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Sleep Teaching and Attachment

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This blog is going to inform you a little about the link between sleep teaching and attachment.

I was a baby wearing/ co-sleeping (Lullaby Trust for co-sleeping guidelines) mum who struggled with sleep. There was always lots of talk about sleep amongst my mumming peers and by all accounts the majority of them had baby’s that slept quite soundly in comparison to my son. I was not aware that there was sleep help like the type I prescribe to parents that is breastfeeding inclusive and instead I was of the opinion that all sleep consultants had round about ways of supporting you through cry-it-out which is something I knew I could not do. 

It wasn’t until a friend of mine who was very similar to me in the way we parented used the services of Little Dreams and I saw her little one getting better and longer sleep. 1 year later I decided it was time to take the plunge and give sleep teaching a go as I was becoming lethargic and unwell through lack of decent sleep.   

Little Dreams Consultants are all incredibly evidence based and are always on the lookout for new sleep research and baby and child behavioural research.

If you would like to read more on the benefits of sleep you can read my blog here.

Lots of parents who approach me about getting help or advice with their little one’s sleep are concerned about things they may have read or heard in the media or amongst their peers. Most of what they hear is that helping their little one gain independent sleep skills will negatively impact their attachment.

Some people are firmly grounded in their beliefs and no matter what they hear, their opinion does not change and I respect this and sleep teaching is not for them. Ultimately though, parents and carers that come to me are not sure how they feel about sleep teaching and they are somewhere in the middle and open to learning.  The question still remained though…

Will Sleep training impact on the attachment between me and my child?

As always we turn to evidence based research to help answer this question.

Dr Michael Gradisar has put together recent research on attachment and babies sleep and has kindly allowed Little Dreams Consulting to share on their website here, don’t worry it isn’t too lengthy a read, (Gradisar et al, 2016)

If you do not have the time then here is a cut straight to the conclusion… as part of her phd on behavioural sleep treatment, Dr Gökçe Akdogan evaluated child-parent attachment before and after families received sleep training by measuring their attachment before and after sleep teaching. (children used in the experiment were  between the ages of 6-16 months). She noted that attachment became no less secure. In fact, the secure attachment scores were stronger in sleep trained children as simply they were less tired and getting the sleep they needed. If you would like to read the full thesis get in touch.

If you have any concerns or just want to talk about this further book a free 15 minute phone call to talk about working together  get in touch

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