Baby Sleep Training :Tips and Methods for Peaceful Nights
One is so exhausted both physically and emotionally after having a baby that one could sleep for days. The bright side is that babies need to sleep a lot too in the first year — 9 to 12 hours a day apart from their naps. The main problem is that they sleep in spurts and it takes about 3 to 6 months for their circadian rhythm or internal body to settle. For parents ready to fall with exhaustion, sleep training is the best option and a few tips to sleep early will make all the difference in your overall health.
The aim of sleep training is to help your baby sleep comfortably for several hours at a stretch at night on their own. Even if they do wake up, they’ll learn to soothe themselves and put themselves back to sleep. Once this task has been accomplished, babies can sleep 9 to 12 hours at night and are well rested so they are not cranky during the day. There are some effective sleep training methods developed by paediatricians and sleep experts on how to make a baby sleep on his own in a matter of days. If you want to go for a gentler and less drastic method that involves a minimum of crying, it may take a bit longer. What you cannot compromise on is patience and consistency.
When To Start
Sleep training on how to make a baby sleep on his own should only start when your baby is 4 to 6 months old as their circadian rhythm isn’t developed till then. For some babies sleep training works better if it’s started at 9 months as they don’t get up to feed at night at this age. There’s no exact age to start sleep habits but if they start to sleep on their own at night, however many times they wake up during the course of the night, they are probably ready to start.
Baby Sleep Tips To Keep in Mind
- One tip to sleep early is give your baby the chance to learn to self-soothe. Put them to bed as they start getting sleepy as this will put them in the habit of falling asleep on their own. They will also put themselves back to sleep if they happen to wake up.
- Stick to a fixed bed time every night as consistency is very important in sleep training.
- Be prepared for a few rough nights and power through them with patience.
- Your baby does not necessarily have to have their own bedroom but you need to separate yourself from your baby so that they learn to self-soothe.
- No one way is the right way for sleep training and you need to follow a system that works for you and your baby as what works for one may not always work for another.
- Though it might get rather discouraging at times, remember that you will finally be successful and by 9 months your baby will most likely be sleeping through the night.
Methods of Sleep Training
Settle for a method that works best for you and your baby as every baby is unique.
Cry It Out Method
In this, parents take their baby through a bedtime routine and kiss them goodnight, after which leave the room. The parent ignores them if they cry and the child finally falls asleep by tiring themselves out with crying or self-soothing themselves back to sleep.
Though quite common and well-known for its efficiency, many parents are not comfortable with letting their baby cry and feel it may increase their stress levels and cause trust issues later on. And of course, there’s nothing more painful than hearing your baby cry and not comfort them.
The Ferber Method
The Ferber Method, though similar to the Cry It Out Method, is more gradual. Parents take their baby through a bedtime ritual, kiss them goodnight and then leave them alone in their room. Initially, if the baby cries, the parents immediately come back and comfort the child. Gradually they increase the time they let the baby cry before coming back into the room, till the baby learns to self-soothe.
The Check and Console Method
In this method, parents check on their baby and comfort them even before they start crying. For the first few nights, parents may leave the baby and enter in a couple of minutes to cuddle and kiss them. They repeat this several times and gradually increase the intervals to about 15 minutes, until the baby falls asleep.
This method can take a bit longer and requires parents to be more involved. Sometimes checking on them frequently may excite them and you may have to adopt another method.
The Fading Method
In this method, parents don’t leave their baby’s room till they fall asleep. Every night, the parent remains in sight of the baby but gradually moves further away thus providing minimal comfort. This method may take up to 2 weeks but is comfortable for parents as they don’t feel like they’re abandoning their child.
No Tears Method
Of all baby sleep tips, this is the gentlest and least stressful sleep training method and helps teach your baby to sleep on their own without any crying. This requires a strict and consistent bedtime routine in which all the same activities are followed in the same order so that the baby relates these activities to bedtime. A variety of tactics can be used in this method — some parents leave the room and only come in when the baby cries; others gradually increase the distance from their baby at night, but immediately return when the baby cries. The idea is to put them in bed when drowsy, so that they get used to falling asleep on their own rather than being rocked to sleep.
The bedtime routine of your baby plays a vital role in sleep training as they create consistency and help them distinguish between night and day. EuroKids can offer you many more infant sleep training tips on how to successfully sleep train your baby so that you and your baby are happier and more rested.