New parents with messy hair and huge bags under their eyes is more than a cliche from sitcoms. Having a baby is exhausting. For that reason, many of them turn to sleep training, so both they and their child can rest.
What is Sleep Training?
As the name suggests, sleep training is a process of teaching your baby to fall asleep and maintain sleep throughout the night. The success of this training depends on the baby – some find it easy, while others need a little help.
Sleep training can help everyone at home get some much-needed sleep
How to Prepare?
You can prepare your child for sleep training by following specific rules.
- Keep a consistent bedtime – between 7 and 8 o’clock is ideal for young children.
- Introduce a bedtime routine. It can include a lullaby, a bath, or a story. Visit My Traveling Baby to find more ideas for a bedtime routine, and stick to it.
- Keep a daytime schedule. The plan includes waking up, feeding, and naps. If you follow a predictable schedule, your child will be more relaxed when the evening comes.
There are several approaches to sleep training and many variations for each. Today, we will cover the three main methods that experts suggest.
Fading is a gradual approach where the parent works on diminishing their bedtime role.
You will start by sitting near the crib until your baby falls asleep and then moving the chair farther each night. Alternatively, you could check on it every five minutes until they’re sleeping. Start making the intervals longer every following night.
Fading aims to give your child time to start soothing itself. You will still be there, but you’ll leave the baby enough space to figure out how to do it themselves.
Crying It Out
The idea behind this approach is that you want to extinguish crying by not responding to it.
Go through the bedtime routine, put your child in the crib while it’s still awake, and walk out. It can be emotionally jarring to hear the baby crying every hour, but this old method works.
If you don’t think you can sit through the night, at least wait for two wake-ups before going back to the room. Also, you can do this method along with night-time feedings, as long as you continue with it once the bottle is empty.
Check out several proven methods of creating bedtime routines for babies
Checking and Consoling
The general principle of this method relies on checking on your baby on pre-set intervals, while never rocking or feeding them to sleep.
Similarly to fading, you want to go back to the room to reassure your baby but without picking them up. However, this approach should be applied only after the 7th month because younger babies have an intense fear of abandonment.
What makes it different from fading is that you increase the amount of time between visits after each visit, not each night. When you reach 15 minutes, keep that interval until your baby is asleep.
This method takes longer to work, but it’s more effective in the long run, without the emotional impact of crying it out.
The Bottom Line
You don’t have to go through this training if you’re happy with the way things are going at the moment. However, if you often find yourself exhausted and frustrated, sleep training could be a lifesaver.