Can Attachment Parents Sleep Train?
Attachment parenting is a philosophy that focuses on building a strong emotional bond between parents and their children. It encourages co-sleeping, baby-wearing, and immediate responsiveness to a child’s needs. While attachment parenting is celebrated for its nurturing and responsive approach, one question that often arises is whether attachment parents can incorporate sleep training into their parenting style. In this blog post, we’ll explore the compatibility of attachment parenting and sleep training, considering both children’s and parents’ needs.
Attachment Parenting Principles
As coined by Dr. William Sears, attachment parenting revolves around fostering a deep emotional connection between parents and their children. Fundamental principles of attachment parenting include:
- Breastfeeding: Promoting breastfeeding for its bonding benefits.
- Co-sleeping: Advocating for infants to sleep close to their parents.
- Baby-wearing: Encouraging the use of baby carriers for physical closeness.
- Prompt responsiveness: Responding to a child’s needs promptly and empathetically.
These practices are designed to create a secure and emotionally fulfilling environment for a child.
Sleep Training: What Is It?
Sleep training is using multiple techniques to help babies learn to sleep independently and develop a consistent sleep schedule. These techniques may involve various approaches, including the “Ferber method,” the “cry-it-out” method, or more gentle methods like the “No Tears” approach. Sleep training aims to help babies learn to self-soothe and sleep through the night, leading to improved sleep for both the child and the parents. While learning new skills, brings emotions, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a responsive night time parent if given the right tools. Not all night time parenting aka Sleep Training is the same!
Balancing Attachment with Sleep Training
Can attachment parents embrace sleep training without compromising the principles of attachment parenting? The answer is not one-size-fits-all. It largely depends on the individual needs of both the child and the parents. Here are some considerations:
- Attachment parenting can coexist with gentle sleep training: Attachment parenting principles do not necessarily preclude sleep training. Many attachment parents incorporate sleep training techniques that are responsive and sensitive to their child’s needs. This way, they can help their child develop good sleep habits while maintaining a strong emotional bond.
- Parental well-being matters: Attachment parenting is about being responsive to a child’s needs, but it’s also essential for parents to get adequate rest and care for their well-being. Sleep training, when done gently, can help parents achieve this balance.
- Each child is unique: Some babies naturally adapt to sleep patterns more quickly than others. Parents must assess their child’s temperament and needs to determine the most appropriate sleep training approach.
Attachment parenting and sleep training are not inherently incompatible. Finding a balance that respects both the emotional needs of the child and the physical and emotional needs of the parent is the key to sleep training while attachment parenting. While attachment parents may lean toward more gentle sleep training methods, the most important factor is ensuring that the chosen approach aligns with the child’s well-being and the family. Ultimately, the decision to implement sleep training within an attachment parenting framework should be based on what works best for each unique family and child.
Nurtured Foundation offers sleep training plans that are compatible with attachment parenting. These plans are called Intuitive Sleep Plans. Our dual Certified Sleep Consultant, is a certified postpartum doula, certified newborn care specialist, and certified lactation counselor, and works with many older infants and toddlers that bed share & nurse to sleep (multiple times a night). While intuitive, attachment-based sleep training takes longer than traditional methods, but they are well worth the time and peace of mind that you and your baby are continuing the emotional attachment you’ve worked hard to create!