Should you sleep train your baby?
Sleep training garners mixed reviews when you talk about it amongst parents. Some say YES, do it! And some say NO WAY! How do you feel about it all? Often it can depend on the type of sleep training you embark upon, and seeing as there are many different methods and theories out there, it can be a bit of a minefield trying to figure it all out. So here's a quick guide on it all, to help you decide whether or not you should sleep train your baby.
Why sleep ?
If you're thinking about sleep training, chances are that you are suffering from a touch of sleep deprivation. And when you're not getting enough sleep it can be pretty miserable to say the least. Sleep deprivation is awful and as parents we can't just decide to take a day off to catch up. We have to keep going! So sleep training is often a very attractive solution for many parents who just need to get a little more sleep in order to function. If this is you, then please don't feel bad. This is your life, your baby and your decision. Sleep training does not need to be an ordeal if you go with your instincts.
Cry it out vs no cry methods
So when we think about sleep training, inevitably we think of the cry it out method, made famous by sleep experts such as Dr Richard Ferber, who invented the 'Ferberisation method.' Cry it out basically means allowing baby to cry for a predetermined length of time order to encourage self soothing. Its a personal choice whether or not this is the method for you, and while there are many arguments both for and against, ultimately its up to you.
No cry sleep training methods are, quite simply, methods which do not require you to leave your baby to cry for any length of time. These methods are often known as gentle sleep training methods, and again it's up to you whether you feel they're more suitable for you and your family. Gentle sleep training methods are based around spending time showing your baby that you are there for them whenever they need you, thus encouraging confidence and independence for baby at bedtime.
If you google either sleep training method, you'll find plenty of arguments on both sides to keep you occupied for hours. So how to decide which is the way forward for you?
Only you know your baby
You are your baby's best advocate, and you know yourself whether or not you are able to leave her to cry. We are not here to judge, or to tell you that one way is better than another. It's important to read as much as you can about the methods and what is involved so that you can decide if it's right for you.
Likewise, its important to know whether or not your baby will respond well to more gentle methods of sleep training. Either way, you need to make the commitment.
Consistency is key
When you decide to sleep train, you need to know that what you do each and every sleep time is important. Consistency really is key. Once you start a program, you need to stick to it and you need to make sure your family are on your side too. Sleep training can be hard work and it might feel like you're getting nowhere, but rest assured some babies take longer than others to learn how to sleep well. Stick with it, and call on friends and family to support you too. That said...
Know when its not working
If you start on a sleep training program that really is not working for you, its important to recognise this and to take steps to change it. Some families decide they simply don't want to sleep train their baby, and instead they prefer to wait it out. Babies do sleep eventually, and if you're happy with the way things are right now then don't sweat it. Whatever you decide, it has to work for your family.
Need more advice?
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