One of the biggest challenges faced by new parents is helping your child develop good healthy sleep habits. Oftentimes, we fall into the habit of helping them fall asleep and end up being their sleep prop as they wake between their cycles and need you to assist them back to sleep. Sound familiar?
While some babies are naturally good sleepers, some will struggle and can’t stay asleep without your assisting. In sleep training your child, you will come across various methods that will help your child learn the art of self-settling.
Here are some of the methods we recommend that are effective.
Stay in the room: This method involves you staying in the room as your baby learns to master the skill of self-settling. You can set up a chair next to the cot, allowing you to touch and soothe your baby intermittently until they fall asleep. Gradually as days go by, you will put more distance between you and your baby until you are out of the bedroom. This gradual approach works well for older infants and toddlers and allows parents to comfort their babies while working toward a more independent sleep routine.
Leave & check: It involves parents leaving the room after doing the bedtime routine with baby. If baby cries, you can enter the room at various intervals to pat and reassure them without picking them up. The intervals (on average of 10 minutes) would help to allow your child to self soothe. When baby is still crying after the timed interval, you go in and check on them, give them a kiss and say the sleepy keywords again, before leaving the room again. This process is repeated until baby is asleep. This method is effective in allowing your child learn to self-settle without parental assistance yet still provides comfort knowing that they are close by.
Pick up & Put down: After doing your routine, lay baby down in the cot awake. If she cries, wait awhile. When the cries escalate, you can pick baby up and comfort her until she is calm before putting her back to the cot. You’ll have to repeat this process until your baby sleeps in the cot. This method works well for younger babies however it still requires time and patience.
Choosing the right method for you and your baby
Whatever method you choose for your child it should be something you as parents are comfortable with. Here are some tips to help you choose the right method for you family.
- Consider your child’s age and evaluate your family’s parenting style. Your parenting style can affect your choice of method. Discuss with your spouse what’s best for your family.
- Be emotionally prepared. Even with the most effective approaches, there will be some fussiness and crying from the baby. It is expected as there is a change to how your baby is being put to sleep and your baby would respond to that change.
- Try one method at a time. The most common mistake in sleep training is inconsistency. You’ll need to give time to your baby to understand the routine and the more consistent you are, the more effective it will be. Be patient and give yourself up to a week or two so as to allow your child to learn this skill of self settling. Only making small adjustments if there’s a need.
- Know that it may get worse before it gets better. Your baby might be overtired as you try the approaches and it will take a longer time for baby to settle to sleep without your help. This might mess up your day naps and look like it’s worse than before but persevere on and give yourself and your baby time to settle into a consistent routine.
With so many methods out there, it can get confusing and daunting navigating this sleep journey yourself. But there’s no need to! If you’ve tried one of these methods and it’s worked for you, hurray! But if you are still struggling and what you’ve tried hasn’t been working, don’t hesitate but reach out to the Sleep Supernanny Team. We’ve all been through this journey and want to help get you and your baby’s rest back!