As the name implies, sleep training is all about teaching babies how to sleep comfortably through the night (at least several hours depending on the baby’s age) on their own. And even if they wake up, they can learn how to self-soothe and fall back to sleep on their own. That’s the basic idea behind sleep training and has become very popular among sleep experts and pediatricians. For more information about your child, please visit our blog section.
Once a baby has been ‘trained’, they can easily sleep for at least 8 to 12 hours during the night, which also makes it easy for the parents to get some sleep for themselves! On top of that, getting restful sleep also improves the mood of the child during the day, as well as brain development during the night. However, the basic idea is still to allow the baby to sleep on his/her own through the night so that the parents can also get a full-night sleep.
With that being said, there are a lot of myths and paradoxically concerns regarding the effectiveness and even the safety of sleep training in babies. Today, we will look at whether sleep training is effective or not, along with a list of popular sleep training methods!
Is Sleep Training Effective for Babies?
Yes, sleep training is effective and safe for babies. In fact, it has been proven in multiple studies that there are no harmful effects of sleep training on the baby!
A study performed by the American Academy of Pediatrics was conducted on 326 children for a period of the first 5 years of life to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of sleep training. According to the authors of the study, children who were sleep trained during infancy were able to sleep better as they grew up. On the other hand, children who were not sleep trained had sleep problems during the first few years and their parents —primarily mothers— were more likely to be depressed.
The study also revealed that there were no behavioral or emotional problems in the children who received sleep training, as compared to those who didn’t! On top of that, the children who received sleep training also had the normal level of cortisol (stress hormone), just like the children who didn’t receive sleep training.
Different Sleep Training Methods
Over the years, several methods of sleep training have been developed by parents, sleep experts, and pediatricians. At Haymarket Children’s Academy we understand the importance and repercussions that a proper sleep schedule has in your child and in consequence in your family as a whole. That is why we’ve developed a curriculum that will positively impact every aspect of your child’s life as they grow, even for sleep training purposes. Now, let’s take a look at some of the popular methods of sleep training:
The first method on our list is the “Ferber method,” which was developed in 1985 by Richard Ferber. Today, it is among the popular methods taught by sleep experts and pediatricians.
Here’s how the Ferber method works:
- Parents follow the usual bedtime ritual, such as cuddling and kissing the baby goodnight.
- Once the bedtime ritual is over, parents leave the room and completely shut the door.
- Whenever the baby cries during the first few nights, the parents can return to the room and calm them down. Once the baby is calm, the parents leave the room again.
- Over time, the amount of time a baby can cry before entering the room increases until the baby learns how to self-soothe and go back to sleep.
The second sleep training method on our list is the “Fading method,” which is also nicknamed as “camping out” method. This method was developed by Wayne Fisher and Cathleen Piazza (famous pediatrics professors.)
Here’s how the Fading method works:
- Parents complete the usual bedtime routine of a child and then put them in bed. Make sure that the child is drowsy when they are being put in bed.
- Then the parents will stay by the child’s side until they fall asleep completely.
- After each night, parents will gradually increase the distance between them and the child while still staying in visible sight.
- For example, this method can be started by sitting next to the crib and then gradually moving away, such as the dresser and then the door.
One of the main benefits of this method is that it provides a minimal level of comfort to the child. And when the child makes a fuss or starts to cry, they will be able to see the parents. On top of that, parents can also produce reassuring and soft sounds to let the baby know that they are present. However, the physical distance must be maintained for the Fading method to work properly.
On average, the Fading method can take up to two weeks to show its full effects, but it does provide peace of mind to the parents that they feel that otherwise, they would be abandoning the child.
Cry it out (CIO) Method
Another popular sleep training method is the “cry it out,” or CIO in short. Among all the other methods, that’s the one which is the most straightforward, but some parents view it as “too cruel.” This method was published in a book in 1894 by Emmett Holt (American pediatrician).
Here’s how the CIO method works:
- Parents complete the bedtime routine of the child, which may involve cuddling and kissing them goodnight.
- In the next step, the parents will leave the room.
- Once the baby starts to cry, the parents will not respond or enter the room.
- In the end, the baby will tire out from crying or learn to self-soothe and go back to sleep.
As you can see, this method involves little effort, but it can melt the heart of many parents just to listen to the crying of their baby. However, the CIO method can provide sleep training to a baby in the shortest amount of time (within 2-3 days).
Sleep Training – Dos and Don’ts
Still wondering what are some of the things that you should do or avoid when sleep training a baby? Then have a look at the dos and don’ts of sleep training!
Dos of Sleep Training
- Explore different sleep training methods & figure out the one that suits you and your child.
- Make sure that the sleeping space of your child is ideal and free from any disturbance.
- Always make sure that both parents are on board with the sleep training.
- Follow through with the selected sleep training method with commitment.
Don’ts of Sleep Training
- Avoid sleep training for newborn babies or too young babies (4 to 6 months).
- Do not expect that sleep training will be effective within 2 to 3 days (it can take time depending on the child and approach).
- Do not be inconsistent and must follow a particular sleep training method to the end.
- Don’t try all the sleep training methods at the same time.
Talk to an Expert at Haymarket Children’s Academy
If your baby is still not sleeping as you’d like him/her to, do not hesitate to contact HCA and a member of our team will make sure to answer every doubt or concern that you might have, and point you into the right direction with a proper plan of action. Call now: 571-261-2020.