If you are reading this your baby is still fighting the sandman and you are overwhelmed by all the conflicting advice on sleep training. Sounds about right?
During the early days of life with a new-born, you’re so focused on baby’s health and well being that sleepless nights seem like a small price to pay. By month three, you’re pretending to be asleep, hoping that your partner is up for the pyjama drill. You can’t remember what it feels like not to be tired! As sleep deprivation sets in, parents are often desperate for help getting their babies to sleep more soundly at night.
How are exhausted parents supposed to decide which approach really is best? Well, let me make it simple for you: There is no single “best approach” for teaching your baby to sleep well. What works for your best friends’ child could be a disaster for you and yours.
What are the sleep training options? A review of 52 sleep studies using various baby sleeping methods, published in the journal, Sleep, found almost all the techniques effective, if applied consistently. Yes, consistency appears to be more important than the method. Choose a sleep training method you can live with and follow through on, and chances are, it’ll work for you.
The key differences among the methods are in whether letting baby cry and encouraging self-soothing, or being hands- on and helping her with settling.
Before making a choice keep the following in mind:
Your parenting style
Your parenting style and core beliefs will make certain methods either appealing … or not an option at all. Since consistency is even more important than what method you choose, it is vital to choose a method which won’t leave you feeling conflicted. For parents strongly opposed to letting their child cry or cry alone, co-sleeping or the hands-on, gradual approach will be more manageable. This process is a slow one. Because the sleep training is gradual, it means that you will not be getting that full night’s sleep any time soon that you so desperately need. Expect to put in the middle-of-the-night hours to make this a success. And until she gets it, expect a lot of yawning during the day!
Your baby’s personality
Be respectful of your child’s temperament when choosing a method. You may want to use a hands-on approach and stay with your baby until she falls asleep, but instead you find that she is so overstimulated by your presence that to check- in and console, will be a better option. Don’t throw the towel in too quickly, but if you see no improvement after 4 nights in a row, it may be time to select another method. For very sensitive children it could take up to a week or more to show an improvement, so hang in there!
If you are seriously sleep deprived, choosing the hands-on method that could take weeks to show results, might not be an option. When choosing the cry-it-out method, parents are encouraged to follow a consistent bedtime routine and then put their baby to bed awake, leaving her to fuss or cry for sometimes long periods, broken up by check-ins. This method has been praised by many for its efficient approach to sleep training. Most babies begin to respond, in some way, after the first few nights. Remember that good sleeping habits is part of keeping baby healthy, a little crying is okay!
It is important to remember whatever method you choose will most likely be HARD to do. So, stick to your guns and good luck!
Moms to be, remember to sign your baby up on the Fedhealth Baby Programme to get your Fedhealth baby bag filled with amazing goodies!
See more healthy living tips at the Fedhealthy blog.