Newborn infants about 0 to 3 months old need about 14 – 17 hours of sleep at night. Whereas slightly older infants that are 3 – 12 months old need 12 to 15 hours of sleep. That’s a lot of time, and as a parent, it’s your job to ensure your little one can get enough sleep. Baby sleep training is tough. I’ll be blunt about that, but there are some methods you can try that will help your baby sleep fast.
Some methods might seem very simple, but trust me, when nothing else works, these tricks will do the job.
In this article, let me go through some of the most effective sleep training tips and tricks on how you can get your baby sleep through the night. FYI these training methods won’t involve trauma or no tears for your baby.
On a side note, I’m sure you have heard about the Cry It Out sleep training method, which in my opinion, should be avoided if possible.
Because that method might cause early psychological trauma, which can lead to chronic insomnia later in life, another problem with this method is that your baby might develop low self-esteem issues.
One thing I will say is that avoid this method. There are more natural ways to make your baby fall asleep.
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Your baby not sleeping through the night? Want to learn nature’s way in human history on how parents did it in the early days?
The technique is called “Attachment Parenting Approach.” It’s a simple technique actually. You just need to co-sleep with your baby. For the first 14 months, sleep with your baby, and they will hardly ever cry during the day or night.
Well, unless they are sick or hurt in some way. This is how my parents did it. The main advantage of this method is that it will make your baby feel loved and secure and eliminates the need of having to “soothe” themselves.
Some might argue with me, but this is the more logical approach. Hey, it’s just my opinion and also the opinion of the authors who wrote “The Baby Book.” The whole book is about attachment parenting.
There are other baby sleep training books, but in my opinion, this is the best because the authors and researchers have put a lot of effort into finding the best baby sleep training methods.
I believe that sleeping is a learned skill. I know it’s natural but to adjust the sleeping schedule, this something you need to learn and teach it to your baby. It’s teaching your kids how to crawl, walk, poop, etc.
When you experience some bumps along the way, then you need to try out different approaches. It is because your child enters different developmental stages at various points, and they have to learn how to sleep at those moments.
When Do You Need to Use Sleep Training Method for Your Child?
Most often, parents will only try new techniques when they are exhausted or frustrated and want to try out new methods, so see if that helps improve the situation a little bit.
Becoming a parent is a stupendous milestone in one’s life. Although, it’s cherishing experience as it brings with itself a lot of liability. One such liability is staying awake till the little head honcho is still looking at the ceiling.
Although there’s no sure short guide or method to make your little one fall asleep, there are certainly some pacifying and soothing ways which help in baby sleep over a period of time.
If you are a working mom, you should be educating yourself before baby’s arrival and learn these ways to raise a more disciplined kid as early as six weeks.
As a new parent, people are often excited to be available to serve never-ending demands on their little ones. It feels alright during the first few weeks until the routine becomes boring and over-demanding. It is good to inculcate good sleeping habits during the early weeks of the baby’s life.
It is a good practice for you, for the baby and also for the whole family. Parents unknowingly incorporate bad sleeping habits in their kids, which can go on for years. Here’s our guide to teach you a variety of ways to achieve this goal.
Baby Sleep Training Methods
The idea behind baby sleep training is learning the technique of assisting a baby to learn good sleeping patterns such as little naps during the day and complete and sound sleep throughout the night.
At the same time, early awakenings in the morning are part of the training.
Sleeping habits are different for different babies: some tend to get to a regular sleep routine earlier and without much effort but, many others are fussy in terms of sleeping when their mums really need few hours of rest.
Here, you will find the most soothing ways followed by methods which help babies to learn to sleep on their own as they grow.
Discipline is the Key to Baby Sleep Training
Please don’t expect to induce sleep training very early i.e., during the first few weeks. This is the time when a baby will need you the most. You need to be available for him/her 24*7 and expected to respond to his/her needs immediately.
This is the time when these tiny bees will have short cycles of nursing and sleeping, which is quite natural and healthy. During these initial days, the baby just needs to be held tightly. Try to wrap him/her up in a soothing blanket or keep some pillow close to support him/her tight. This way they tend to sleep longer
When your baby is about six weeks older, you can gradually work on the daily schedule and slowly establish a regular sleeping pattern. The babies prosper and develop well if you stick to the same routine daily for all their needs.
You will have to make certain adjustments, but this will help you in the long run. Be it bath, feeding, or daytime naps; everything should be done at the same time daily.
So, day naps should follow same time daily that must be coupled with soothing ways like giving a warm bath and then feeding before bedtime for better night’s sleep. Similarly, a baby should be awakening at the same time each morning.
Your baby might take time to follow this routine, and you might be required to make more changes in your schedule, but slowly your baby will get used to it and develop better sleep cycles as he/she grows.
Don’t Wait Too Long
Experts say that babies set to bed earlier tend to sleep longer, which helps in the training. Crying is a very late sign for the need to sleep. It will be difficult for you to handle an overtired baby.
So, put your baby to bed early and slowly understand his exact sleeping time and stick to it. Paying attention to understand exact sleeping time is the foremost requirement for moving ahead in this training process.
Be Patient, Flexible and Induce Change Steadily
If it is not helping you much, don’t lose hope. Try not to induce sudden and abrupt changes, which might irritate the baby and waste your time and effort.
Your baby might develop a kind of fear as the night falls if you are too strict about inducing a certain type of method.
Set a timeframe for bedtime close to already followed the routine, and slowly change it to suit your needs.
Keep a check on changing moods of a baby, if he seems to be more cranky or annoyed, understand that your baby doesn’t like the change. Stop for a while and then start again after a few days.
Understand Your Baby’s Requirements
What works for others might not work for your baby. There is always some trick to help baby sleep. First, feed the baby and make him sleep in your arms, then slowly put him on vibrating pad. Let him cry for a while till he’s tired and sleeps gradually.
Wrap him tight when he’s asleep so that he sleeps longer or play some lullaby or read some book or repeat some phrase daily during bedtime, which signals him that it’s time to sleep. Choose a method which works for you no matter what proven guides say
Baby sleep training should not include anything that can make him experience some medical problem. Be sure; this is not the reason for him to adopt challenging behavior.
Also, don’t be too strict about using the same method and watching how the baby responds to it. If the baby is impervious to change or seems to have an overall adverse reaction, stop for a few days and then try again with some other method.
Make Him Stay Independent
This method is better known as a cry-it-out method. This is assumed that it is perfectly fine to let a baby cry for a while. Also, that sleeping is just a habit like any other which babies should be able to do on their own.
The simple logic is that if a baby sleeps while nursing or when you are around to help him sleep, he won’t learn to sleep on his own.
This technique says that crying is an inevitable part of a child’s nature while they adjust to baby sleep training. It’s a temporary pain which will help in the long run. Babies will develop and learn the art of sleeping on their own while their parents can enjoy a good night’s sleep too.
Try not to put the baby in the crib when he’s already asleep and encourage him to be an independent while it is bedtime, so he goes to bed with open eyes and realizes his own body needs.
Get over the feeling that you are ignoring the baby if he cries or that it will do any emotional harm to the baby. The younger the baby, the more favorable, will be the returns. After all, it’s a technique which will serve the whole family needs.
As you are already meeting other demands of a baby, letting him do this alone will not shake his sense of safety.
The Slow and Soothing Way
Contrary to the above theory, some say that leaving a baby unattended while he is crying out loud may develop a feeling of insecurity or may agitate him more. Sometimes when babies cry, all they need is just a cuddle or your presence around. So, try other ways if this doesn’t work for you.
Maybe the baby is yet not ready to sleep and wants some playtime. Let it be! Keeping him up more than normal will make him drowsy and tired. Singing him baby rhyme or lullaby at this time will induce sleep. During the next few days try to shift baby sleep time earlier to 15 – 20 minutes until you gradually reach the time you wish him to sleep
Another helpful tip here will be to awaken the baby before the usual time each morning. This way, the middle-night awakenings tend to get lesser and steadily vanish. For the first year of baby’s life, it’s okay to sleep with a baby. Your baby might need it if he’s too sensitive.
It’s a blessing to have a baby who starts to enjoy the sound and long sleep in his own space. You might still be wondering how he feels, wants to keep a check on him in case it’s too cold or too hot.
Try to dress him up in comfortable clothing so that you don’t have to worry about his health during nights. Instead of staying awake and checking him regularly, use the baby monitor so, that you too can enjoy a much-needed dozing.
All the above methods are often compared to each other, and each one is a proven way and has advantages over another.
But you need to choose the right way for your child. If your kid has a calm temperament and doesn’t bother you much during the day, he might be a stronger candidate for independent sleep. He might not cry when left to sleep on his own, and it may turn out to be a cakewalk for you and baby.
For some babies, you might need to try out all methods until you find the best one to suit their night needs. It also depends on how you adapt to each method and which one you personally like.
For over-caring parents for whom sleepless nights are fine, and sleep deprivation seems to be a small cost, it’s good to choose the most soothing way first and extend this training over a period of months
But, if you are raising a full-time attention seeker, you might have a hard time during baby sleep training.
Here, you will be required to start with the most soothing way and steadily hope to move ahead. If you can match a method with your child’s personality, you can get quicker results.