It’s hard as a parent waking up every few hours to tend to your baby. You are tired and want a good night’s sleep. Don’t stress yourself out too much because there are helpful hints and techniques to help your baby sleep longer throughout the night.
The term “sleep training” is often used to describe ways parents help their baby achieve a full night’s sleep. There are several methods usually used to sleep train babies. One approach may work for you and another approach may work for another parent.
The self-soothing approach can sometimes be difficult for parents. With this approach, you refrain from nighttime soothing and allow the infant to cry alone until they fall asleep. The goal is to get the baby to soothe themselves back to sleep and not rely on you to soothe them. This method should not be used until your baby is at least 6 months old and has slept through the night before.
If this method is successfully working for you and your baby, you should notice after a few days that your baby is crying less and for shorter lengths of time during the night. You should not allow your baby to continue to cry if they are not starting to soothe themselves. If you’re concerned, talk to your pediatrician about an appropriate length of time your child can go without you soothing them.
This method is the opposite of self-soothing. This method will take a bit longer to successfully work. When using the Parental Soothing method, you will comfort your baby each time they cry. The goal is for them to adjust to a full night’s sleep at their own pace.
If you have been regularly soothing your child up and they are not able to sleep through the night, trying a different method may be what you and your baby need.
This method is a combination of the first two methods. With the Fading Method, you wean your baby from nighttime soothing. This method is usually done slowly by lessening your nighttime soothing over the course of a few weeks.
There are two ways to use the fading method: camping out and check-ins. To use the camping out approach, you can sit in a chair near your baby’s crib until they are asleep. If they wake up and cry or fusses, you slightly soothe them. Every few nights, move the chair farther away but still within view. Hopefully, within two weeks, you should be able to leave the room after putting your baby down to sleep.
For the check-in approach, put your baby in their crib for bed and leave the room. Leave your baby for short periods of time, about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, if your baby is fussing, return and comfort them. You may lightly pat your baby or tell them that it’s time to sleep and then leave the room.
Extra Tips to Help Sleep Train Your Baby
When you’re beginning a sleep training method, remember that it can take a while to see progress. Below are some tips to help you with sleep training your baby:
- Keep the lights dim, speak very softly and keep stimulation to a minimum
- Keep nighttime feedings calm and quiet
- Remember, crying always seems longer to a parent— an infant under 5 months old will cry fifteen to twenty minutes on average.
Keep in mind it may take a while to find the right routine to help your baby sleep through the night. Sometimes, a specific method just won’t work. You may find that a combination of methods or your own personal approach works better. Good luck!
Written by Lauren Morelli
Director of Marketing and Communications
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