Sleep training is a mysterious, often anxiety-ridden, highly debated series of events. Between not knowing which technique to try, and feeling as if every attempt is a failure, all the preparation in the world may not make any difference in how well, or how routinely, a little one sleeps. With so many factors to consider, how does a parent effectively train their baby to sleep through the night? Turns out, understanding the things sleep experts wish people knew about sleep training might help parents train their baby (or toddler) to sleep on their own and through the night faster and with better, longer-lasting results.
It's not uncommon for the somewhat controversial methods, like "cry it out" and "controlled crying," to leave parents wondering what risks are involved. Richard Ferber, M.D., and author of Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems: New, Revised and Expanded Edition led a revolution of tired parents into dreamland with his structured (and now revised) sleep training method called "Ferberizing," which alternates letting baby "cry it out" with comforting them or tending to their needs.
On the other hand, and according to Dr. Dr. Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D, Psychology Professor at the University of Notre Dame, night wakings in babies 6 months and younger is completely normal and "training" of any kind may not be beneficial. Therefore, in choosing to let babies cry it out, there's conflicting opinions on whether it helps, or hurts, babies in their journey to better sleep.
The point is, when it comes to sleep training, parents aren't lacking for options. So, honestly, how is a parent suppose to know what's right or wrong, what's most beneficial or not worth the time and effort, and what will help everyone get a good night's rest? Here's what the experts want you to know: