5 Myths About Infant Sleep Training Busted

Sharing is caring!


As a certified infant sleep consultant, my priority is to ensure that parents are equipped with the right information to navigate the tricky waters of baby sleep. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about infant sleep training that have caused parents to miss out on the benefits of a well-rested baby. In this article, we explore some of the most common myths to hopefully put parents at ease when considering whether sleep training is right for them.

Myth #1: Sleep training means Cry It Out.


Sleep training and CIO are not the same thing. Sleep training describes a broader objective of fostering good sleep habits often referred to as “good sleep hygiene”, and includes setting up a sleep-inducing environment, having predictable bedtime rituals, and following an age-appropriate nap routine. And one part of this is using a consistent settling method that starts to encourage an infant to practice and gain the skill of falling asleep independently. Cry-it-out is one method of sleep training, but there are many different settling methods that parents can choose to implement when sleep training.

Myth #2. Sleep Training Means Ignoring Your Baby’s Cries.


It is a common misconception that sleep training involves ignoring your baby’s cries and leaving them alone to self-soothe. However, this is far from the truth. Sleep training is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, baby sleep consultants work with parents to choose an age-appropriate settling method that addresses the unique needs of each baby. This can involve gradual sleep coaching techniques that gently teach the infant to fall asleep independently. 


Sleep consultants understand that each baby is different and work to develop a customized plan that takes into account the baby’s temperament, and sleep patterns to help minimise any crying when learning independent sleep skills. Parents are also taught to identify their baby’s different types of cries and respond when ever needed. 

Myth #3: Infant Sleep Training Will Harm The Bond Between Baby And Parent.


While there are often claims made (particularly on social media) that sleep training can be harmful to children’s attachment or emotional well-being, these claims are not supported by scientific evidence. Studies show sleep training has no long term effects on a child’s behavior or emotions, and does not negatively impact parent-infant bond and attachment1


In fact, there is evidence that sleep training can lead to the improved attachment between parent and child, as parents who are well-rested are better able to provide emotional regulation and security to their children2. Sleep training can not only be effective in improving children’s sleep but also effective in improving maternal mood and functioning3. The importance of maternal mental health in attachment cannot be overstated. Research has shown that factors such as maternal depression can lead to a lack of attachment, as children need a stable, emotionally-regulated caregiver in order to feel secure and cared for. Lack of sleep can also contribute to depression and other negative outcomes for mothers, which in turn can negatively impact attachment4.

Myth #4: A Sleep Trained Baby Does Not Learn To Sleep Through The Night They Just Stop Calling Out. 

So here’s the thing. We (even adults) all actually wake several times through the night as we pass from one sleep cycle to the next. Newborn babies’ sleep cycles are not well defined so it’s not until the 4 month sleep regression that most parents start to notice their baby waking from each sleep cycle almost like clockwork. And if a baby relies on a parent-led sleep association to fall asleep, it’s normal that they then cry out at the end of a sleep cycle to ask for that same assistance to be returned so that they can go back to sleep. 

Babies and children who are confident in their own ability to fall asleep will simply subconsciously check their surroundings and if all is well, will just drift straight back into another sleep cycle. But even a sleep trained baby will still call out if they actually feel they need something (say their favourite lovey has fallen from their cot, or they’ve woken up cold). If you’ve ever noticed your baby wake briefly and then fall back to sleep – this is actually them waking from one sleep cycle and then falling back to sleep independently! They don’t always feel the need to call out, but it doesn’t mean they don’t think you’re nearby if they do need you.

Myth #5: You Can’t Keep Any Night Feeds When Sleep Training.

The good news is that you absolutely can sleep train a baby who still needs to feed overnight. A majority of our clients up to about 7 months will still keep one feed overnight unless their baby naturally drops it themselves. The difference is that when you feed them at bedtime and overnight, you’re just no longer needing to feed them all the way to sleep, as you now can place them down awake and calm after their feed and they’ll settle themselves off to sleep.

In conclusion, it is important to provide parents with accurate information to make informed decisions about their baby’s sleep. Sleep training is about creating good sleep habits and encouraging infants to fall asleep independently, without compromising their needs or attachment to their parents. Rather than harming the bond between parents and infants, sleep training can improve attachment, emotional regulation, and maternal mental health. With customized plans and settling methods, infants can learn to sleep through the night while still receiving necessary nighttime feedings. By busting the myths surrounding infant sleep training, parents can make informed decisions and help their babies develop healthy sleep habits that can last well into their childhood years and beyond.

Author Bio: 

Written by Melissa, an internationally certified infant sleep consultant and founder of Baby Sleep Code. Baby Sleep Code offers virtual one-on-one sleep consulting packages and downloadable educational resources like their Newborn Sleep Guide. Their services are 5-star reviewed and have often been described as “Life Changing”.



  1. Price AM, Wake M, Ukoumunne OC, Hiscock H. Five-year follow-up of harms and benefits of behavioral infant sleep intervention: randomized trial. Pediatrics. 2012 Oct;130(4):643-51. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-3467. Epub 2012 Sep 10. PMID: 22966034.
  2. Higley E, Dozier M. Nighttime maternal responsiveness and infant attachment at one year. Attach Hum Dev. 2009 Jul;11(4):347-63. doi: 10.1080/14616730903016979. PMID: 19603300; PMCID: PMC3422632.
  3. Symon B, Crichton GE. The joy of parenting: infant sleep intervention to improve maternal emotional well-being and infant sleep. Singapore Med J. 2017 Jan;58(1):50-54. doi: 10.11622/smedj.2016046. Epub 2016 Feb 26. PMID: 26915392; PMCID: PMC5331130.
  4. Okun ML. Sleep and postpartum depression. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2015 Nov;28(6):490-6. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000206. PMID: 26382160.