Why Sleep Training Is The Same As Being On a Banting Diet


By Good Night Consultant

You must have lived in isolation for the last year if you have not yet heard about Tim Noakes and his Banting (High-Fat, Low-Carb) diet. It is the dieting craze that has taken South Africa by storm. I love the fact that waiters no longer give me strange looks when I order a Cappuccino with cream. Instead, I receive a knowing smile. On the flip side, it feels like I’m the only person in the universe who still enjoys a good, old-fashioned cheese roll.

While people’s opinions change as frequently as the tides, you as an individual know what works for you, and what does not (like the said cheese rolls). Banting, as with so many other trends and lifestyle choices, are always going to add fuel to family debates. And the topic of sleep training is no different.

I had a relaxing festive season. But my new year’s lifestyle resolutions made me realise that Banting and Sleep Training are in the same boat……

1. Some people have no clue about what the process entails (although they believe they do): Ask anybody, and they will have an opinion on diets, on Banting, and on Prof. Tim Noakes. Some people don’t even know what it is about – but they still have an opinion and they would like you to hear it. They haven’t read the book; they haven’t done the research, but boy… “They’ve read this one article….”

It is the same with sleep training. Everyone have very strong opinions on it, but few people know what the concept is really about.

2. It is an all or nothing type of approach: You cannot order buttered scones with clotted cream and think that you are Banting. Yes, while Tim is all for the cream, he’d run to the hills if he heard about the scones because he knows what will work best using his approach..

When you make a change to a child’s sleep routine, it is much of the same. You cannot be one foot in one foot out, but you need to trust and respect the process in order for it to yield the desired results.

3. Don’t expect it to work in one day. I know… I’ve been there. You had the perfect Monday that started with dieting; you even took the stairs instead of the lift and had your 8 glasses of water. But behold, as you climb onto the scale the next morning you’re defeated by the reality that you’re actually 1kg heavier than when you started.

Sleep training also takes time. Have realistic expectations for yourself and your baby.

4. It should very well be one of your new year’s resolutions. Adopting a healthier lifestyle always makes its way onto the resolution list.

So should proper good quality sleep for you and your children! End of discussion!

5. There will be articles criticizing it, often, and it will go viral. Poor Prof. Noakes. He is probably enjoying his new-found energy off on a trail run somewhere exotic (thanks to the massive success of his book’s sales) when his wife walks in to show him the newest article in the Beeld that has now SCIENTIFICALLY proven how his theories are rubbish.

I sometimes smile because of all the so called SCIENCE that tells us how to raise our kids. Every time social media goes abuzz about the newest person bashing sleep training. It’s good publicity people some people will say anything to get noticed.

6. We judge those who follow it, we judge those who do not follow it. It might be human nature to judge, but it is something that we as a society should learn to refrain from doing.

We should learn to respect people’s choices. Of diets, and of parenting skills.

7. It is worth it in the end. And so… behold… saying no to the Peppermint Crisp tart and Christmas pudding was really the worst thing that could have happened, but when you try on the new pair of jeans in a smaller size, it was all worth it.

And so, it is worthwhile to make proactive changes to routines, sleeping schedules, feeding times and environment to help your baby and you sleep better. Of course it’s hard work, but it is SO worth it in the end.

While we could draw comparisons between diets and sleep training all day, I think it becomes obvious that anything worth the reward will be challenging at the start of the process.

May your 2015 be filled with carb-free cupcakes, laughter and most of all – sleepy, happy, healthy children.

Here’s to a Good Night