Welcome to the sleep training revolution! With baby sleep training, we are on the cusp of a new sleep era. From newborns to toddlers, the sleep habits of babies and toddlers are changing. There's a new baby sleep training method for every age group.
But while many baby sleep training methods are available today, which one should you choose? And what method is ideal for your baby or toddler? Read this blog to find the best sleep training methods to help you create the best bedtime routine for your little one. Let's dive into the best baby sleep training methods and how you can implement them.
What Is Sleep Training?
Sleep training is the process of teaching a baby how to sleep without any help from their parents. Sleep training has many approaches, including crying it out, bedtime fading, and sleep sacks. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, depending on your baby's situation. Others have used it to wean babies from sleeping with their parents.
Others may use sleep training to teach their baby good habits like sleeping in their cribs or sleeping through the night. Regardless of the approach used, sleep training is essential to prepare your baby to fall asleep independently and sleep through the night. It can be an effective method of helping babies develop good sleep habits that can last a lifetime.
What's The Right Age For Sleep Training?
Experts say sleep training can begin for babies six months or older. However, the ideal time to start sleep training is between 4 and 6 months old, when babies can sleep through the night without needing to wake up to feed. Before sleep training, it's essential to consult your pediatrician to make sure your baby is ready for the change and is developing confidently.
In addition to consulting your doctor, it's necessary to consider the baby's temperament, sleeping habits, and age when planning sleep training. If a baby cries frequently or does not seem to be sleeping well at night, it may be helpful for the baby to adjust gradually to the new routine.
Sleep training at earlier ages may be more challenging because babies are more aware of changes in their sleep routine. Therefore, it's important not to rush or pressure a baby into bed if crying and refusing sleep.
Benefits Of Sleep Training
Sleep training is a gentle way to help your child acclimate to a sleep routine, allowing them to better regulate their sleep cycle and potentially sleep through the night. It can help infants and toddlers get a good night's sleep, improving their overall health and well-being.
Infants and toddlers who receive rest training can also develop improved motor skills, communication, and socialization skills. Also, sleep training can reduce the incidence of behavioral problems, such as crying or sleeping too long, in infants and toddlers.
For more information on sleep training for your baby or toddler, speak to your pediatrician or other healthcare providers. The benefits of sleep training are clear, but it's important to remember that it isn't the only method of addressing bedtime issues. Your baby or toddler still needs a routine bedtime and proper sleep each night.
Common Sleep Training Methods
There are many different methods of sleep training babies and toddlers, each with benefits and drawbacks. Overall, the most effective sleep training method is the one that works best for the baby or toddler and the family. Below are the five primary sleep training techniques:
1. Ferber–The Classic Sleep Training Method
The Ferber sleep training method is a long-standing method for helping babies sleep through the night. It involves placing the baby in their crib after a nighttime routine and offering comfort if they fuss. The time between tending to the baby should gradually increase until they fall asleep.
The Ferber sleep training method is often referred to as extinction sleep training or extinction crying, and it works by slowly weaning the baby from crying overnight. This method is gentle compared to techniques that involve crying or loud noises to help the baby sleep.
The wave sleep training method is another gentle sleep training method that uses the Ferber method as its foundation but with a few modifications. In this sleep training method, the time between tending to the baby should gradually increase until they fall asleep.
2. Fading Method–Fade It Out (FIO)
The Fading method of sleep coaching is a gentle, no-tears/no-cry approach that involves gradually doing less and less of the 'work' to put the baby to sleep, with the baby eventually falling asleep independently.
In the fading method, parents put the baby in their usual sleep routine, but the 'work' is gradually reduced until the baby falls asleep without any intervention. This method can be effective in sleep training babies from infancy through toddlerhood.
3. Pick Up Put Down–The Gentle Sleep Training Method
The Pick UP-Put Down method is a sleep training technique developed by Tracy Hogg, author of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. The process involves putting your baby in the crib and, if they wake up and are fussing, taking them out of the crib and holding them briefly to calm them before putting them back in the crib.
The sleep training method aims to develop good sleep habits by training your baby to fall asleep after being put down in the crib. This gentle method focuses on teaching your baby to sleep well rather than forcing them to sleep. It allows you to develop a routine and consistency in bedtime care without rushing or stressing about your sleep.
The method focuses on having your baby learn to fall asleep after being put down in the crib. Practicing this method can help your baby establish good sleep habits that will last as they age. The Pick Up-Put Down method is a gentle way to help babies learn good sleep habits while developing self-soothing and bedtime routine skills that will serve them well as they grow up.
4. Chair Method–Modern-Day Ferber Method
The chair method is a modern-day version of the Ferber method. It involves placing the infant or toddler in a comfortable chair and providing them with toys and books to keep them occupied. The goal of the chair method is to get the child to fall asleep on their own by gradually reducing the amount of time they are awake.
Parents must be patient and consistent with their sleep training routine to do this. The chair method is generally less intrusive than other sleep training methods and is appropriate for infants as young as six months old.
It is one of the most popular sleep training methods because it is easy to implement and can be adaptable to different situations. This method is effective at helping infants and toddlers learn the art of self-soothing and sleep-related habits that will help them grow up healthy and happy.
5. Cry-It-Out Method
Cry-it-out is a sleep training method that involves leaving babies alone in their cribs or bassinets to cry it out. Cry-it-out process is not easy for many parents but can be effective.
This method is for when the baby has not been sleeping well or when the parents struggle to get the baby to nap. Cry-it-out takes advantage of crying's natural pacifying effects and can work relatively quickly for some babies—generally within an hour or two.
However, cry-it-out may not be suitable for all infants and should only be used as a last resort after other sleep training methods have failed. Crying can lead to long-term psychological problems for infants and toddlers, so please use it cautiously.
6. Swaddling—A Gentle Way To Help Babies Fall Asleep
Swaddling is a gentle way of helping babies fall asleep that is effective in the short term. It involves wrapping the baby tightly in a blanket or cloth, ensuring their head and arms are fully enclosed, and placing them on their back in bed or elsewhere comfortable enough to sleep.
Swaddling can help babies fall asleep faster, as the gentle pressure and warmth of the swaddling cloth help to induce sleep. It can also help promote crib-sleeping habits by teaching the baby that bedtime is a time for sleeping rather than crying or fussing.
However, swaddling should only be used as a short-term sleep training method and not for sleeping infants younger than six months old or those unable to tolerate being swaddled tightly.
7. Cry-It-Out With Television
Some parents use cry-it-out with television to help babies fall asleep faster. This method is similar to the cry-it-out method described above. Still, instead of leaving the baby alone in their crib or bassinet, the parent watches TV or plays other auditory distractions while the baby cries.
Studies have shown that crying babies exposed to noise and light in this way tend to sleep more extended periods than those who are not cry-it-out. However, this method should only be used as a last resort after other sleep training methods have failed. It's best for infants and toddlers who do not typically cry out during the night.
How To Choose The Right Method For You
-Different sleep training methods are available for newborns and toddlers, such as the Wake-and-Sleep method, controlled crying, and the Four-Hour-Rule method.
- The Wake-and-Sleep method is a gentle method of gradually introducing your baby to sleep training, backed by Dr. Harvey Karp. In this method, you gradually expose your baby to sleeping longer in a crib after dark.
- Controlled crying is another popular sleep training method. In this method, you console your baby when they cry until he falls asleep alone.
- The Four-Hour-Rule method is a simple and effective way of teaching your baby to self-soothe and sleep through the night. You'll follow a routine of bedtime and wake-up times for the first few weeks of sleep training. After that, you'll let your baby self-soothe for four hours before assessing how he's sleeping. Try the four-hour rule, which involves bedtime and wake-up times being consistent from the beginning of sleep training. This method has been proven effective for babies with difficulty sleeping through the night.
Another option is 'Ferberizing,' based on the principles outlined in Dr. Ferber's book "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems." Here, you'll use strict bedtime and wake-up times and routine to help your baby learn how to self-soothe well at night. If these steps aren't enough, you can consult a sleep expert like a pediatrician or nurse practitioner for additional advice on sleep training.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A Sleep Training Method
- Choose a gentle sleep training method for you and your baby.
- Be willing to stick with the sleep training method for a while, depending on its effectiveness.
- Consider the cost of sleep training methods and whether they're affordable.
- Ensure your sleep training method is appropriate for your baby's age and developmental level.
- Make sleep training a part of your baby's bedtime routine and be consistent with the times you plan to use the method.
- If bedtime is difficult for you or your baby, find strategies to make it easier.
Sleep training is an excellent method of establishing sleep habits. Once your baby's sleep routine is in place, sleep training becomes more accessible and practical. Sleep training methods vary depending on the baby's age and sleeping habits, but they all work to improve sleep habits over time. So, pick the best plan for you and your baby and start the sleep training process! A customized sleep training method is the easiest way to ensure the baby gets the sleep training he needs.