It’s not uncommon for parents to experience sleepless nights whenever a new member of the family comes along. We’ve been through those tough times where we have to get up during wee hours and suffer sleep deprivation for months.
The good news is you won’t have to go through it ever again. You can teach your child to sleep on his own without you having to lull him to sleep every single time. But here’s the caveat. Sleep training for your child requires a lot of determination, or ‘though love’, if you will. Some parents quit halfway because they couldn’t stand their baby crying it out.
One more thing: it’s not recommended for young babies less than six months old, so you may still have to give up some sleep till your baby is old enough.
Let’s go through these two sleep training methods and see which method would suit him best.
Cry It Out
You might have heard about ‘gradual extinction’ or Ferber method when you came across sleep training for children. It’s also known as ‘cry it out’ method. The name itself tells you that this is not a method for the faint at heart. ‘Cry it out’ works by letting the child cry to his sleep or figure out how he could sleep on his own.
This caused a lot of concern for parents who thought this could lead to stress and behavioral problems in their child later in life.
Research shows that this is not the case. Children who underwent this type of sleep training do not appear to have high stress levels as shown by the cortisol levels in their saliva. One advantage of this method is that it doesn’t take too long before the child learns to sleep unassisted. Once his sleeping habit is firmly established, you can kiss your sleepless nights goodbye.
A milder version of ‘gradual extinction’ works well with most parents because kids learn to sleep it out in a more subtle way. Parents initially sleep with their baby after which they would leave the room and get back only when they wake up. As you build his trust, you can slowly increase the time between crying it out and going to their aid. In time, he will learn that he can sleep without your help and that you’re just around when he needs you.
This sleep training technique is made specifically for children who don’t respond well with crying it out particularly those who tend to vomit or those who had unpleasant experiences being alone. However, this may take some time and a lot of patience compared to the gradual extinction. This method works by associating bedtime routines with his natural sleeping hours.
It could take late at night or past midnight before your baby feels a little bit drowsy or just about to conk out. You can do some lullabies or gently caress your baby to sleep. After some time, his body becomes conditioned to feel drowsy whenever you have those soothing routines. Slowly move back his sleeping time until you get the desired sleeping time for your baby. It’s still as effective as graduated extinction but is a more lenient and ‘gentler’ alternative to crying it out.