Which Sleep-Training Method Is Best For You?Jan 11, 2021
As your baby approaches the four-to-six-month-old mark, you’re exhausted and overwhelmed. You probably can’t remember what a good night’s sleep feels like. In fact, you’d likely do just about anything if it meant you and your baby would sleep through the night. I know because I’ve been there. I have five children, and I haven’t forgotten the sleepless nights and exhausting days of that first year with a baby. I’m here to tell you that it does get better.
If you’ve been nodding your head while reading this article, you may be ready to start sleep training your baby. And of course, you have questions. No doubt you’ve heard all sorts of advice from your mother, your grandma, your neighbor, and even that well-intentioned lady behind you in the checkout line. The point is just about everyone has an opinion on sleep training and what works best.
Here’s the deal—every sleep-training plan when consistently followed is safe and effective.
It’s true, and the research backs me up.
However, I also recognize that the sleep-training technique you use is a deeply personal choice. I typically don’t recommend one method over the other to parents, mostly because a consistent plan with or without crying will get the job done.
So, I’ll just describe the following sleep-training methods here so you can decide for yourself which one is best for you and your family:
Cry-It-Out: Once the bedtime routine is complete, you leave the baby’s room. In this technique, you do not respond to the baby’s cries and let the baby fall asleep independently. This method is not for everyone. Some parents find CIO too harsh, while others swear by it.
Ferber: In this method, you respond to the baby’s cries at set periods and gradually increase the length of time between each intervention. The theory here is the baby will learn over time to self-soothe and fall asleep by herself. The Ferber method is usually what today’s parents think of when they hear the term “sleep training.”
Pick up/put down: As its name implies, you pick up the baby when he cries and then put him down once he has been soothed. You then repeat this exercise until the baby falls asleep. As I’ve said before, all sleep-training plans work if followed consistently, but many parents find this one hard to maintain because it takes a long time with so many starts and stops.
Camping: You sit next to the baby’s crib until she falls asleep. Mom or dad do not attempt to soothe the baby’s cries. Every few nights, you move a little bit closer to the door. Many parents I’ve spoken with are comfortable with this method as it’s considered the middle-of-the-road option.
Fading: This is a gentle, no-cry sleep-training method. You soothe the baby to sleep by rocking, feeding, or singing lullabies. Eventually, you decrease the amount of time you soothe your baby to sleep or “fade” the bedtime ritual out as he grows up. This is essentially just a “wait-them-out” approach in which you hope that they gradually decrease the time you need to soothe them. It is a long process and the success rate often falls apart with teething, growth spurts, and minor illness.
What’s right for you and your family? I’m passionate about teaching parents how to get the sleep they need and helping parents raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted children. My Mighty Sleepers course cuts through the confusion of all these methods and gives you the confidence to consistently use the right sleep-training technique for your family. If you’re ready to learn how to sleep train your baby, take my Mighty Sleepers course today!
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