As a new parent, you will quickly learn that babies don’t follow a conventional sleep schedule, and their abnormal slumber patterns can make you feel like a walking zombie. When the baby gets old enough, you probably want to jump at the opportunity to start sleep training to hopefully get more sleep yourself and regain a sense of normalcy. However, you may not know how to go about sleep training. In this article, we will teach you how to train your baby to sleep on their own.
Sleep Training: What is it?
Sleep training refers to the practice of teaching a baby to fall asleep without the comforting arms of their parents. The baby will get their first introduction to independence during sleep training and learn how to soothe themselves.
You may associate sleep training with the “cry it out” method, where you put the baby to sleep and shut the door, but you have many techniques to try. However, all methods will involve a significant amount of crying and trial and error that may require some assistance from the best baby subscription box on the market.
Related Link: How to Get a Baby to Sleep Through the Night
How Old Should My Baby Be To Begin Sleep Training?
A baby must develop to a certain point before they can begin sleep training. Two indicators that a baby can start sleep training are:
- Requiring feedings less frequently (every 8 hours)
- Sleeping for 6 hours straight
Most commonly, babies can start sleep training between 6 - 8 months, but every baby develops at a different pace. Use your best judgment as the baby’s parent to determine the exact time to get started. Most parents jump at the opportunity when they can after months of sleep deprivation, but some parents prefer to hold on to the newborn stage for as long as possible.
How To Get A Baby To Sleep Through The Night?
There are multiple effective techniques used to get a baby to sleep through the night on their own. Learn the techniques and use whatever works for you.
Check and Console
With the check and console method, you will put the baby to sleep and leave the room. After about a minute or two of crying, you will return to comfort the baby without picking them up. You will leave again and continue to check on them every 15 minutes until they fall asleep. The baby will become aware that you are in the area and checking on them, allowing them to lose their anxiety and relax.
The extinction method can make some parents uncomfortable, but it’s the simplest method. You put the baby to sleep, then leave the room and don’t return no matter how hard they cry (and they will). You will not return to the room until it’s time to wake up in the morning.
Some parents feel pain listening to their baby cry so ferociously, especially during the first couple of nights. If you can’t help yourself, you may decide to soothe the baby after the baby wakes up crying multiple times.
The chair method means that you put the baby into their crib and then sit down in a nearby chair. When the baby falls asleep, leave the room. When the baby inevitably wakes up wailing, go sit in the chair again. Your presence should help comfort the baby and allow them to go back to sleep. Move the chair further and further away until you remove it out of the room.
This method involves a lot of crying on the part of the baby and patience on your part. Give it at least a week before trying another method.
Related Link: Why Does My Baby Cry So Much?
Pick up, Put Down and Shush-Pat
The pick up, put down, and shush-pat method gives you the opportunity to soothe the baby, eliminating the guilt that can come with the extinction method.
You will put the baby in their crib but stay in the room with them as they drift off. If the baby starts to cry, the parent can pick them up and soothe them before putting them back in their crib. Instead of picking the baby up, you can also soothe them in the crib when they get fussy. Try gentle shushing noises or light touches that make the baby aware of your presence without disturbing them.
Tips On Getting Your Baby To Sleep On Their Own
Sleep training doesn’t always take place right away. These tips on getting your baby to sleep on their own can help you on this journey.
Create Comfortable Environment
You probably sleep better in a comfortable and relaxing bedroom, and your baby will, too. Do what you can to make the room conducive to a good night of rest by providing a cozy crib, pajamas, and appropriate lighting. You can also get an overhead mobile and soothing toys.
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Don’t Feed Right Before Bedtime
If the baby associates eating with bedtime, they will feel the need for you when they fall asleep since you provide the food. Try feeding well before bedtime. Of course, you don’t want to shock the baby’s system too much. Start by feeding 15 minutes earlier, then continually increasing feeding time by 15 minutes every couple of days until the regular feeding time takes place about an hour before bed.
Wake Baby Up When Putting Them To Bed
Babies fall asleep when they get tired, whether you put them to bed already or not. If the baby falls asleep in your arms, gently wake them up a bit when you put them into their bed. This will allow them to make a connection between sleep and the crib. Furthermore, they won’t get scared when they wake up in a different place than when they fell asleep.
Stay Positive and Calm
Do not put too much pressure on yourself throughout the sleep training process. Most new parents struggle with it, so you will have plenty of support from your friends who went through it already. Keep a positive attitude and avoid feeling upset when things don’t go as planned. Your baby won’t want to see you upset, and it can make sleep training even more difficult.
Related Link: How To Get a Toddler to Sleep
Parenting can get stressful, so make things as easy on yourself as you can. Learn more about the #1 baby subscription box on the market and sign up for 123 Baby Box today.