Written by Aparna Hari
Are you too exhausted from trying to jiggle or rock your baby to sleep? Putting babies to sleep is one of the most daunting tasks for parents. They try everything they can only to have babies wake the minute you lay them down. For some, it’s nothing less than a nightmare! Sleep training a baby can help parents in such situations by getting a baby into a proper sleep routine.
For new parents, many sleepless nights have been dedicated to trying to get their babies to fall asleep. But the unfortunate reality hits differently, and parents feel both frustrated and exhausted taking care of this responsibility. This article explains different ways and means to sleep train a baby and how it helps parents in the long run.
In This Article
Sleep training for babies is a technique to make your baby fall asleep without your help. It involves putting your baby to bed in a drowsy yet awake condition, and the baby will sleep without rocking, cuddling, or nursing. Sleep training helps your infants sleep during midnight when they inevitably wake up and it helps babies develop a natural sleep cycle.
As per several long-term research studies conducted on sleep training for babies, there’s no evidence or records of this technique being physically or psychologically harmful for babies and toddlers. In fact, it’s a pretty great approach that improves an infant’s sleep quality, enhances parental mood, and strengthens the bond between child and mother/caregiver. Sleep training is perfectly healthy and safe as long as your infant is in a secure environment and is old enough for this training method.
As per the expert’s consultation, you should start training your baby when they are around 4 to 6 months old. It’s a sweet spot for babies as they become physically old enough to sleep for 6-8 hours overnight without the support and comfort of a mother.
Here are a few easy-to-follow guidelines to sleep train your baby and help them sleep better.
It’s vital to perform a fixed bedtime to ease your baby’s mind. You can include soothing techniques like singing lullabies, bathing or reading bedtime stories. This way, you can prepare them for healthy sleeping habits. You can keep anything exciting like electronic toys, tickling, or turning on the TV to develop the baby’s internal sleep clock.
Try maintaining a sleep record to observe and understand your baby’s sleeping pattern. You can start off by tracking nights and days for a week at least and use the data to improve your techniques.
Most infants and babies show signs of tiredness and readiness to sleep by pulling at ears or hair, sucking fingers, closing fists, jerking arms and legs, arching backwards, etc. Learning and understanding these cues will help you identify the right time to put your baby to sleep. This will also be the right foundation to build a sleep routine for your little one.
There’s no fixed date for starting the sleep training session for your infant. However, try to avoid the festival times or major events of your infant’s life while beginning this session. You can start the session on Friday to take the essence of the weekend or vacation.
No matter what strategy you use for sleep training, be consistent and stick to that! At a certain point, your bundle of joy may cry at midnight even if you made them fall asleep. You can check on them to ensure they are okay and try comforting them as much as possible.
After trying sleep training methods for a minimum of 5 days to one week, most babies are able to fall into a routine. However, this time period varies from one baby to another. Some babies adapt quickly while others take more time. You can use several techniques – especially the pick-up, put down, and bedtime fading to teach your baby. These methods will likely take longer than Ferber or cry it out methods. So, the duration depends on the approach you consider for your baby too.
Here are a few sleep training techniques you can follow for your little one.
In this method, parents check on their crying baby without giving any degree of attention or comfort. They increase the crying intervals gradually. With the Ferber method of sleep training, the baby will settle down on their own and fall asleep. The Ferber method promotes the baby’s independent and self-soothing sleeping.
In bedtime fading method of sleep training, Parents make their infants fall asleep by comforting them with rocking, feeding, and talking tactics. When they are drowsy, your baby naturally needs less attention or comfort to sleep.
Once the bedtime fades out, parents leave the baby to cry it out until they are able to fall asleep on their own.
When the baby cries, parents generally pick the baby up and then put them down after they feel comforted and repeat the process until they sleep well. This method is referred as pick up, put down sleep training method
In Chair method of sleep training, parents sit on a chair next to the crib until the infant falls asleep. They often try to comfort the baby if they cry or get fussy.
Try sleep training to make a healthy bedtime habit for your little one. Though sleep training a baby initially proves a tough time for both parents and the babies, gradually, everything settles down. Remember, it’s a life skill for your little angel to have a healthy sleeping cycle.
If you are frustrated with the sleeping habit of your infant and trying to achieve an effective sleeping pattern, sleep training is the best and most practical approach!
Maintain a strict bedtime, stroke your baby’s face, and use gentle music or a pacifier to soothe their mind. Also, put your little angel down while sleepy yet awake in the warm crib.
The cry-it-out may seem challenging initially for the first two nights, but after some hurdles, it works perfectly!
Due to the change in environment, babies usually wake up when you put them down in bed or crib. From snuggling in a parent’s arm to a cold mattress, make them aware of the change in warmness.
Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.
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