When you’re a baby sleep coach, you eat, sleep (no pun intended), and breathe “baby sleep.” In my every day life, I think a lot about clients, how to improve The Baby Sleep Site™, what my next article will be about, or what will go in my next newsletter. Very recently, I realized I was over-working myself and, before I had kids, I used to exercise. A lot. But, particularly after I had my second child and this site was born (so two babies in one year haha!), exercise went by the wayside. So, it’s been years. Recently, I have vowed I had to start exercising, again. I literally felt like I was seeing years of my life being taken away. I needed something for me that would reduce stress, improve my health, and, as a bonus, give me some confidence to wear a swimsuit on vacation this summer.
How TurboFire Entered the Picture
I rarely watch infomercials let alone purchase something from one. My husband, on the other hand… About a year ago, he bought P90X, an “extreme home fitness program.” He did the program and enjoyed it. Later, he also bought Insanity, an even more extreme program, except that one doesn’t require any equipment whatsoever and it is a LOT of cardio. These just didn’t feel right for me, though.
One day I saw the infomercial for TurboFire, which is a 90 day program and seemed a bit more fun to me and more up my alley. I thought about buying it for 3-4 weeks and finally decided maybe it would give me the push I needed to start exercising (and a lot less than a gym membership I might not use!). I’ve been doing it for about 6 weeks, now. And, I love it! Yes, it’s (ironically) stressful finding the time, but I love how it’s not the same work out day after day, I feel great doing it, and I’m feeling so much healthier! Of course, also losing some inches, too, but that was more of a secondary goal for me than my health right now. So, what does this have to do with baby sleep? Well, as I said, almost everything reminds me of baby sleep and exercising has been no exception.
9 Ways Exercising (and TurboFire) Is Like Sleep Training
To do TurboFire, you are supposed to already be in pretty good shape and getting to “the next level.” Well, I was NOT in shape at all (I don’t mean in terms of looks, but fitness level). I’d get tired walking up a flight of stairs, for example. But, TurboFire comes with a “prep schedule” to work your way up to the full program. When it comes to sleep training, too many books and too many parents feel like it has to be all or nothing. Do sleep training day and night for two weeks, for example. In some situations, it actually works really well to do some “prep” with your baby. Do some baby steps rather than sleep train all the way. It is often okay to work on just ONE thing that you’d like to make progress on. Sure, maybe your baby won’t sleep through the night, at first, but progress is progress.
2. You might need to modify
In every TurboFire DVD, a girl named Alee shows you how to modify exercises to make them low-impact. When it comes to sleep training your baby, don’t feel like you have to follow any given program to the letter. Modify it to make it right for YOUR baby and YOUR family.
When it comes to exercise and getting fit, you obviously have to do it frequently and with some consistency. You won’t get the results you want doing it here and there. With sleep training, it’s the same way. You can’t expect the results you want trying it one day here or one day there. Sleep training takes consistency, because anything else confuses your baby and leads to much more crying.
4. It takes time
With exercising and sleep training, results don’t always come overnight, especially when you’re sleep training a tortoise. For some babies, they make HUGE strides in just a few days or nights, but others, especially with nap sleep training, it can take two weeks or longer. Some parents never feel done sleep training, and spend time training and re-training. Babies change a LOT in the first couple of years and have several setbacks and sleep regressions.
5. Find the program that’s right for you
Just like TurboFire may or may not be the right exercise program for you (it’s dance-y, Top 40 dance music, and you need to be a little coordinated), all sleep training methods may not be right for you, either. Too many books say it’s their way or no way, and it’s simply NOT TRUE. It is my belief that each family needs to find the right method for them. NOT ONLY THAT, but even within the same family, different methods may work great for one baby and not another baby. Your baby’s temperament will be a big factor in the method that works for your particular baby.
6. Having a coach or support helps
It’s one thing to have a book (or me) tell you that consistency is key (see #3), but it’s another to have someone cheer you on as you go through it. Throughout the TurboFire DVDs the instructor, Chalene, says things like “You’re not tired! You’re not tired!” or “It’s mental at this point. Think like a warrior and push harder.” and reminds you of the importance of being healthy and encourages you to keep coming back for more by saying “See you tomorrow in class.” She also tries to point out potential flaws in your technique, so you don’t get hurt, which is what a good coach should do, so you can get better.
If it wasn’t for some of Chalene’s encouragement (even though she’s not in my home or anything, just like I don’t do house calls, either), I likely would not push as hard as I do some days. Whether it’s your spouse, friend, your parent, or ME :), having a coach, and a support system, to help you keep going helps you be more successful. Of course, even the best of friends and family can get tired of talking about baby sleep. Fortunately, we sleep consultants never get tired of it. But, just like you have to find the right program for your family, not all sleep consultants are right for you, either. To help you find the right sleep consultant, read 7 tips to hiring a sleep consultant.
7. Sometimes you need to rest
Just like you sometimes need to take a break for water or to catch your breath when you’re exercising, sometimes you have to take a break from sleep training. Keep in mind that consistency IS key and it takes time for results, so you don’t want to give up to a break too soon, but sometimes everyone needs a break. I have had families take a 2-3 week break and try again with much different (and better!) results.
8. Monitor Progress
I wish I was ready to show you before and after TurboFire pictures, but I’m not. Showing these pictures to 100,000+ people isn’t my #1 goal in life. But, monitoring your progress while you are sleep training your baby can help you not give up. Sometimes sleep training can be SO tedious and drawn out, and sometimes it can feel like you haven’t made much progress, but if you write it down or really think about where you started, you might be happy with the results. One of my recent 30-day unlimited clients started keeping a calendar of all the nights her two year old started sleeping through the night. She was kind enough to share a picture (right). It gives her satisfaction of seeing the number of highlighted days grow and grow and her toddler knows what the colored-in days means, too, so it’s incentive for him, too.
9. Be a role model
A funny thing happened when I started exercising. My boys started trying to exercise with me, especially my eldest, who inspired the site. He doesn’t do everything, obviously. You do need a good amount of coordination. But, every time they see me exercise I tend to imagine one day when they are adults exercising, too, and telling their wives “I can remember when my mom used to exercise when I was little.” and I think I’m being a good role model. I tell parents, too, that it can help to model sleep with your baby or toddler (depending on the age). Many times a baby or toddler simply doesn’t know what to do. Lay down next to your baby and teach them how to sleep, if it helps!
Bonus: They’re both tiring!
Exercising has pooped me out! And, as if you didn’t know, sleep training can be EXHAUSTING! However, the short-term sleep and fat loss of each is most often very much worth the long-term gains!
How Is Exercising Like Your Baby’s Sleep?
If you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to download our FREE guide, 7 Common Napping Mistakes, or explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep, with over 40 sample sleep schedules. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about!