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Written by Lavinia
Certified Paediatric Sleep Consultant
14 August 2020

Sleep training with Dad

I usually find that typically it is one parent who handles the matter of getting baby to sleep or back to sleep. That parent is usually Mum, and this is not always because Dad isn't willing to help.

It is because one of the most common sleep props/aids to get baby to sleep is nursing, effectively eliminating Dad from the picture.

Now, there are a few reasons why this is an issue. It is obviously difficult for both mother and baby if the infant wakes up six times at night and demands that Mama come in to nurse her back to sleep.

Strangely enough though, Dad too sometimes loses out in this situation. Often fathers want to be great Dads involved in attending to their baby's needs. They might also feel pretty wretched that their partners are doing all the heavy lifting, and are genuinely keen to relieve them. But they are helpless in assisting when it comes to baby's sleep, as Mum is the one with the special breast milk. As a result, Mum is awakened whenever the baby screams, and Dad, while empathetic, can do nothing more than go back to sleep.

The sleep deprived Mum who feels like she is pulling all the weight here, becomes resentful and hostile. And Dad in turn feels attacked over something he has no control over.

The good news for you both is that, if you've decided to undertake sleep training, it frequently goes more smoothly if Dad takes the lead.

So Mum, sit back, relax and let Dad is take the reins. Dad doesn't nurse, and baby is aware of this. So, during the first few nights of the baby learning to fall asleep without being nursed, baby is less confused and learns quicker when Dad comes into the room on the first few nights instead of Mum.

Funnily enough, when I tell parents this, Mum's initial reaction is usually to smile brightly whilst teasing Dad about having to get up 8 times a night. But then when it's all happening, and baby is crying, Mum is the first out of bed and into baby's room to take over the whole thing - or instructs and corrects Dad every step of the way.

Now if Dad is going to get this done, he and baby need to create their own rhythm, and Mum needs to take a step back. And despite claiming that they'll have no problems letting their husbands take the reins, many mothers find it difficult to ultimately relinquish control.

If you find this rings true for you, have courage. You won't have to restrain yourself for very long because the majority of my clients notice a tremendous improvement in their baby's sleep in just a few nights! You will then be enjoying your evenings together relaxed and undisturbed, followed by getting a full night's sleep yourselves.

Article written by Lavinia
Certified Paediatric Sleep Consultant
Based in Singapore
Trained in the Sleep Sense Program

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