Baby Sleep training is a process of making your baby sleep throughout the night. While some babies can sleep easily without much effort, other babies have trouble sleeping or get back to sleep when they are awake in the middle of the night. They will need some help to get back to sleep.
When Can I Start Sleep Training My Baby?
Experts recommend starting baby sleep training when they are between 4 to 6 month old. When a baby reaches 4 months, they start to develop regular sleep-wake cycle. This is sign which will tel you that they are ready for sleep training. Many babies are able to sleep for long duration when they reach this age.
But of course, each baby is different and some babies can take more time than usual to get ready for sleep training. You can consult your doctor if you are unsure whether you baby is ready for sleep training or not.
How To Prepare Your Baby For Sleep Training?
Below are some suggestions on how to start preparing your baby for sleep training:
- You can introduce a bedtime routine for your baby as early as they are 6 week old. You don’t have to worry if your baby is older than that as it’s never too late to introduce your baby for sleep training. You can include a bath, reading story from a book or sing a lullaby to your routine to make your baby sleep.
- Set a fixed time to make your baby sleep. According to experts the best time for a baby to sleep is between 7-8 pm so that your baby doesn’t have to fight for his sleep.
- Follow a fixed daytime schedule where you will wake up your baby at the same time, feed him and put him to sleep at the same time during the day. This fixed timing will make your baby comfortable and put him at ease and also will help in making him sleep easily.
- Finally, make sure your baby doesn’t have any medical condition such as sleep apnea which could be affecting your baby’s sleep. In such cases, consult your doctor before preparing your baby for sleep training.
Types Of Sleep Training
There are several ways to start baby sleep training and make them sleep. But which training method to choose depends on how your baby will respond to the method and make it feel comfortable.
No matter which type of sleep training method you choose, the important thing you need to maintain is consistency. The results of all the methods have been published in the journal Sleep where it was concluded that all the different sleep training methods are effective if consistency is maintained.
You can choose a sleep training method that you think you can follow with consistency. You can be flexible with the way you follow the method and observe how your baby will react to it. If you see any resistance in your baby or a change in your baby’s behavior, then it is better to stop for a few days or weeks and repeat again. Alternatively you can change to a different sleep training method it it’s not working for your baby.
Let’s talk about the various sleep training methods below.
1. Cry-Out Method
Experts say its okay to leave your child crying when you put him to bed and leave your room unless he is crying continuously. The way this method works is you put your baby to bed when he is still awake and let your baby cry for a short period of time before you go back to comfort him(but not pick him). You may not feel comfortable about making your baby cry but the goal here to is to make your baby get herself to sleep.
One of the most well known cry out method was developed by pediatrician Richard Ferber, who says that if you want to make your baby sleep well at night, then they have to learn to soothe themselves. And for that you have let your baby cry for a period of time.
If you are okay with letting your baby cry, then you have to that your baby’s cries are not harsh. You shouldn’t let your baby cry all night without comforting her. You also need to know that this method to more hard for you than your baby.
2. No Tears Method
If you are uncomfortable with letting your baby cry, then you can try this method. In no tears approach you will comfort the baby right away when it starts crying. The goal here is to comfort and soothe your baby to sleep. For this you have to maintain a consistent day and night sleep schedule as it gets harder to make a baby sleep late night since they get overtired.
You can read stories, sing lullaby or use signals and sounds which indicate the baby that it’s time for sleep. You can set the mood for sleep by making the room dark and putting your baby in comfortable clothes. Be patient and learn to differentiate between your baby cries and whimpers so that you don’t have to run to your baby every time it makes a sound. If you are not sure then wait for a minute and check before you decide you have to comfort your baby or not. Also remember to be consistent with this method every day.
3. Fading Method
In the fading approach, parents will gradually reduce their role in making their baby sleep. This is accomplished by sitting near your baby until it gets to sleep. Then you will move yourself farther away from the crib every night. You will reassure the baby by comforting her (not picking the baby) every 10 minutes until it gets to sleep. The goal here is to coach your baby to learn to soothe itself.
Is It Necessary To Follow Sleep Training Methods?
It is not compulsory that you have to follow a sleep training method. Most parents try the sleep training method because they are tired with trying all the sleeping methods and are unable to make their baby sleep. If you are successful in making you baby sleep in your own then by all means continue them.
Every person has their own tolerance capacity and not all are patience enough to make their baby sleep every day. If you are finding it hard to make your baby sleep, then you can try these sleep training methods or consult your doctor if everything else fails.
If you have any more tips on how to make a baby sleep, then share it with us in the comment section below.