Many parents wonder if sleep training, and teaching babies to fall asleep on their own can help. We all know how frustrating it can be to listen to a wailing baby cry for hours on end, so parents who are considering sleep training their baby, first consider the pros and cons. Babies, unlike adults, have no internal mechanism to fall asleep. They cannot tell the difference between peaceful sleep and waking up tired.
Sleep Training Is Easy
While babies do not have an internal clock, they learn when they have had enough of sleep and need to get some more. It is important to sleep train your baby before he or she begins to nighttime teething, as this will prevent the need to cry for long periods of time. The process usually takes about three weeks, but sometimes can take even longer. If your baby has already begun to fall asleep on their own, you may want to continue the sleep training for one or two nights and then stop.
One of the pros to sleep training is that it is easy. In addition to using baby’s diaper for comfort, using your bed and singing a soothing lullaby can help your baby to fall asleep without discomfort. Your baby is most likely not going to fall asleep sitting up in your bed, so it is imperative that you are still nearby. Another advantage is that your baby will learn to fall asleep without you. This makes him or her less likely to develop an attitude of “I’m too tired, I need to sleep!”
Start At Months Of Age
Sleep training is most effective when started at about four months of age, but there have been some studies done that indicate that even infants can be sleep trained. The process usually begins with getting your baby comfortable being seated in the same position as you are. Once this position has been established, it is easy to teach your baby to sleep and to wake up on their own. You don’t have to fuss with blankets or other special “bed” accessories. Once your baby learns to fall asleep on their own, you can simply remove them from their sleep training bed and they will nap and sleep like any other baby.
There are quite a few books out there that can help you start sleeping training your baby, both online and at your local library. Some books outline the basics and procedures in more detail, while others allow you to go at your own pace. When beginning, it is probably best to stick with books that outline the basics first. As your baby gets more comfortable with the idea of sleep training, you can combine books with sleep training tips and methods. A book on a basic sleep cycle might help a parent transition to using an audio recording of their own to help soothe the baby.
One Important Aspect To Remember
never rock your baby to sleep or encourage rocking while your baby is sleeping. This will only cause the baby to associate rocking with naptime, which is the longest part of their day. It is also not a good idea to sleep with a bottle of milk or other food near your baby because this will encourage daytime napping. Remember, one of the main reasons a baby will wake up is due to the fact that they are not getting a good night’s sleep.
When your baby does not fall asleep on his own during the night, you can still use sleep training techniques. Simply pick a few of them and continue to use them during your child’s naptime. This is often enough to get your baby to understand that a nap does not mean the end of the world, even if it means a bit more sleep. With some help and practice, you will be able to get your baby into the mindset of saying “I need a nap” at the right time.