Sleep training is a pretty hot topic in many parenting circles, because there are so many ways to help your baby rest. Co-sleeping is a popular choice for many parents, but what if it isn't the right option for your family? The many sleep training strategies that don't involve co-sleeping can help you and your baby have a good night's sleep.
Although sleep is a natural thing, babies have to learn the basics of sleeping patterns. Going to sleep at night and waking up in the morning is not their strong point just yet. So to help parents and their children get to this point, a variety of baby sleep training methods exist. In general, sleep training teaches a baby how to fall asleep and remain calm until the morning, according to Baby Center. Co-sleeping, in which the baby sleeps in the same room as the parents, although not necessarily in the same bed, is a popular choice for many families, noted The Bump. Although this strategy does give caregivers easy access to the babies throughout the night, it is not the best option for all families. For instance, what if your baby is such a noisy sleeper that you can't get a moment of rest? (Those little suckers can be surprisingly loud.) In these cases, there are plenty of sleep training tips parents can use even when the baby sleeps in a separate room.
1. Opt For An Early Bedtime
Although keeping your baby up later to wear her out does make sense intuitively, it often just results in an overtired baby. And babies who are beyond exhausted are sometimes impossible to put down for the night. To avoid an overtired baby, go for an earlier bedtime at around 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., according to Baby Center. Chances are, your baby will sleep better.
2. Use The Pause
Do you rush into your kid's room at the first sound? It may not be necessary. Some caretakers pause for a minute or two before responding to nighttime crying, as explained in the website for Parenting. This gives your baby a chance to self-soothe and go back to sleep if possible, and you're on hand right away if the nighttime cries go on too long.
3. Follow A Bedtime Routine
You've probably heard this advice a thousand times, but bedtime routines are so crucial for babies and small children. A soothing bedtime routine teaches your kid how to wind down for sleep, according to the website for Parents. Even babies benefit from a little downtime before bed.
4. Put Baby Down Drowsy, But Awake
Most every baby sleep advice involves some mention of being "drowsy but awake," but what does that even mean? A drowsy but awake baby is calm but not overtired, according to The Baby Sleep Site. Granted, this technique doesn't fly with all parents — finding the sweet spot between sleepiness and wakefulness is tough with some babies — but it's a nice guideline.
5. Try The Fading Strategy
If you're looking for a gentle method of sleep training, then this is for you. The fading method allows the baby to assume more sleep responsibility, according to The Baby Sleep Site. You still rock the baby to sleep, for instance, just in shorter and shorter intervals until the baby is sleeping more independently.
6. Use The Chair Method
Like the fading method, this strategy lets your baby down easy, so to speak. For the chair method of sleep training, you gradually reduce your presence in the kid's bedroom, according to Baby Sleep 101. Start with a chair beside your baby's bed or crib and sit there until the kid's asleep. Over time, move the chair farther from the bed until the baby can sleep more independently.
7. Give The Pick-Up-Put-Down Method A Try
This method is ideal for babies with a lot of night wakings. For the pick-up-put-down method, you pick up the baby when they're crying, soothe them until they're calm, and then put them back down in the crib or bassinet, according to Healthline. It can make for a time-consuming cycle, but the idea is that your baby will ultimately learn to self-soothe and sleep.
8. Feed During The Day
Sure, this depends on your kid's age and feeding needs. But when you're able, try to fill up your kid during the day so nighttime can become associated with sleeping instead of eating, according to the National Sleep Foundation. At least your kid won't be disturbed by hunger pangs at night.
9. Check In With A Doctor
If no amount of sleep training is working, consider a visit to the pediatrician. Allergies, reflux, and sleep apnea can cause sleeping problems in babies, according to Sleep Baby Love. Ruling out any medical issues for sleeplessness is wise.
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