Before getting into how to sleep train your baby, you should first understand what is sleep training. So what exactly is sleep training? There is a misconception that sleep training is letting your baby “cry it out” without being comforted until they fall asleep. This is an old way of thinking as there is now a wide range of gentle practices for sleep training.
Sleep training is basically teaching your baby to fall asleep without any assistance from you and how to fall back asleep when they wake up overnight.
It is weird to think that sleeping is something that needs to be taught since we tend to fall asleep as soon as we are tired and in our bed. However, your baby doesn’t have this ability yet. Which is why they need sleep training – for you to assist them until they can fall asleep independently.
Sleep training can be different for every family/baby based on their background and needs. So here are some things that sleep training is NOT:
- Sleep training is NOT about letting your baby “Cry It Out” if you don’t want it to be
- Sleep training is NOT neglecting your baby
- Sleep training is NOT denying your baby food when they are hungry
- Sleep training is NOT about getting your baby on the schedule that is best for you
Before embarking on your sleep training journey for your baby, here are some things you should take note of:
Create a relaxing bedtime routine
Their bedtime routine should include relaxing activities such as singing them lullabies and reading them a bedtime story. You should also ensure that they have regular bedtimes and wake times.
Have a good environment for your baby’s room
The room should be cool and comfortable. It should also be quiet and dark, keep them away from blue light that comes from our phones or televisions. This is because blue light suppresses the production of melatonin, which is a hormone produced to make us sleepy.
Keep a feed and sleep log
A feed and sleep log not only helps you keep track of how much your baby is sleeping, but it will also assist you in picking up the patterns in your baby’s sleep schedule. It will also help you distinguish your child’s tears. If you notice any issues with your baby’s sleep pattern, for example, if your baby is getting moody at 3pm in the afternoon, it’s best to schedule in a short nap for them.
I cannot stress how important consistency is. You might feel like giving up, but with consistency and determination, your baby will be able to develop healthy sleeping habits and fall asleep independently. When your baby is sleeping well, you will also be able to sleep well. The satisfaction you get from seeing your baby wake up happy is indescribable.
What should I do to help my child sleep better?
After you have done all these, you can pick a sleep training method for your baby. Do keep in mind that every baby and family has different needs, so take in consideration of what your baby needs before trying out a self-settling method.
Some popular options include the Fading method, Pick-up/Put-down method and chair method.
If you are unsure which method suits your baby best and need more professional help, you can always reach out to a baby sleep consultant.