What Sleep Training Means and What Are the Ways to Do It

Welcome to parenthood!

As new parents, you are now in a world where sleep is rare, gold, and precious.

Almost all babies cry at night because they are hungry, so you have to wake up too and feed them. They won’t probably sleep through the night until they’re three months old. Other reasons for their fussing could be discomfort caused by gas, an allergy, or other distress and sickness such as an ear infection. But after ensuring that your baby is well and still cries at night, you most likely need to begin baby sleep training.

What is Sleep Training?

Sleep training teaches your baby to sleep without your help, such as cuddling, nursing, rocking, or feeding. It also teaches infants to fall back to sleep when they wake up during the night. However, keep in mind that night weaning and sleep training do not necessarily go hand in hand. You can still feed your babies one or two times during the night, based on their age and stage. Discuss with your pediatrician when it is possible to drop your baby’s nighttime feeds.

Long ago, we didn’t know expert sleep consultants or sleep coaches existed. Today, more and more of them are offering their solutions, including Small Z’s. Depending on their certification and styles, the processes vary. For example, you can buy baby sleep training courses online, printables and eBooks, or consultations through video chats and personal emails. In fact, some sleep trainers do in-home consultations wherein they visit your homes to assess your child’s personality and identify potential issues, such as jaundice.

There is no specific age to operate with a consultant, but the sooner you start, the better. If you’re looking for sleep trainers for toddlers you can trust, check out Little Z’s. They offer various programs that teach you to have a better sleep schedule for your preschooler or give you professional coaching when your baby wakes up early in the morning before you.

Methods of Sleep Coaching

1. Cry It Out (CIO) or Extinction

This is a sleep training technique wherein you put your baby in their crib, allowing them to cry until they fall asleep without help from you. It means you won’t feed to sleep, rock to sleep, or even do anything to help them drift off. Even though it varies from baby to baby, you can let them cry it out for 45 minutes to an hour. Bear in mind that it’s always safe to put your baby in their crib rather than the swing or stroller.

2. Check and Console or Ferber Method

Though there are many variations of this approach, its general principle would be to keep on checking on your baby at preset intervals but never rocking or feeding them. For instance, place your infant in the crib, leave the room and wait a particular amount of time, like two minutes, to go inside their room. After that, offer them a rub or pat, or tell them you love them without picking them up. This method is usually recommended for older infants at seven months and older because younger infants require a parental presence, so they won’t feel abandoned.

3. Chair Method

The chair method is a gradual strategy that needs your discipline as parents. First, prepare your baby to sleep and sit in a chair near their crib. If they fall asleep, leave the room, and every time they wake up and cry, sit back down on the chair until they go back to sleep again. Every three or four nights, move the chair farther and farther away until you’re out of their room.

4. Bedtime-routine Fading

While many parents find this routine hard to sustain, it’s an excellent way to minimize crying. With this technique, you can continue with whatever style you’re doing to help your baby fall asleep, like feeding or rocking, but reducing the amount of time until you don’t have to do it at all.

5. Bedtime-hour Fading

This is different from bedtime-routine fading, wherein this involves putting your baby in their crib when they usually sleep. Make this their new bedtime for a couple of nights, then gradually move it to an earlier time. To know when your baby naturally sleeps, observe them for a few nights and keep a journal to track. For example, if your baby usually sleeps from 7:50-8:00 pm, then put them in their crib 15 minutes earlier after a couple of nights until they’ve shifted from their old habits to your desired sleeping time.

6. Pick-up, Put Down, and Shush-Pat

This may work for infants younger than seven months but not for older ones. This technique allows you to stay in the area without giving them too much assistance to sleep. For example, you can stand over their crib, shush them, or pat their stomach to calm them. You can even let them cry for a while but when they start to escalate, pick them up only to reassure them and then put down back them before they fall asleep.