Does your baby struggle to fall asleep fast? Or, does he/she wake up frequently in the night?
If “YES”, it’s time to think about baby sleep training methods.
Obviously, you’re tired of finding the most effective baby sleep strategies. Right?
You won’t believe, but every new parent overwhelms when they find the sheer amount of expert advice regarding baby sleep training techniques.
With so many overwhelming information, it’s really hard to make a wise decision about what is truly best for your baby.
Before choosing the most effective sleep training method for your baby, you need to understand what each method is truly about.
Hence, let’s go first to learn about the different sleep training strategies.
Different Types of Baby Sleep Training Methods
Baby sleep training is the process in which you help your baby learn how to fall asleep and stay asleep. This is a range of non-medicine based behavioral strategies that parents may use to help baby fall and stay asleep through the night.
The most common forms of baby sleep training are:
- Ferber method
- Pick Up-Put Down method
- No Tears Method
As parents, you hate it or love it, this is a common sleep training method.
What the Method Is: This method is also known as Graduated Extinction or Controlled Crying method. This method involves leaving your baby awake in the crib and check on him/ her at timed intervals. This method allows your baby to cry for short, before falling asleep.
Age-Specification: This method is perfect for babies of six months and older.
The Positive: The goal of this method isn’t helping your baby learn to do on his own. Instead, to help your baby learn how to go back to sleep unassisted if he/ she awake periodically throughout the night.
The Negative: This method can give your baby negative associations with bedtime and sleep that could last a lifetime.
Pick Up-Put Down (PUPD) Method
This is a gentle sleep technique. This method needs a lot of patience.
What the Method Is: This technique is exactly as it sounds- if it’s time for your baby to sleep or your baby is crying in his/ her crib, pick him up and comfort him until she’s drowsy. Then, put him back in his crib to sleep. Repeat the cycle until your little one falls asleep.
Age-Specification: The ‘PUPD’ approach is applicable for a baby over three months.
The Positive: This method is liked by parents who are eager for gentle strategies to sleep training method than Controlled Crying or Cry It Out for example.
The Negative: Unfortunately, this method won’t work for each baby. Some babies find it overstimulating and instead of relaxed, they become worked up.
No Tears Method
This is a very gentle strategy of sleep coaching.
What the Method Is: This method allows you to continue to help your little one fall asleep by rocking, holding or feeding to the point of being very drowsy or asleep.
This strategy needs a lot of patience on the parents’ part. But, it’s suitable for parents who want to minimize their baby’s crying as much as possible.
Age-Specification: You can start from newborn sleeping onwards.
The Positive: This method assists you teach your baby the skill of settling independently – the key to lasting sound sleep.
The Negative: This strategy may cause the baby to be dependent on comfort from a parent at sleep time. It also makes harder for him to learn to soothe himself to sleep.
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Baby Sleep Training Methods- Which is The Most Effective?
You’ve already learned what baby sleep training is and some common methods of sleep training. But the next crucial issue is figuring out which method is best. Each Sleep Training Method has its own philosophy, approach, pros and cons in general. Hence, it’s important to figure out which one is the most effective for your baby….. (And You!).
You’ll find that there are basically two types of sleeping method:
First, gentle sleep training
Second, extinction sleep training
Gentle sleep training usually refers you pick up, rock, hold and soothe your baby if he/ she cries. On the other hand, in the extinction sleep training, you let your baby self-soothe for the whole night.
Now the question is- “Which one is right? Or which one is wrong?”
The answer is “Neither”.
Neither of these two categories is wrong or right. It depends on your baby’s temperament – and your parenting style. The basic difference among the methods are in whether you let your baby cry or not, co-sleeping or not, help your baby with settling or not.
“What is The Most Effective Baby Sleep Training Method?” Many parents are surprised when they heard there really isn’t a simple answer to that. If you analyze the reasons, you’ll find-
- Every child is different, so, there is no “one size fits all” method that works for every child.
- Even within the families, the method that worked best for one child may not be effective for another.
- Every family’s needs and goal are different.
- Parents try a method for a bit and when encounter resistance, they quit it without fixing the problem.
- Babies with medical problems such as asthma, pain, severe nocturnal fears don’t positively respond to sleep method.
However, the success of a sleep training method depends on some essential sleep parenting principle:
- Parents should take a positive attitude towards sleep
- Parents should use a sleeping time routine for their baby
- Parents must follow a regular sleep schedule for baby
- Parents should be predictable and consistent.
- Since each parent and each baby are different, there is no single method works well for all parents and their babies. Hence, what the most effective sleeping methods is what works best for your baby and you.
Be careful if you come across a very quick magical solution that ensures a shortcut way. It’ll do more harm than good for your baby’s sleep, basically in the long run.
Any method won’t be applied rigidly to every baby in every situation. Each parent should learn about their own child and adjust to their baby’s individual needs.
Choose the baby sleep training methods you can live with. Pick a method that you are comfortable with. No matter how effective the “experts” claim a training method to be, if you aren’t comfortable with it, it won’t work.
To go with your instincts, observe your baby well and never let others talk you into something that doesn’t feel right for you.