What is Sleep Training and its Methods

Welcome to parenthood!

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

Nearly all babies cry at night because they’re hungry, so you also need to wake up and feed them. They won’t likely sleep through the night until they’re three months old. Other reasons for their fussing could be discomfort caused by gas, an allergy, or other distress and sickness, such as an ear infection. But after ensuring that your baby is fine and still cries at night, you probably need to begin 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 remember that sleep training and night weaning do not necessarily go hand in hand. You can still feed your babies once or twice during the night, depending on their age and stage. Talk to your pediatrician when you can drop your baby’s nighttime feeds.

We didn’t know a professional sleep coach for toddlers, preschool, or babies existed long ago. Nowadays, more and more of them are offering their services, including Little Z’s. Depending on their certificate and styles, the processes vary. For instance, you can purchase sleep training videos online, printables and eBooks, or consultations via video chats and personal emails. As a matter of fact, some sleep trainers do in-home consultations wherein they visit your homes to assess your baby’s personality and identify possible issues, like jaundice.

There’s no particular age to work with a consultant, but the earlier you begin, the better. At Little Z’s, they offer a wide range of services and products, including preschool sleep training, newborn sleep courses, baby sleep e-coaching, preschool sleep e-coaching, and even an early morning wake-up baby course.

Sleep Training Methods

1. Cry It Out (CIO) or Extinction

It is a sleep practice technique wherein you place your baby in their crib, allowing them to shout until they fall asleep without your help. This means you won’t feed to sleep, rock to sleep, or do anything to help them to float off. Keep in mind that it is always secure to put down your baby in their crib, rather than the swing or stroller.

2. Check and Console or Ferber Method

Even though there are many variations of this method, its general principle is to keep on checking on your baby at preset intervals but never feeding or rocking them. For example, place your baby in the crib, leave the room and wait a specific amount of time, like 2 minutes, to go inside their room. Then, offer them a rub or tap, or let them know you love them without picking them up. This method is usually recommended for older infants at seven weeks and older because younger babies require a parental presence, so they won’t feel they are abandoned.

3. Chair Method

This is a gradual method that requires your discipline as parents. First, 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 few nights, move the chair farther and farther away until you are out of their room.

4. Bedtime-routine Fading

Although many parents find this method difficult to sustain, it is an excellent way to minimize crying. With this approach, you can do whatever style you’re doing to help your baby fall asleep, like rocking or feeding, reducing the amount of time until you do not have to do it at all.

5. Bedtime-hour Fading

Don’t confuse this with bedtime-routine fading. This involves putting your baby in their crib during the time they generally sleep. Make this their new bedtime for a few nights, then gradually move it to an earlier time. To figure out when your baby naturally sleeps, observe them for a few nights and maintain a journal to track. As an example, if your baby usually sleeps from 7:50-8:00 pm, then put them in their crib 15 minutes earlier after a few nights until they’ve transitioned from their old habits to your desirable sleeping time.

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

This is more likely to work for babies younger than seven months. You do it by staying in the room without giving them too much help to sleep. For instance, you could stand over their crib, shush them, or pat their tummy to calm them. You can also have them cry for a bit, but when they begin to escalate, pick them up only to reassure them and then put them back down before they fall asleep.