Sleep is a sought after commodity among parents. Unfortunately, many babies don't have the same sentiments about the preciousness of a good night's rest, forcing parents to take drastic measure to get their babies to sleep. At some point though, most parents have to adopt some kind of system to get their baby to sleep for longer stretches at night. If the words "cry it out" automatically make you cry a little too, you don't have to abandon all hopes of sleep training. Luckily, there are a few sleep training strategies that don't involve cry it out that have worked for many families just as well.
These methods admittedly take a bit more work than the various methods that involve crying to some degree. Although certain cry it out methods can work in a few nights, most of the more gentle approaches to sleep training can take weeks or even months to work fully. However, if you're trying to avoid crying in your baby's nighttime routine, a more gentle approach that takes a bit longer will be well worth the effort and time it takes to work.
In conjunction with these gentle sleep training strategies, a soothing nighttime routine and a calming bedroom will be essential in the success of the methods. Before you know it, your baby will be sleeping for longer stretches at night, or even all through the night, and you'll finally get a bit more shut eye as well.
1. The Fading Method
Although according to the Baby Sleep Site, the fading method could potentially involve a few tears, but it can be avoided as well. In this method, parents gradually decrease the amount of work they do to put their baby to sleep and gradually increase the amount the baby does. For example, if you normally nurse or rock your baby to sleep, you would slowly shorten the length of time you rock your baby and lay them down before they fall completely asleep. Baby Center noted that over time, your baby will need little rocking and will learn to fall asleep on their own.
2. The Pick-Up-Put-Down Method
This method is pretty self explanatory, and the Baby Sleep Site noted that it won't work for every baby. But for some it's just the thing to calm them down enough to fall asleep. When your baby cries, you go into their room, pick them up and calm them down until they're either asleep or mostly asleep. Over time (again, patience is essential in these methods,) your baby will need less soothing and should sleep longer without waking up.
3. The Chair Method
This method is sometimes called the "camp out" method as well. In it, the parent will sit in the baby's room with them until they fall asleep, gradually increasing the distance from the chair to the crib until they're out of the room entirely. Although the Baby Sleep Site admits that this method can involve a few tears, depending on how quickly you move the chair away and what methods you use to sooth your baby when they're fussing, it can be totally tear free as well.