Your baby's sleep schedule — or lack thereof — is likely a top conversation topic for you, and will continue to be until the miraculous day they finally sleep through the night. You're also bound to be inundated with questions, expressions of concern, and, of course, a ridiculous amount of unsolicited advice. With all the information floating around out there, it's hard to sift through it all. One recent trend regarding infant sleep routines is the Weissbluth Method. If you don't know what that is, you're not alone. Thankfully, everything you need to know about the Weissbluth Method is pretty easy to understand.
Many parents are familiar with the Ferber Method, or Cry It Out (CIO), which is basically exactly what it sounds like. Rather than rushing in to coddle or soothe your child every time they wake, cry, or fuss, Ferberizing focuses on reducing your involvement until it's non-existent and your infant learns to self-soothe and ideally sleep through the night. Yet, for as many people who praise the method, there is arguably an equal amount who abhor the practice, too. So is the Weissbluth Method and the Ferber Method the same? Though they do have similarities, they have some fairly big differences, too. Check out this list of everything you need to know about the Weissbluth Method so you can make an informed decision.
1. You Should Wait Six Months To Try It
Unlike other sleep training methods out there, the Weissbluth Method shouldn't be started until your baby is six months of age, according to Education. The primary reason given for this is that an infant who is less than a year requires more frequent feedings and diaper-changings and thus would need more attention from their parent than the method recommends.
2. You Need To Stay Out Of The Room
Some parents opt to implement varying check-ins throughout their child's bedtime. The Weissbluth Method, however, requires that once you put your infant down to sleep, you don't go back in unless it's an emergency, as Precious Little Sleep noted. This can be a deal-breaker for many.
3. Don't Use Monitors
If you're anything like I was with my baby, having a baby monitor helped ease my anxieties and gave me a sense of reassurance. As Dr. Dan Weissbluth wrote on the official Weissbluth Pediatrics blog, "the monitor sabotages parents who are sleep training." The reasoning is that any light emitted from the monitor can interrupt sleep and parents will be more likely to wake since they'll be tuned in to every squeak and squirm they hear.
4. Take Cues
One thing the Weissbluth Method is big on is that each parent needs to understand that no baby is alike. From sensing when something is actually wrong to knowing when baby is ready to sleep, the Weissbluth Method advises parents take cues from their child's behavior, according to Education. For the system to have its best chance at success, it makes sense for you to only put your infant to bed when they're actually sleepy to avoid unnecessary stress.
5. Strive For Still Sleep
As you probably know, newborns are big on squirming, even when they sleep. So if you're anything like me, you might get nervous when your baby isn't scooting and readjusting every five seconds in their bed. The Weissbluth Pediatrics official website has a response to that concern, as noted that, "the most restful sleep is sleep that is motionless." Uninterrupted and still sleep is the unicorn-like goal for parents everywhere, it seems.
6. Be Consistent
Otherwise known as the "no-peek method," the Weissbluth way of sleep-training relies heavily on absolutes, according to Precious Little Sleep. It's not enough to put your child down to sleep an leave it at that. You must continue this practice to reinforce consistency arguably so that your baby will learn and adapt. This can be another deal-breaker for parents who have difficulty fighting the urge to peek in on their little one to assuage their concerns.
7. Keep Naps Flexible
Though the Weissbluth Method focuses primarily on nighttime sleep, there are some important notes about day sleep as well. As Education noted, "don't sacrifice night sleep for day sleep," when using this sleep-training system. That goes back to the idea that you should take cues from your child. If they don't seem ready for their usual 10 a.m. nap, then it's OK to opt for an afternoon rest instead.