November 15, 2017 — By Wendy Sachs
Whether you are nursing a newborn or caring after an infant, the challenges of getting your baby to sleep through the night can be abundant. When crying wakes you up consistently, the sleepless nights add up and can leave you feeling drained. That’s why sleep training, or the process of teaching a baby how to fall asleep and sleep throughout the night, helps to remedy that. There are many different guidelines, approaches, and tips when it comes to training your baby, which we’ve outlined below.
Beginning Sleep Training
If you’re contemplating bringing sleep training into your family’s daily and nightly routine, you should know that experts recommend starting the process between four and six months old. At this age, your little one has already started forming their own sleep and wake cycle, making it easier for sleep training to have an effect.
You can begin your baby’s sleep training by initiating a bedtime routine — which everyone in the house upholds! This includes a set bedtime alongside rituals to prepare your infant for bed. You may want to try a warm bath or singing a favorite lullaby along with reading a book to cue that it’s nearing bedtime.
During the day, a routine means waking your baby at the same time each morning. With a predictable waking schedule, and then following consistent feeding and napping times throughout the day, this helps your baby fall into a pattern of sleeping, waking, and eating that should help them form a sleeping routine.
There are several different techniques to sleep training, but when deciding, it’s most important that you pick one most compatible with your lifestyle. The following are all different methods you can try:
- No tears: This method is more gradual: you can comfort your baby immediately when they cry and soothe them to sleep. In this method, you are assisting the soothing process.
- Cry it out: During this approach, it’s okay to have your baby cry as you leave the room — just don’t allow him or her to cry endlessly! You can comfort your baby throughout his or her periods of crying, but this technique allows for the baby to learn how to self-soothe.
- Fading: This technique falls in the middle of the spectrum. Over time, parents and caregivers minimize the amount of time they spend with the baby at the point that the baby is put into the bed while simultaneously moving in position farther away from the crib.
The Final Call
It’s important to note that not all parents or caregivers feel they have to introduce sleep training. Some babies may sleep easily and comfortably straight away, while other infants require help in creating a set routine. It’s up to you to decide what works best to get everyone back to sleeping soundly after a new baby enters the family