Being a parent to an infant can be a rewarding and taxing experience all at the same time. When you have a child that has difficulty falling asleep (and staying asleep), your life can become unnecessarily stressful. Instead of pulling your hair out, look at these carefully comprised baby sleep training strategies that are sure to help everyone in the house get a better night’s sleep.
Cry It Out Baby Sleep Conditioning Options
1. The Ever-Moving Chair
Start by placing your baby into the crib and a comfortable chair beside the crib. Know going in that they are likely going to start crying. You are not going to acknowledge their tears, or even the baby at all. You are there to remind them that they aren’t alone, and nothing else. Eventually (and this could take a while), they will fall asleep. The next night, move the chair farther from the crib. Continue this process until your chair is out of the room entirely.
2. Ferberizing (Consolation Approach)
Don’t have the ability to sit in the front row for your child to scream for hours on end? Try this consolation approach. The first night you will come in at 10 minute intervals (while they are crying for you) to gently console them for a few minutes without picking them up. Rub their back and speak softly. Then after two minutes, leave again. Every few nights, lengthen the wait time by five minutes.
3. Bearing It
There is a reason that so many mothers and fathers suggest letting a child just “cry it out”. This is one of the most effective baby sleep training techniques. It teaches them to fall asleep entirely on their own, and they are more likely to carry this ability throughout their entire childhood. It doesn’t make you a bad parent to let them cry it out, it is a good thing for them to do.
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Sleep Training For Babies With Fewer Tears
1. Ups and Downs
If you are looking for a less emotionally painful solution for you, perhaps the method of physical consolation will be more up your alley. With this baby sleep training approach, you are coming in when the baby begins to cry. You will pick up the baby and console them until they are calm again and then immediately putting them back into the crib. Initially this will take many trips a night to complete, but as they become accustomed to the pattern, the need for your involvement will be more infrequent.
2. Soothe Them With Music
Many parents have seen a lot of successes with the same lullaby music played every night throughout the nighttime routine and throughout the night in their room. This connection between the songs and their sleep will aid their developing brain to understand that because this music in particular is playing, that it is still time to be asleep.
3. The Disappearing Task
This approach is one of the more hands on and demanding of them all. This requires you to play an active role in helping your baby go to sleep every night. From night to night, you are doing less of the activity that helped them fall asleep. This has to be done very gradually, and will likely need to be coupled with another sleep strategy to be completely successful.
Tips For Successful Baby Sleep Training
1. Start With Calmness
Babies have a harder time calming down for sleep if they aren’t in a tired mindset. Ensure that before your child completes their nighttime routine for bedtime that they are in fact, visibly ready for sleep.
2. Bundles of Joy
Little babies especially are accustomed to a snug environment. This helps them to calm themselves and feel safe and secure. Bundle up your baby for them to be more comfortable on their own in the crib.
3. Avoiding Over-stimulation
It isn’t difficult to overstimulate an infant. Too much activity all at once and too much craziness in the house can lead to a situation in which the baby has a hard time recognizing bedtime as a time for sleeping.
4. Don’t Wake The Baby
Have you ever heard the adage “never wake a sleeping baby”? There are obviously very direct reasons for this, but the biggest point is that it is difficult for them to self soothe themselves back to sleep, and so your involvement is required. Provide a calming environment by keeping the excessive loud noise down and let your baby stay asleep.
These are the best methods of baby sleep training. These can help you to free up some of your own time in putting your infant to sleep every night, but also to help them to have an easier time falling asleep (and staying asleep) at bedtime. While many of these strategies require you to have a good deal of patience and resolve, encouraging your child to have a more active role in their sleep is important for their development and your stress levels.