How To Sleep Train & Is It Even Good For Your Baby?
Are you one of those exhausted parents of a new born who just cannot get a good night’s sleep? While welcoming a tiny new human into your lives would most certainly have been pretty thrilling, it comes with many sleepless nights. Sleep deprivation can lead to frustration, irritability, low energy throughout the day and poor attention span.
Are you nodding your head to that one? Don’t lose hope because we have some tips for you, and they involve a good night’s SLEEP!
Sounds too good to be true? Wait on and listen in.
Parents of a newborn CAN resort to methods like sleep training which is basically a process of training your baby to sleep on their own for several hours during the night and be able to get back to sleep without being comforted – WOW! That sounds like music to your ears?
What Is Sleep Training & Is It Cruel For Babies?
The term ‘sleep training’ is a widely used term that refers to a variety of approaches to help babies learn to fall asleep by themselves. It includes gentler methods than ‘cry-it-out’ or the so-called Ferber method. For example, some sleep training starts off by having the parent sleep next to the baby’s crib (a method called camping out) or simply educates parents about baby sleep….”
“All these methods are lumped together in the scientific literature as ‘sleep training, “Jodi A. Mindell, PhD, is a psychologist in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Now that we have established that sleep training can prove to be quite helpful for the parents and the child, here are five tips to make the process easier for you!
1. Set up a bedtime routine – your baby must be awake when you take them to the crib
It is important that you establish some bedtime rituals so that your child can sense that it is bedtime. Do what helps you to soothe your baby. It can be reading a book to them, singing lullabies or bathing them. Try to feed your child before they start to doze off so that he/she is fully awake when you put them to bed. This is so that your baby learns to fall asleep by herself, gradually. Additionally, try to put them to bed at the same time every night which will help in the development of their internal clock.
2. Set a cozy and restful environment – do not try to sleep train before they are about 4 months old
Set up a nursery or an enduring place for your baby. This would create a sense of familiarity and comfort and they would know it’s time for them to doze off.
Sleep training 4-6 months old infants is considered to be the ideal age to begin. Babies undergo a change in sleep patterns around this time, so earlier might not be the best time for them to learn how to fall asleep by themselves.. Check out Circadian Rhythm & why your child needs to develop it before you can sleep train her.
3. Study different sleep training methods – see what fits for you!
There are various sleep training methods that you can adopt to teach how your child how to fall asleep on her own. Various options include:
Chair method – involves sitting in a chair near the crib & moving it further every night.
Ferber method – Crying It Out ( a bit controversial)
Bedtime hour fading – if your baby is falling asleep at 8pm, and you take her to bed at 7:30 pm, perhaps her real bedtime is 8pm? Consider putting her to sleep at 7:50pm instead?
Take your time to research well and find the method which you are most comfortable with.
4. Adjust the number of feedings – do not encourage incomplete feeds
Try to get your child to take full feeds. This will help them to get a good night’s sleep without waking up in between. However, if they doze off in between feeds do not force them. But according to Healthline, try not to allow more than three feedings to go by that aren’t full feedings. Else they will get into the habit of feeding at intervals and wake up all night long to satisfy cravings!
5. Be patient – it takes time. If one approach doesn’t work, try another
It surely can be hard for a parent to hear their child crying in the distance. But be patient! Try to comfort them from outside their room. Do not let days of your handwork go to waste by breaking the cycle. It can be hard and frustrating but remember that in the long run it will be beneficial for both you and your child!
Sleep training your baby can be an uphill task, but if you are prepared, have loads of patience and take turns with your partner, you will get results and…a good night’s sleep!
Zainab Mossadiq is an A level student. She has a passion for writing. She believes that through writing we are often able to convey the message we might never say and unveil a hidden side of ourselves. “Writing helps me unwind. It allows me to explore a different side of my personality and to forget what’s happening around me. I hope that through my writing I am able to bring a positive influence.”