For new parents, an entire night spent sleeping seems to be a thing of the past. Now, "bedtime" is filled with feeding, changing, and soothing a crying baby 24 hours a day. Sleeping is a skill that does not always come naturally to humans. Instead, parents have to train their children to sleep through the night.
What is Sleep Training?
Sleep training is the process of teaching your baby how to develop sleep habits as well as the routines centered around bedtime. Your baby will learn when to sleep and how to stay asleep through the night without assistance. Eventually, this will help you and your little one achieve a full night's rest.
Sleep Training Methods
If you've read through piles of parenting books, you've likely come across several sleep training methods, from the Ferber method to "camping out." There's been a lot of research to discover which sleeping method is best. The truth is, no formulated way is guaranteed to work for every family.
Whether you stick to one technique or combine elements from multiple ones, it's worth reviewing each method before determining your preferred approach.
- Cry it out or complete extinction — This method involves placing your baby in their crib, shutting their bedroom door until the morning, and, leaving the baby alone to self-soothe. At first glance, it may seem extreme to let a newborn cry throughout the night, but this method works well for children who calm down faster than others.
- Ferber method — Much like complete extinction, the Ferber method suggests letting your baby cry but allows periodic check-ins. Eventually, the sleep intervals will get longer, and the crying periods will end.
- Camping out — From the "disappearing chair" to the "gradual retreat," this method has several variations allowing the parent to remain with the child as they self-soothe. Some techniques permit singing while others encourage co-sleeping in the same room, but in different beds. Regardless of the method you choose, the idea is to provide a physical reassurance while your newborn falls asleep on their own.
When to Start Sleep Training?
Just like there's no perfect method for sleep training, there's also no magic age that determines when a child should begin sleep training. Consistency is key when teaching your baby healthy habits and developing a sleep cycle. It's best to start the process when your schedule has minimal variables that would disrupt the training, such as a vacation, holiday, or late-night event.
Tips for Smooth Sleep Training
- Encourage full feedings during the day. Naturally, a baby nestled up to their parents will want to doze off after 10 minutes of feeding. Get your little one in the habit of completing a full feeding before bed to avoid night feedings.
- Don't respond to every peep at night. Waking up in the middle of the night is natural for babies. Grown-ups do it, too. Before checking on your little one, wait outside the door for a minute or two to see if it's a false alarm.
- Enhance your baby's natural sense of their circadian rhythm by opening the blinds and going outside during the day. In contrast, their nighttime environment should be kept quiet and dark.
It's important to choose a sleep training method or technique that works best for you and your baby. If you and your family are committed to making it work, sleeping training should last around two to four weeks. Your baby will eventually snooze through the night on their own. Once your baby develops healthy sleep habits, you can spend the night enjoying the comfort of your cooling sheets from SHEEX® without any unwarranted wakeup calls.