The early days of a newborn are often when you want to give your all for the best growth of the baby. By the sixth week, you won’t need to wake up every few hours, and hopefully, by the third month, you might even pretend to be sleeping so that your partner gets up first to fetch the baby’s bottle.
The good news is that by the third and fourth month, most babies can now sleep through the night if you let them. The secret is to adapt to sleeping habits that last through the years. There are also effective ways to teach your baby to sleep independently. If sleep training doesn’t seem to work for your baby, click here to see what you might be doing wrong and how you can help them respond positively.
Remember to consult your baby’s pediatrician before commencing sleep training to ensure that your baby is all set for it and that no additional care will be needed at night. In this article, we’ll help you establish a good night’s sleep for your baby and yourself with minimal cries:
1. The “cry it out” Method or Extinction
Cry it out (CIO) is the most popular and practiced for sleep training. The CIO approach involves taking your child through the bedtime routine, placing them in their bed, wishing them a good night’s sleep, and leaving them to themselves. This method is quite controversial, hence the name “full extinction.” Although some parents can’t stand their baby crying, sometimes you’ll find yourself in a position where you cannot comfort them. Most parents claim that this method worked for them in only a few days, and after a bout of tears, their baby developed the ability to self-soothe.
Once you leave the baby’s room, wait for at least two wake-ups before you decide to go back. However, if the baby wakes up late after midnight, don’t hesitate to go into their room, comfort your baby and then leave them again. Expect your baby to cry a lot for the first three nights, but it will get less with every passing night. This method will often work by the fourth night, but you should remain determined for at least a week before you decide it’s not working.
2. The Chair Method
The unique thing about this approach is that it allows you to remain in the same room with your baby, only reassuring them of your presence from a safe distance. You’ll normally take the baby through the nighttime routine and place them delicately on their baby bassinet while they are still awake but drowsy. Go ahead and sit or stand beside their bed without touching them. If, for some reason, the baby is upset, go ahead to reassure them with your soothing voice. After that, gradually withdraw farther from their crib until you’re out of their room. Expect this method to work in approximately two weeks.
This sleep training method is naturally gradual, so discipline and patience are essential on your part as the parent. Remember to stay next to the baby crib before they fall asleep and return to reassure them every time they wake up.
3. Bedtime-routine fading
With this technique, you should continue with the sleep training method you’ve already adopted but gradually decrease the time you spend until you no longer have to do it. Although this method is great for minimizing baby crying, most parents find it unsustainable. You’ll need to have an end in sight. For instance, try being consistent with the baby’s bedtime routine for about a week and then step back a bit. This is worth a try if you are genuinely committed to getting your baby to sleep through the night without your assistance. Keep the end goal in mind, towards getting your child to sleep independently, for their own good and yours too.
4. Bedtime-hour fading
This method is not to be confused with the bedtime-routine approach described above. Bedtime-hour fading involves placing your baby in their bed immediately after they start dozing off. Make this the baby’s new bedtime for the next few nights, and then gradually shift this schedule to an earlier time.
For instance, if your baby’s bedtime is 7:30 p.m., but they often cry in their crib for more than 20 minutes before they nod off at 8:00 p.m., this only means that their natural bedtime is around 7:50 p.m., no matter how much you’d like it to be sooner. To ensure your baby’s natural sleep time, keep a record of the time they fall asleep for a few nights. You can now move the routine bedtime to 15 minutes earlier. Continue doing this each night until the baby’s sleep time shifts to your desired time.
5. The “no tears” method
This is the most gentle method for sleep training. This approach encourages you to answer the baby’s cries anytime. The secret is placing them in their bed while still awake and allowing them to develop the confidence to fall asleep without your continued involvement.
According to scientific research, there are no adverse side effects related to sleep training. Be confident to stick to the sleep training method that’s best for your baby and still works for you. As your baby grows older, their sleeping pattern needs to change. Remember to adjust their wake and bedtimes to help them achieve a good night’s sleep with minimal disruptions. Although you’ll have to endure crying for the first few days, a perfect sleeper is your ultimate prize. Since sleep training is typically a lifestyle change, don’t just ditch away the routines just yet, even when your baby has attained the skills to fall asleep on their own. Consistently help them adapt to life changes such as the arrival of a sibling, starting daycare, or maybe when on a trip.
Sleep training methods can take a few days or even weeks to work. A well-planned bedtime routine is key to alerting your baby that it’s time to sleep. If you notice that your baby gets upset when it’s time to take them into their crib, you can try doing some fun activities with them there during the day. Don’t just give up yet when results don’t show immediately. Patience is key.