Sleep Training Guide for Your Baby

Sleep Training Guide for Your Baby – 6 Methods, 11 Tips and FAQ

The sleep training method of putting your baby to bed awake is a practical solution for parents who want their babies to learn how to fall asleep on their own.

It’s also a great way for parents, especially those with multiple children, who struggle with nighttime parenting battles. This approach indeed requires patience and commitment from both parent and child but it can ultimately strengthen the bond between them.

The secret behind these methods is consistency; you should be following the same plan every night until you see progress. This might seem like hard work at first, but if you stick with it long enough, it can be worth it.

Let’s look at a few popular sleep training methods:

1) Ferber Method

This approach involves putting your baby in his or her crib awake but sleepy and leaving him or her to cry for a predetermined amount of time (usually five to ten minutes) before returning to soothe them. You then gradually increase the amount of time between each visit until your baby falls asleep on his or her own. It’s important to remember that this method requires you to be consistent. If you give in even once, your baby may learn that crying can get him what he wants.

2) Weissbluth Method

This approach involves putting your baby down awake but drowsy to gently encourage them to start the process of learning how to self-soothe. It requires both parents and caregivers to put their baby in bed while they’re still slightly awake so they don’t learn how to fall asleep with someone else putting them down or rocking them.

3) Check-and-console method

With this technique, you check in on your baby at periodic intervals (usually every five to ten minutes) but don’t pick her up or try to console her.

4) Pick Up/Put Down Method

Put your baby in the crib and when she fusses, pick her up and comfort her until she’s better, and put her back down in the crib when she’s calm.

5) cry-it-out method

cry-it-out: A term used when a baby, or other infants, cries alone and unaided for a predetermined period before he is comforted and/or picked up by his parent.

6) Graduated extinction method

A method known as graduated extinction, where parents let their babies cry for increasing periods before checking in on them, has proven to be effective. Initially, parents ignore them for two minutes and then gradually move to 6 minutes, before comforting their child.

Does sleep training ruin attachment?

A major concern about sleep training is that it may damage the attachment bond between parents and children. Despite this, a study found no effects on infant stress responses or parent-child attachments.

Two approaches to sleep training were examined in Pediatrics – Graduated extinction and Bedtime fading.

Both methods did not adversely affect infants’ stress responses or parent-child attachments, according to the study.

What if my baby starts to cry inconsolably?

If your baby is crying inconsolably, it’s best to put him or her down and try again later. Crying for long periods can be stressful for both you and your baby, so it’s important to take a break if things get too difficult. Try using one of the other sleep training methods until you feel ready to try again.

However, if this goes too long, you can visit your doctor to check if your baby has colic.

Babies with colic often cry inconsolably, despite all attempts to comfort them. The cause of colic is unknown, but according to some experts, it is thought that colic could be related to the development of the infant’s intestinal system, acid reflux (GERD), or food allergies.

How long does it take a baby to adjust to new bedtime?

It may take around three days to three weeks before you can change your baby’s sleeping habits. Still, some children may adapt quickly while others may take a little more time.

What affects a babies sleep ?

There are a variety of things that can affect a baby’s sleep. Here are some listed below:

1 – Hunger

A common reason why babies have difficulty sleeping is because they’re hungry. If your baby is constantly waking up in the middle of the night, try feeding them smaller, more frequent meals instead of larger ones.

2 – Separation anxiety

Another reason why babies may have trouble sleeping is because they’re experiencing separation anxiety. If your baby is used to being with you all the time, they may start having trouble sleeping when you’re not around. A good way would be to sleep in the same room with their crib near your bed, so you and the baby can see each other.

3 – Noise Levels

Babies can also be affected by noise levels and light exposure. Try keeping your baby’s room dark and quiet at night, and avoid playing loud music or using bright lights in the evening.

4 – Health

If your baby’s reflux is unpleasant, he or she may be unable to sleep well. They might be irritable and wake up frequently. A kid with reflux is likely to fall asleep easily on your shoulder but then awaken shortly after being put flat in bed. Babies with reflux are constantly “snackers” eating a lot of food.

5 – Teething Pain

When babies are teething or sick, they may also cry in their sleep. The discomfort that causes them to cry generally wakens them up. Pediatricians can assist parents by relieving the pain of their child’s condition.

6 – Temperature

Maintaining a safe sleep environment while maintaining a cool, but comfortable sleeping space is another approach to keep your youngster safe. Make sure your baby’s room is at a comfortable temperature by checking the thermometer periodically throughout the night. It’s advised that newborns sleep in a temperature range of 68° to 72°F (20° to 22.2°C).

Temperatures too warm have been associated with a higher risk of SIDS. This also includes, Heavy blankets and multiple layers, and thick clothes which also increase the risk of SIDS.

7 – Swaddling

Most babies like to be swaddled when they’re sleeping. Swaddling will help them feel secure and comforted, which in turn will help them sleep better at night. You can also try putting your baby in a crib that’s close to your bed so you can hear them if they start crying during the night.

How can I help my baby develop healthy sleeping habits?

There are a few things you can do to help your baby develop healthy sleeping habits:

1 – Enough Sleep

Make sure your kid’s naps are not too late in the day, since this may have an impact on his nighttime sleeping. Stories and low-key activities might help your child unwind 45 minutes before bedtime. If your youngster protests, be compassionate yet firm.

2 – Create a bedtime routine and stick to it.

A consistent bedtime routine will help your baby know that it’s time for bed. Some good activities to include in a bedtime routine include reading a story, or giving your baby a bath.

3 – Avoid letting your baby sleep too long.

Your youngster will have two or three naps throughout the day. It is preferable not to allow him to sleep for too long perhaps no more than two hours later in the day, as he might not sleep as long during the night. When you notice him stirring, it’s a good idea to gently wake him.

4 – Enough sunlight

Sunlight helps regulate the body clock (circadian rhythm) and sleeping patterns. Babies who get enough sunlight during the day are more likely to sleep through the night. A good time to get your baby outside is in the morning, when the sun is up. If that’s not possible, open the curtains or blinds in your home or nursery. Pregnant women should get at least 10 to 15 minutes of direct sunlight (without sunscreen) each day and eat foods rich in vitamin

5 – Swaddling

Swaddling prevents a baby from flailing his or her arms or legs because it wraps them up in a blanket. This can also help your infant feel secure and fall asleep. Swaddling is not recommended when your child is 2 months old or older, or if they can roll over by themselves. When a swaddled infant rolls onto its stomach, the risk of SIDS increases.

When swaddling your baby, make sure he or she has enough room to move his or her hips and legs. The hips should be able to flex up and out at the knees. Don’t keep your infant’s legs together and straight down. Hip dysplasia and dislocation can arise as a result of placing the baby’s legs in this manner.

If the weather is warm or hot, be cautious about swaddling your baby. Using a thick blanket in the heat might cause your child to overheat. Instead, use a lighter blanket or sheet to swaddle the infant.

6 – Bedtime routine

A bedtime routine can help your baby know that it’s time for bed. Try bath, book, and bed. Give your baby a bath about 30 minutes before bedtime, read them a story and put them to bed when they’re calm. You may need to keep trying different things until you find something that works for your baby. Also, aim to create a calm environment for the babies to sleep in.

7 – Stimulation

Avoid overstimulating your baby before bedtime. Excessive play, noise and activity can make it difficult for a baby to sleep. Try to wind down the evening hours before bedtime by reading stories or singing lullabies. limit screen time (TV, tablets, smartphones) in the hours leading up to bed. Too much stimulation can keep babies awake and interfere with their natural sleep rhythms.

8 – Food

Avoid giving your baby caffeine or sugary drinks before bedtime. These items can be stimulants and make it difficult for a baby to fall asleep. A good rule of thumb is to not give your child anything to eat or drink for two before bedtime. If you’re breastfeeding, watch for signs that your baby is full and stop nursing.

9 – Set a sleep schedule

Babies need to learn how to sleep on their own. One way to do this is by setting a sleep schedule and sticking to it. This will help your baby develop good sleeping habits.

10 – Limit daytime naps.

Too many naps during the day can make it harder for your baby to sleep at night. If your baby is fussing or has difficulty sleeping, don’t try to force them to sleep. Sometimes babies just need some time to relax and calm down. Try soothing your baby with a gentle massage or by singing softly to them. If your baby continues to be restless, you might want to try changing their diaper or reading them a story.

11 – Avoid smoking near your baby.

Nicotine and other chemicals in secondhand smoke can cause breathing problems, which could also affect the quality of your baby’s sleep at night time. Smoking during pregnancy or after delivery raises the risk of SIDS. Smoking cigarettes while pregnant or following delivery poses a huge risk for your infant’s development of SIDS. According to scientific evidence, around 30% of unexpected infant deaths may be avoided if mommy didn’t smoke when they were expecting.

FAQ’s

1 – My baby used to sleep through the night but now she’s started waking up again. What happened?

A. If your baby has stopped sleeping as long as he did before, it could be due to one of several factors including increased hunger (breast milk or formula), illness, teething, changes in his environment like a new sibling or new bedtime routine, recent travel, growth spurts, or something else with the potential to disturb his sleep. It may also mean that something is wrong with the method you’re using to teach him how to fall asleep on his own if he wakes during the night. If this is the case, it’s best to seek the help of a professional to get your baby back on track.

2 – My baby is 8-months-old and I’m still breastfeeding. Can I start sleep training now?

A. Though there are no hard-and-fast rules about when you can or cannot start sleep training, it’s generally recommended that you wait until your baby is at least 4 months old and has stopped nursing through the night. This is because by this age they should be able to easily self-soothe and fall back to sleep without needing to nurse again. If you try sleep training before this point, it may not be as successful since your baby will still need your help to get back to sleep every time he wakes up.

3 – What if my baby starts crying when I put her down for bed and I can’t get her to calm down?

A. It’s important not to give in and pick your baby up, or else she’ll learn that crying at bedtime will get her what she wants (to be held). The trick is waiting it out until she falls asleep on her own. Soon enough your little one will realize that crying doesn’t get her what she wants (attention) and that mommy or daddy eventually returns even though she cries forever.

4 – How long does it take to sleep train an 8 month old?

In general, it should take around three to four nights. Some methods may take longer than others, but according on Dr. Schwartz, the majority of it comes down to parents having a strategy in place and sticking with their chosen sleep training approach.

6 – My 6-month-old was sleeping through the night but all of a sudden he’s waking up every hour again. happened? Why did he stop sleeping through the night?

A. It’s common for babies to start waking up more frequently at around 6 months old as they enter into their “6-month sleep regression.” This is a natural stage in development during which babies start to become more aware of their surroundings and want to explore more. As a result, they may start waking up more often during the night. This phase will eventually pass and your baby will return to sleeping through the night again. In the meantime, you can try some of the tips mentioned above to help him get back to his old sleep habits.

7 – How long does 6 month sleep regression last?

A healthy six-month-old may go through a sleep regression for a few days; though the lack of consistent sleeping migh alsot last for weeks. A genuine sleep regression usually lasts at least three days during which consistent behaviour changes in a child

8 – How long will it take for my baby to start sleeping through the night?

In generel most babies cannot sleep through the night (around 6 to 8 hours) without waking in between until around 3 months of age, or when there weight reaches around 12 or 13 pounds. By age 6 months, two-thirds of infants can sleep through the night on a regular basis.

9 – What position do babies sleep longer with?

You should always place your baby to sleep on their back, not their front or side. Sleeping your infant on their back (the supine position) for every sleep day and night is one of the most effective ways to protect them from harm. That is the best sleeping position.
The AAP currently advises that a newborn should be placed to sleep on his back in a crib near your bed in a smoke-free environment, and without any bedding.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has advised parents to put their infants on their backs since 1992.
Putting babies to sleep on their backs substantially lowers the danger of SIDS.
Babies who sleep on their stomachs inhale less air, which raises the risk of SIDS. In 2015, it was reported that around 1,600 infants died from SIDS. That is why a baby should not sleep on her side: If she falls asleep on her back, she has a higher chance of dying from SIDS.
The major danger of putting a baby to sleep on their side is that they might fall onto their stomach. When a baby’s head isn’t able to support itself, his or her face will become trapped against the mattress, making breathing difficult.

10 – I’m not sure if I want to do sleep training. What are some of the benefits?

A. While every family’s situation is different, there are a few potential benefits to sleep training:

  • Babies who learn how to sleep the night generally have better overall sleep patterns.
  • Sleep training can teach babies how to fall back to sleep on their own when they wake during the night. (As mentioned earlier however, please ensure your baby remains on his back when sleeping)
  • Children who learn how to sleep through the night may experience fewer emotional issues than children who don’t.
  • Babies learn how to fall asleep and stay asleep on their own, which usually means they’ll start sleeping through the night earlier
  • Parents get more rest, which improves their mood and energy levels
  • Babies cry less overall since they’re not waking up as frequently throughout the night

11 – If I decide to do sleep training, what’s the best way to start?

Many families find the easiest way to start sleep training is gradual. This means you make a small change each night until your baby is sleeping through the night. For example, if your baby usually falls asleep after being nursed or rocked for a certain amount of time, you would slowly cut back on that time each night until she’s falling asleep without help. Other families find it helpful to start with a specific plan, such as the Ferber Method, and follow it strictly. Talk to your pediatrician if you’re unsure of what would be the best way for you to start sleep training.

12 – What should I do if my baby starts waking up more frequently after we start sleep training?

If your baby starts waking up more frequently after starting sleep training, it’s usually a sign that she’s not quite ready for the changes you’ve made. Go back to the previous step and make a smaller change until she’s doing better again. Don’t give up if it takes a few tries to find the right changes for your baby.
Sleep training can be a difficult process, but it’s important to remember that every family is different and it may take some experimentation before you find what works best for you. If you’re feeling frustrated or like you’re not making progress, it might be helpful to talk to someone else about your sleep training plans, such as a friend, family member, or pediatrician.

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