Sleep training is controversial. Co-sleeping is controversial. Crying it out is controversial. Catering to your baby's every whimper is controversial. It seems like parents just can't win. Does the world expect a baby to be born with the ability to sleep on their own all night without any help? Many parents turn to sleep training methods, like the Weissbluth method, when they are looking for something that actually works in regards to sleep. But there are a few myths about the Weissbluth method that can turn you off from trying the training before you even read about it.
Like most cry it out methods, the Weissbluth method is considered pretty controversial. According to The Baby Sleep Site, the big issue most people have with the Weissbluth method is that it advocates an "extinction" method of crying it out. Instead of a "gradual extinction" like Ferber, you don't go in every few minutes to reassure your baby that you are there or offer comfort. Instead, you put them to bed, close the door, and you don't go back in unless there's an emergency.
It sounds hard AF. I'm not even going to try and mince that for you. But for some parents and babies, it works. In fact, Precious Little Sleep noted that the Weissbluth method is supposed to work quicker than any other type of cry it out sleep training because of the extinction process.
Whether it sounds right for you and your family or not, there are seven myths about the Weissbluth method you should keep in mind so that you can be educated and make the right decision for you and your little ones without being swayed.
Myth #1: You Leave Your Baby To Cry No Matter What
Although the Weissbluth method does advocate for crying it out, it also accounts for special moments, like if your child is sick or has had a nightmare. The point of crying it out, for the Weissbluth method, is to diminish any sleep associations and teach your baby how to self-soothe according to The Baby Sleep Site.
Myth #2: It Leaves Newborns To Cry All Night
According to Education, the Weissbluth method actually shouldn't be used on any child under 6 months old. The reason behind this is that a child younger than 6 months old requires more attention at night than an older baby, whether it's frequent feedings or diaper changes, and it's difficult to commit to the actual method. Weissbluth Pediatrics noted that consistency is key with this method, so make sure your little one is ready for the training before you jump in.
Myth #3: You're Just Ignoring Your Baby
Nope. I know letting your baby cry all night sounds like you're ignoring them, but it's more than that. The Weissbluth method is about noticing your child's sleep cues and working to make sure your baby is getting as much sleep as they need based off of their tired signs according to Today's Parent.
Myth #4: It Advocates For No Night Feedings
Again, a total myth. According to The Baby Sleep Site, Weissbluth actually notes that babies may need one to two night feedings up until they are 9 months old, which is more nursing than the Ferber method allows for its sleep training. The Weissbluth method does not mean you leave your child starving, I promise.
Myth #5: It Treats All Babies The Same
The Sleep Lady noted that your baby's temperament plays a big part of any sleep training and The Baby Sleep Site suggested the same thing, especially when using the Weissbluth method. Unlike the Ferber method, the Weissbluth method takes your baby's temperament into consideration when training so that you can use an approach that works best for both of you.
Myth #6: You Don't Do Any Soothing Techniques Before Sleep
Though the point of the Weissbluth method is to get rid of any and all sleep associations, that doesn't mean your child doesn't get any soothing before bed time. The Weissbluth Pediatrics website suggested using soothing techniques like soft sounds, sucking, and gently rocking your baby to lull them to sleep, but you don't let them depend on it. The method doesn't advocate simply dropping your baby in a dark room to cry; you can still keep the same loving bedtime routine you have, but when it's time for bed, it's time for bed.
Myth #7: It's Cruel & Selfish
OK, crying it out isn't for everyone. No sleep training method is. But Weissbluth's method gets a bad vibe simply because it requires you to put your baby to bed and leave them to cry. But Precious Little Sleep argued that going in to constantly check on your baby can actually make them more upset and agitated and can perpetuate the crying, making it last longer than it should simply because they know you'll eventually come in. The Weissbluth method is like any other sleep training method — it's there to help your child sleep. If it's not your cup of tea, that's fine, but to assume it's cruel and selfish is a total myth.