Sleep training

“Sleep training” refers to helping your baby learn to fall asleep and go back to sleep by themself. Nearly all healthy babies can begin to sleep train by the time they are three months in age.

There are various approaches to sleep training including “crying it out”, the Ferber method, and the “checking method”. Some parents worry that letting your baby cry when they wake up at night can be harmful, but extensive research has not found any negative effects. To the contrary, learning to “self-soothe” is a developmental skill and an early step in teaching them to be able to manage their emotions over time. It also generally results in better sleep for the parents.

Common questions

sleep training

At what age is it appropriate to start sleep training my baby?

Most healthy babies are ready to begin sleep training when they are around three months old but it can be effective for children as old as five years. Changing nap habits in children over two years old might just be more challenging. However, it's important to consider your baby's individual development and health. If you have any concerns, it's a good idea to discuss them with your pediatrician before starting sleep training.

How does sleep training benefit my baby's emotional development?

Sleep training teaches babies the skill of self-soothing, which is an early step in emotional regulation. This ability to manage their own emotions is a crucial developmental milestone and can benefit them in various aspects of their growth and daily interactions.

What if my child still wakes up at night after sleep training at bedtime?

If your child continues to wake up at night after sleep training, it's important to look at other factors that might be disrupting their sleep. These can include their overall schedule, hunger, and how consistently sleep training methods are applied throughout the night. Sometimes, adjusting these factors can help improve their sleep.

Will sleep training improve my own sleep quality as a parent?

Yes, sleep training often results in better sleep for both the baby and the parents. Once your baby learns to fall asleep independently and self-soothe during the night, it typically leads to more uninterrupted sleep for everyone in the household. This can be a significant benefit, as improved sleep quality is crucial for the health and well-being of both the baby and the parents.

Will sleep training affect my bond with my child?

Sleep training, when done in a loving and mindful way, does not harm the bond between you and your child. It's important to maintain a nurturing pre-bedtime routine, including cuddles and feeding. Some fussing or crying might occur during sleep training, but this is normal when changing established routines. There are ways to minimize tears and make the process comfortable for both you and your child.

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