When having a new baby, all parents face the situation where they have to loose sleep every night. As the child grows older, sleep training becomes a concern. Teaching a child to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night is a subject that first-time parents face and maybe parents with more than one child.
People aren’t born knowledgeable in many things and, believe it or not, sleep is one of them. Newborns aren’t used to the schedules we as adults live by. They sleep in short periods of time and grown people can’t have proper rest waking up every three hours. Sleep training is a very important subject we should address so your child does learn how to know his own body and when does he need to rest.
Even though every child is different, at least in the eastern world we have a way of doing things that most people comply with. If you want to have a normal life and teach your baby how to be a person in this world, you can start with sleep training.
Learn when to start your infant sleep training
Baby is born and after all the awe you’re left wondering when does this child start behaving like a regular person. Sit tight and be patient because it will take the baby a while. Babies that young require frequent feedings and can’t tell the difference between day and night.
The first three months of the child’s life is pretty much adapting and knowing who the carers are. You are also adapting to this baby’s personality and demands so maybe you got a light sleeper who doesn’t like being hungry or a very heavy sleeper who prefers a little more sleep to his milk, or maybe something in between.
The first two weeks are going to be tough but after that, if the baby is gaining weight and snoozes for a longer period of time at night, it shouldn’t be a problem to let him sleep. The Mayo Clinic says so, anyway. By four months, most babies begin to show signs of extended nighttime sleep, even if they’re breastfed or formula fed.
Know when you’re ready
Now that you are ready for your infant sleep training, you should be familiar with the methods you should use with your child. Again, every child is different and they go through different stages. What works well for little Mia could work well on four-month-old Brian but as he reached the nine-month growing spurt, that technique doesn’t work anymore.
Here are the aspects that you should look out for no matter what method of sleep training you use, just like every other major advice you might find on the internet.
Routine is key
Have you seen how your baby’s feedings seem to have a schedule? Well, that’s how he’s starting to regulate his own body. Sleep works the same way, it’s just your baby doesn’t know it yet.
It is best that you follow a predictable routine from day one to help the baby know when it’s time for bed. Start very early in the day by doing the things you often do around the house and with the child, he’ll soon follow through. Even if you breastfeed on demand, the predictable routine you set will help a lot on sleep training.
Working parents can easy the break to the regular work schedule with a consistent nighttime routine that helps baby know he’s safe and his needs are going to be met. The key is to make the baby feel like he knows what’s coming and that way all babies do feel safe. A regular bedtime in the routine will help you with sleep training and even after your child has grown.
The methods to teach your baby to fall and stay asleep involve tears and no tears. Try out what works best for your child and keep in mind the rest in case something changes.
Cry it out methods
Although it sounds like carers should leave the baby to cry indefinitely until he falls asleep, the CIO methods aren’t much like that. This way of infant sleep training tries to help your baby fall asleep on his own without rocking or nursing.
The methods inside this category advice to leave the baby alone to sleep even if that means shedding of tears and after a specific period of time offer him comfort, only to allow him after soothing to fall asleep on his own again.
Even if this method requires quite an effort, there are parents who say this technique has worked for their children and nothing more.
Sample steps of CIO from babycenter
Clear your schedule and expect a few sleepless nights.
Put your baby down when sleepy but awake.
Say goodnight and leave the room. When crying starts, let your baby cry for 3 minutes.
Return to the nursery. Pat and reassure, but don’t pick your baby up. Keep your voice quiet and soothing. Leave after a few minutes, even if your baby’s still crying.
Stay out of the room for 5 minutes this time. If your baby’s still crying, repeat Step #3. Pat, reassure, and leave the room after a few minutes.
Stay out of the room for 10 minutes at a time. Repeat every 10 minutes: pat, reassure, and leave the room after a few minutes.
No tears methods
As CIO methods work on some children, on another they just don’t, while some parents don’t even like mentioning the idea of letting a baby alone to cry. Since every child responds differently to many things, there are methods for sleep training that don’t involve any tears.
No-tears methods are controversial, as pointed by some frequented parenting portals, but they mostly point at a negative connotation tears can leave on the bedtime subject. These methods attempt to teach children how to sleep at their own pace and let them decide when they’re ready to do it.
These methods are highly recommended if you are pro co-sleeping. If keeping your child close and give him affection is one of the things you thrive as a parent, these techniques could work wonders for your family.
Mishaps in sleep training
When trying to succeed with infant sleep training, you must bear in mind that your child will go through many stages. Being patient and not losing any grasp of your routine is what will help you succeed.
The most common mishaps happen because of the normal baby development milestones: He learned how to roll over, he has a favorite toy, he’s starting his separation anxiety stage or he just feeling rebellious.
Just as you must remember every child is different, keep in mind their developmental stages make them change while they’re growing. There is nothing more satisfying as parents like helping your child succeed at life and that should be your goal.
As your baby reaches his 12 months, you can see how good he’s getting at sleeping through the night and, who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself looking at him in his crib hopelessly wanting to wake him up just to give him a kiss.
Items that help us with our baby sleep training journey
- Baby books: We keep the routine to read for our little one before his sleep at night. This keeps him relax and signal him to get into resting state. “Good night moon” is his favorite
- A good crib and mattress: This helps us feel much more comfortable when we let him sleep in the room by himself. Especially when he spent few weeks slept on his stomach
- A good baby monitor with comfort night light: Our baby doesn’t like complete darkness so the comfort light does help him a bit.