Sleep training is in essence the process of getting your baby to sleep independently. There are many tries and tested methods of sleep training while an individual can come up with a technique of their own. You should also remember that not all children are the same and while some may learn to sleep independently in a few tries, others will take longer to come around. Sleep training requires a lot of patience because the process will exasperate you to the core. Independent sleeping is a skill that babies need and it is a way of getting rid of the baby’s negative sleep associations. Sleep training depends on positive sleep associations i.e. what the baby needs or does in order to fall asleep on their own. For some babies, these associations include humming or holding on to their favorite blanket. Negative sleep associations on the other hand include rocking or feeding the babies. There are sleep training techniques that help with both the positive and negative sleep associations.
Should I Sleep Train My Baby?
Whether or not to sleep train your child is a personal decision. Would you like your child to sleep better? If yes, then sleep training is the way to go. Before you do, however, consult with your pediatrician to ascertain if your baby is ready for it.
At what age should I start sleep training?
The best age to sleep train your child is between 4 and 6 months. This is the stage where they start learning how to self-soothe. Some people can wait until they are older but this will pose a greater challenge as they will easily spot differences in their sleep routines.
When you begin sleep training, your child may experience the following:
- Increase in appetite
- Reduced appetite
- Being cranky
- Being Clingy
- Resistance to daytime naps
What are the sleep training techniques
Cry It Out Method
This is one of the most debated sleep training technique. The reason is because you do not soothe your baby when he or she cries. You just let them cry until they learn how to soothe themselves to sleep. While some people feel that it has lasting results, others say that it can cause psychological issues in the child and negatively affect the child’s sense of security when sleeping.
The Chair Method
This is where you sit on a chain in the baby’s room after you put them to sleep. Each day, take the chair further away from their bed. The point of this technique is to make the baby know and feel that you are still in the room watching over them. In a week or so, the chair will have reached the door, then outside the room and soon, they will not need the chair to help them sleep.
The Ferber Method
In this technique, you put the baby down when they are drowsy but not completely asleep. If they cry in the process, you can soothe them in 3 minutes then keep increasing the time that you take to respond to them to 5 minutes then 8 minutes then 10, 15 etc.
The wake and sleep method
In this method, after your baby has fallen asleep, you wake them up bu tickling their feet or rocking their crib. They will wake up but still drowsy and they will go back to sleep in 5 to ten seconds. This will train them to fall asleep even in the middle on the night without you being there.
The Fading Method
This is where you gradually fade out sleep associations such as rocking or feeding the baby to sleep. If you always rock them until they are completely asleep, try putting them down when they are drowsy. reduce the time.
How Long Does Sleep Training Take?
Every child is different but anywhere between a week to a month or more. Be patient and consistent. That is the only way around it.