Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Is your baby "Playing you"? And other crazy comments.

Parents get crazy advice.  Have you ever been told that “some babies just don’t sleep”?
That’s so crazy! Babies desperately need sleep, and may in fact need special help in order to learn  sleep skills. I helped a family of six kids who were not sleeping, and whose mother their doctor had that her kids just don’t sleep… as if this was a natural and normal phenomenon!  With my gentle sleep coaching, I had all six of her kids sleeping in about six weeks.

Have you ever been told that your baby is playing you? Followed by, “So let him cry it out.”

Here’s the reality.

Manipulation is far too complex an emotion or intention for a baby (that’s more of a teenager thing).

It’s just ‘cause and effect’. Your baby has figured out that when he does this, you do that. So gently change your response, and they will change their behaviour.  If your baby cries in a certain way and you come running, they learn to cry in that same way to get you to come running.  Which isn’t a bad thing at all, since they are learning that they can trust you, depend on you.  Your next step should be, starting at night with bedtime, to gently change how you respond (depending on the situation) to coax a different behaviour from your child.

It’s not rocket science. It’s behavioural science.  It’s always great to be there for your child, but you don’t have to give them everything they think they want. My kids want chocolate for breakfast. Yeah, I don’t think so.  But I am definitely going to be giving them breakfast, just not the one they think they want.  Except maybe on their birthday.

Tracy Spackman is a Trained and Certified Gentle Sleep Coach specializing in sleep for alert kids of ages 4 months to 8 years old.

Tracy Spackman


  1. Thank you so much for your last post!!! I have an almost three year old who never had trouble sleeping and an almost eight month old who is almost sleeping through the night! ( most of the night she wakes up one time!) My hubby and the pediatrician have told me she is "milking me"! ( quote from the dr!) I really appreciate the point you make about manipulation, an 8 month old, who's only way of communicating is crying, can't maliciously think about how to make my night short! (Besides she is working on four teeth!) I understand a healthy sleep habit is important! And I also understand that at this point most babies do sleep through the night but I also think every child is an individual and come to there milestones at there own time! Sorry for this little vent! I really sincerely just wanted to say thank you for saying what you did because even though my dr is great not everything he learned in med school applies to real life! You experienced real life and I am sure that in some level you could or might relate to me! So thank you again! Sincerely, Antigone

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