A-Z Baby Sleep Training for Parents
Is your little one able to sleep themselves yet, or need your comfort and presence to be there as they wake up in the middle of the night in need of a bottle, and attention before being able to fall back to sleep?
We suggest it is time to start your baby sleep training if your precious one is at least 4 months old. When they reach 4, babies should be able to soothe themselves back to sleep or fall asleep again on their own. If you are not sure where and how to start, read through our useful guide prepared to guide you along the way.
What is sleep training?
If you're afraid of sleep teaching (also known as sleep training), remember that it's frequently completed more quickly than most parents anticipate, and it doesn't even always require a lot of crying. Here are some tips on when and how to begin sleep-training your infant so that everyone can enjoy a decent night's rest.
Let’s skip to the main question: What is sleep training? Sleep training is teaching your baby how to fall asleep without you being present at all times for them to help. That requires putting the baby to bed when they are awake but ready to go to sleep. Then they need to fall asleep without being rocked, swayed in your arms, cuddled, nursed, or shushed. Also, remember that sleep training is all about finding the right technique and the right timing for your little one.
When should you start sleep training?
As experts state, sleep training should begin when the baby is 4-6 months old. As babies at this age are able to sleep for six to eight hours without eating anything, but still would need comfort and assistance while going back to sleep, it is the ideal age to start sleep training.
It would also be wrong to highlight only one method among other sleep training methods while many parents believe a combination of many techniques works the best for the cause. Below we listed all of the methods that come in handy while sleep training your little one.
Sleep Training Methods
Depending on what stage your baby is and how ready they are for these techniques, take one step at a time as every baby’s progress differs from another.
- Let it all out (CIO) Technique: Cry it out method, also known as the "extinction" method, entails putting your baby to bed and then allowing her to cry freely till they fall asleep without any comfort or assistance from parents.
That is, as long as you have put your baby to bed with a full tummy and in a safe sleep environment, you will not return to her room until it is time for her to get up the following morning or till they need to eat.
- The Ferber Technique: How do you feel about letting your baby cry without some form of attention and comfort? The Ferber method is a type of "graduated extinction" or "check-and-console" that involves allowing your baby to cry for a predetermined amount of time before checking on her. These timed crying intervals become a few minutes longer with each interval until they fall asleep.
You'll gradually increase the length of these intervals over several nights, reducing your presence in the baby's room to let your baby do more of the work of settling down. Soon, there will be no need for these comfort check-ins because your baby will have learned to self-soothe.
Chair Technique: The chair method may be more appropriate for older babies and may feel more natural to you (and your baby) than cry it out or Ferber. Sit in a chair next to your baby's crib and wait for her to fall asleep without picking her up. Move the chair closer to the door each night until you're out of the room.
Hopefully, now your baby should be able to fall asleep without your presence. This method, however, will not work for babies who cannot put you out of their minds until you are out of sight.
When your baby falls asleep with you in the room, they may be startled and upset when they awaken and you aren't there.
- Bedtime Fading Technique: Pay attention to baby’s sleep cues (eye rubbing, yawning, turning away from lights or sound, fussiness). Once your baby seems tired, put your little one to bed. Hopefully, they’ll quickly be asleep, and if they cry a lot, go ahead and take them out of the crib for a certain time period (30 mins or so) and then try again.
After a while of practicing putting your little one to bed at this time, move the bedtime 15 mins earlier and repeat the process with the time change. Little by little move your little one's sleep time earlier by 15 minutes until you achieve your desired bedtime.
Benefits of sleep training
The benefits of sleep training are absolutely essential for your baby to develop healthy habits and a sleeping balance. Sleep training can assist your baby in developing healthy sleep patterns as well as self-soothing behaviors during nighttime wakings. Sleep training your little baby will also help you to get a decent amount of sleep each night. We understand how important for parents and babies to get enough sleep, and we hope you found our tips useful. For all our little sleepyheads who like to get all cozy and snuggly at nighttime, don’t forget to have a peek at Peekaboo’s exclusive range of pajamas to assist you in your sleep-training journey.