“I want to sleep train but my partner isn’t on board” A sentence that 9 out of 10 of my clients will say to me, and a sentence I spoke myself when my son wasn’t sleeping. So you want to sleep train but your partner doesn’t want to spend the money, they don’t think your child needs the help, they think you guys can do it yourselves, or they just don’t want some stranger coming into their lives and telling them what to do with their kiddo! I’ve heard it all, trust me! This is very common, infact on the rare occasion that I get a call from both parents equally on board I nearly faint in amazement!
Why is this the norm? It’s very simple actually- The primary parent (not always but often this person is mom) is the one responsible for the night wakings, the midnight feeds, the rocking to sleep, and they hold all of the anxiety when it comes to sleep. The primary caregiver is usually the one affected by the lack of the sleep the most. The secondary caregiver (not always but often this person is dad) is the one who gets to be blissfully unaware of how hard it really is. They aren’t there for the bedtime struggles or they get to sleep through the night wakings. To them they really don’t think there is a problem because they don’t get to see it first hand. And to make matters worse, if you’re a stay at home mom you have it even worse because you deal with the nap times, bedtimes, and the cranky baby the next day after a sleepless night. But if you’re in this situation as the secondary caregiver it’s usually a pride thing, rightfully so. the primary may feel like you are telling them that they are not doing a good job and that you are saying they can’t handle it themselves.
What do you do? Well first you need to determine which parent you are during bedtime. Are you the primary caregiver or the secondary caregiver?
If you are the primary- You need to start by telling your partner every detail of what you endure during the night, during bedtime, and during the day. They need to see the problem. Invite them to try it out for a few nights, if they are able to turn things around and sleep train the baby then great, and if they throw in the towel night 2 or refuse to do it at all then tell them that the only other option is to sleep train. Tell them that you have a level 10 problem and that it’s affecting your mental health, your happiness, your ability to enjoy motherhood, your relationship with them, your energy to take care of yourself, and everything else! If you have a baby sharing your bed, remind them of the intimacy you’re missing out on too.
“But it costs money” Yes it does, but this isn’t something that only works for a few weeks. It’s an investment in teaching your child a skill that they will use for the rest of their lives. And you’re investing in something that works 98% of the time, you’re not gambling with those odds. Plus It makes everyones lives so much better in turn. Tell them how important it is to you and how to you, sleep and happiness is priceless. If your partner sees how important this is to you and how much you are truly struggling they will surely jump at anything that will make you and your baby happy and healthier.
If you are the secondary- First, tell them what an amazing job they are doing and that you’re so thankful for them. Really stroke that ego here. And then inform them that teaching healthy sleep habits is hard, so hard in fact that some people actually go to school for it! Tell them that there is nothing wrong in asking for help from a professional to take the stress off of them. Let them know that they have many strengths and that not one person can do it all.
SO you’ve had this talk with them and they still aren’t on board what do you do now?- if it’s a money thing, they really are on board now but still mention it’s not in the budget, that’s okay because I offer payment plans and can work with you in any way that will be comfortable for you and your budget! I also offer different levels of support with different prices and all provide an equal amount of success. I never turn away a family because of their inability to pay.
If it’s not about the money then give me a call and we can talk about another way to approach this or I would be happy to jump on a call with both of you to do the explaining for you! Trust me, I’ve never had anyone regret their investment into a happier, healthier, rested, family. In Fact most say it’s worth every darn penny! In the meantime I’ve attached 2 articles from my blog to help further, if you need more help message me “I want to train but my partner doesn’t” at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can take it from there!
For information on how sleep deprivation affects your relationship:
For a talk through on how to get your partner involved during sleep training: