- General, Health Tips

Sleep Training: Definition and its Methods

Welcome to parenthood!

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

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 till they’re three months old. Other reasons for their fussing might be discomfort caused by gas, an allergy, or other discomforts and sickness like an ear infection. However, after ensuring that your baby is fine and still cries during the night, you probably need to start newborn sleep training.

What is Sleep Training?

Sleep training teaches your infant to sleep with no help from you, such as cuddling, nursing, rocking, or feeding. It also teaches babies to fall back to sleep when they wake up at night. But keep in mind that night weaning and sleep training don’t necessarily go together. You can still feed your babies once or twice through the night, depending on their age and stage. Discuss with your pediatrician when it is possible to drop your child’s nighttime feeds.

Long ago, we didn’t know expert sleep coaches or sleep trainers existed. Nowadays, more and more of these are offering their services, such as Little Z’s. Based on their certificate and styles, the processes vary. For example, you can purchase sleep training courses, printables, and eBooks online or consultations with a baby sleep consultant online via video chats and personal mails. In fact, some sleep coaches do in-home consultations wherein they visit your homes to assess your baby’s personality and identify potential problems, such as jaundice. There’s no specific age to operate with a consultant, but the earlier you start, the better.

At Little Z’s, they offer a wide range of programs, including sleep training from birth courses, toddler sleep e-coaching, early morning wakes course, baby sleep e-coaching, etc. 

Methods of Sleep Training

1. Cry It Out (CIO) or Extinction

It is a sleep training technique wherein you place your baby in their crib, allowing them to cry until they sleep without your help. It means you will not feed to sleep, rock to sleep, or even do anything to help them drift off. Though it differs from baby to baby, you can let them cry it out for 45 minutes to an hour. Remember that it is always safe to put down your baby in their crib rather than the stroller or swing.

2. Check and Console or Ferber Method

While there are many variations of this method, its overall principle would be to keep on checking on your child in preset periods but never rocking or rocking them. For instance, put your infant in the crib, leave the room and wait for a particular amount of time, like two minutes, to go inside their room. After that, offer them a rub or tap, or tell them you love them without them picking up. This strategy is usually recommended for older babies at seven months and older because younger babies need a parental presence so that they won’t feel abandoned.

3. Chair Method

This is a gradual method that requires your discipline as parents. To start, prepare your baby to sleep and sit in a chair next to their crib. When 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 are out of their room.

4. Bedtime-routine Fading

Although many parents find this routine difficult to sustain, it is a great way to minimize crying. With this technique, you can continue doing whatever style you’re doing to help your baby fall asleep, like feeding or rocking, but decreasing the amount of time until you do not 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 few nights, then slowly move it to an earlier time. To find out when your baby naturally sleeps, watch them for a few nights and keep a diary to monitor. For example, if your baby usually sleeps from 7:50-8:00 pm, set them in their crib 15 minutes earlier after a few nights until they’ve shifted from their old habits to your desirable sleeping time.

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

This may work for babies younger than seven months but not with older infants. You can stay in the room without giving them too much help to sleep. For instance, you can stand over their crib, shush them, or pat on their tummy to calm them. You can even have them cry for a little while, but when they start to escalate, pick them up to reassure them and then put them back down before they fall asleep.