this story.  When these families connect with me, it’s usually out of exhaustion and hopes that working with a sleep coach will be different.  There are many reasons sleep training efforts fail. Below I have outlined three of the main culprits. 


3 Reasons Sleep Training Efforts Fail


1. One-size-fits-all approach:

   A lot of families who have tried sleep training and failed were told a one-size-fits-all approach would work, and with the many resources online, that usually means “Cry-it-Out.”  I won’t deny that for some families, this has certainly worked, but utilizing it, when it might not be suitable for you or your family isn’t going to produce success.  The truth is, every family is unique, and while there are very standard approaches, it’s crucial to use the right method for your family.  Cry-it-out is not your only option, nor should it be!



2. Not being adequately prepared: 

   Some families start out of desperation and decide to sleep train in the same night. Usually, this means that a family begins a method but isn’t prepared for crying or the different habits to handle night wakings.  With no end in sight, after one or two nights of crying there’s no plan to continue efforts.  Without a clear plan in place, discussing expectations of partnership, and also understanding how this will affect your child’s temperament and sleep is important to navigate through each day so you are successful in implementing healthy habits.  Sleep training is a process.



3. Only focusing on nighttime sleep: 

   Many families also believe sleep training means that you only focus on nighttime sleep. Sleep training is much more than nighttime and so much more than leaving a baby to cry it out.  It’s about developing the right balance of sleep, creating a good feeding schedule, developing consistent habits and routines to support a nighttime method that is developmentally appropriate for your child.  Good daytime sleep and feeding support are critical for good nighttime sleep.  These go hand in hand.  Sleep training requires having a healthy balance of naps and wake times so that you can have more successful and enjoyable nights.  Focusing on nighttime without working to support better sleep in the day is a recipe for failure.



   This is why I focus on providing my families with the education and coaching on a more holistic approach because sleep training is much more than it shows up on the internet.  Sleep training is about supporting your child’s biological sleep needs in the way that they are receptive to it.  I coach my families 1:1 because sleep needs are unique to families, and their uniqueness must be taken into consideration in every aspect of their day and night to be successful.  


   So… the next time you feel sleep training failed you, don’t despair.  It can still be right for your family!  Our resources help you navigate through all the white noise on the internet with step-by-step guides on how to customize your own sleep plan.  If you want more 1:1 support, I am here for you.  Sleep is just a phone call away.


Exhaustion is optional, 

Rested Mama, Happy Baby Founder

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