If sleep training is tough for work-at-home moms, then it’s even tougher for full-time working-outside-the-home moms. When you have to be up by 6 a.m. and out the door by 7:30 — and when you don’t get home until after 5 p.m. — there is very little room in your day to allow for the kind of cross-eyed exhaustion that sleep training can cause!
That said, working parents absolutely CAN sleep train successfully (many of our happy clients would attest to that!); it’s just that working moms need to utilize some specific strategies in order to achieve their sleep training goals.
Sleep Training for The Working Mom: 6 Strategies
Now, a quick note — in reality, ALL sleep training parents should utilize most of these strategies. But in our experience, while all parents ought to follow these guidelines, it is downright crucial for working moms to use these strategies in order to see success.
- The working mom prepares before starting sleep training.
There is no doubt that laying a solid foundation of preparation before you start sleep training ensures that sleep training will progress more quickly, and that you will increase your chances of success. To learn more about the 5 things you should do before sleep training, click here.
- The working mom selects the start time for sleep training very carefully.
Generally, we recommend starting sleep training during a season of life in which things will be very “normal” for at least a few weeks. In other words, it’s not wise to start sleep training before a vacation, or before a big life change (like the birth of a new baby).
But here’s an extra caveat for working moms: if you work a Monday-Friday schedule, it’s usually best to start sleep training on a Friday, so that you have the weekend to get used to the process (and so the initial sleep deprivation won’t impact your work performance!). Some working parents even choose to take a few personal days, to extend their time at home after they start sleep training.
- The working mom often starts sleep training around the 4 month mark.
This isn’t universal, of course, but in our experience, many moms are heading back to work (or are already back at work) by the time their babies are 4 months old. As a result, many working moms prefer to sleep train as soon as possible — right at the 4 month mark — in order to reclaim their sleep.
- The working mom is vigilant about sleep training consistency.
Every parent should be consistent in sleep training, but working parents should be especially consistent. Why? Because consistency in sleep training is key to seeing meaningful results and long-term success.
- The working mom outlines a solid schedule ahead of time and then sticks. to. it.
A solid sleep and feeding schedule is a crucial part of sleep training, and it is especially crucial for working moms, since working parents typically have less wiggle-room in their schedules than work-at-home parents.
We recommend that working moms start creating a schedule by filling in non-negotiable times (like the time baby has to be up in the morning, time baby has to be picked up from childcare, etc.), and then working in times for naps and feedings around those. This ensures that the sleep schedule you are working towards will work for your family day to day.
The working mom communicates all sleep training plans, goals, and schedules to caregivers.
This is a step that some parents can skip, but it’s a key one for working moms. To start, you’ll want to connect with your childcare provider and find out what their requirements may be for nap and feeding schedules (in fact, you should build your own sleep coaching schedule around that as much as possible).
Next, let your care provider know that you are sleep coaching, and outline any sleep “rules” you’ve created. Most care providers will work with you and follow your instructions for putting your baby down for naps. Doing this ensures that everyone is on the same page, which is key for sleep coaching success.