The complete and considerate guide to sleep training your baby
Caring for your newborn baby
Caring for a newborn can be exhausting. You’re constantly at the beck and call of this tiny human you love with all your heart. Your life — for now — is not yours. And neither is your sleep. You wake when they wake and sleep when they do, which isn’t often. However, as they grow older and sleep longer, you should consider weaning them from needing you to put them to sleep. You should consider sleep training your child.
In this article, we’ll talk about sleep training; what it is, how and when to start sleep training, and other important things to note when sleep training your baby.
What is sleep training?
Sleep training is teaching your baby to self-soothe whenever they wake up in the middle of their night sleep. No, you aren’t training your baby to sleep through the night. No one actually does. Everyone stirs in their sleep. Rather, sleep training helps you show your baby how to fall asleep independently without your help. Sleep training is also confused with “crying-it-out”, but it goes beyond that. There are other methods to get your baby to self-soothe, and we shall talk about them later in this article.
When should you start sleep training your baby?
It depends. Every baby is unique. But typically, you can start sleep training your infant between 4-6 months. At this age, their sleep cycles are longer and less chaotic. Generally, you should start sleep training before your baby becomes accustomed to being rocked or nursed to sleep.
How to start sleep training your baby
In the first few months with a newborn, all you can do is embrace the chaos. There is no rhyme or rhythm to their schedule, and they’d need to be swaddled or nursed to sleep. However, as they grow older, you should prepare yourself and your baby for sleep training. Here are a few steps you can take. Start a bedtime routine: It could be a bath, then nursing, then bed. It could be anything. An uncomplicated and consistent routine helps your baby connect a series of activities
to bedtime. Involve your partner: Make sure your spouse or partner not only witnesses this bedtime routine, but is actively involved in it. This way, your baby will get used to them too. Teach your child about night and day: don’t draw the blinds to keep sunlight out during the day. Try not to tiptoe or whisper too much as they nap either. Your baby needs to know the difference between day and night. Conversely, you should keep their room dark and quiet at night. Get a separate bed: You might want to get a separate bed or crib for your baby. It’d be difficult to sleep train if your child sleeps in the same bed as you. Be safe: To keep your baby safe and prevent SID, you should make sure their bed is not too soft. Remove plushies, soft pillows, and even crib bumpers; anything that may be a choking hazard. Now you’ve covered the basics, let's move on to sleep training proper.
Sleep training techniques you should know
Like we said earlier, every baby is unique. What worked for one baby may not work for your next. There are a variety of approaches to sleep training. However, we'll discuss the two most popular methods — Crying-it-out (CIO) and Camping-Out. We'll look at them below. It is important that you lay your baby in her bed while they're still drowsy. Even if they fall asleep in your arms, wake with a tickle or gentle scratch as you place them in the crib. This teaches them to fall asleep on their own. This is only the first part. The next stage is the training itself, for you and your kid. There are two popular ways parents sleep train their babies. 1. The Crying-it-out method This involves removing yourself completely from your baby's view once you’ve placed them in the crib. Even if they were to wake up in the night and cry for you to soothe them back to sleep, you’re not to go to them. This can be a brutal and exhausting method that can prove extremely difficult. However, there’s a gentler version where you check your baby at intervals without picking them up or hovering around them for too long. This is called the Ferber method. 2. Camping out method
This is another gentler method that involves you slowly extricating yourself from your baby’s room while they sleep. For instance, if you normally nursed your child to sleep, your camping out plan may involve this process. You might decide to only pet them till they sleep the first few days. Then restrict yourself from touching them even when they wake, in the days after. You’ll also sneakily keep on moving your chair towards the door each day until they are comfortable with you being outside the room while they sleep. Another method includes picking them up when they cry, soothing them, putting them down, and leaving the room immediately. You should know that your child will always cry no matter what method you use. So, brace yourself. Generally, adults are advised to sleep for at least 7 hours per night. Side effects from inadequate sleep include anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, loss of concentration, higher blood sugar levels, amongst others. These are not great ways to feel, especially with a baby around. So sleep training is essential, even though it’s quite difficult. However, you don’t have to do this alone. We can help you. If you live around the Minneapolis area and Minnesota in general, you can hire a professional and highly-trained nanny from our agency to help you sleep train your baby. All our nannies are qualified to use any sleep training method of your choice, so you and your baby can get a good night’s rest every day.