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  • Writer's pictureSonia Ozurumba, MD FAAP

Seven Sleep Training Methods

Updated: Jun 10

Are sleepless nights taking a toll on your well-being? Are you longing for a good night's sleep but struggling to get your little one to sleep through the night? Enter the world of sleep training methods, a realm where parents can discover techniques to help their babies develop healthy sleep habits. From the Ferber method to the Cry-it-out method, there are various approaches to explore. Let's dive into the world of sleep training methods and find the one that suits your family best.

Understanding Sleep Training Methods

The Ferber method, also known as controlled crying, “graduated extinction” or the check and console method. This method requires putting your baby down for bed even if they are crying.

Under this approach, you allow your infant to cry and then return to them at predetermined time intervals (for example, every 5, 10 or 15 minutes). These intervals gradually get longer, allowing your baby to do the work of soothing themselves. In this technique, it's permissible to gently pat your infant or speak to them, but it's advised against picking them up.

In the chair method, parents sit in a chair next to their child's crib as they fall asleep. Stay in the room until they fall asleep. Should they awaken, return to the chair. Every night, gradually increase the distance between the chair and the crib. Continue this process until the chair is removed from the room.

The fading method focuses on slowly reducing the amount of support your child receives as they fall asleep. This gradual withdrawal of assistance helps children learn to soothe themselves and develop self-soothing skills.

The cry-it-out (CIO) method to infant sleep training is highly debated due to its technique. This approach involves following your usual bedtime rituals, ensuring your baby is fed and secure, and leaving them to sleep alone until morning, regardless of their crying. This can be extremely challenging for parents, who often find themselves unable to resist the urge to enter the room and comfort their baby. However, there are those who report positive outcomes after only a few days of implementing this method.

The pick-up/put-down method is also categorized as a mild sleep training approach. To implement this technique, you place your baby in their bed, and if they begin to cry, allow the crying to occur for a brief period. Should they not appear to be calming down, you should then lift them up and comfort them, before returning them to bed (before they drift off to sleep in your arms). Continue this cycle until they are asleep.

This approach may require a significant amount of time to be fully effective and demands a great deal of commitment and patience.

Respectful sleep training is a soft approach to sleep training. This approach is chosen if you're not keen on establishing a rigid sleep schedule for training. Kind sleep training focuses on building a strong bond with your child, paying attention to their signals, and assisting them in returning to sleep. As a result, this technique is more time-consuming and usually demands a greater investment of time and dedication from the parents.

Customized sleep training involves tailoring a sleep training plan according to your child's unique temperament, needs, and your parenting style. This personalized approach ensures that the sleep training process is tailored to suit your family's specific circumstances.

Choosing the Right Method for Your Family

When it comes to selecting a sleep training method, it's essential to consider factors such as your child's temperament, age, and your parenting preferences. What works for one family may not be the best fit for another. Consulting with a pediatrician or sleep consultant can also provide valuable insights and guidance on selecting the most suitable method for your family.

Remember, every child is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to sleep training. It may take some trial and error to find the method that works best for your family. Be patient, stay consistent, and remember that establishing healthy sleep habits is a journey that requires time and dedication.

So, whether you opt for the gradual approach of the Fading method or the more hands-on approach of the Chair method, rest assured that there is a sleep training method out there that can help you and your little one get the restful sleep you both deserve.

Sweet dreams await – embrace the journey to better sleep with the right sleep training method for your family!

Schedule a visit here with us at The New Pediatrics to learn more.

sleep training methods

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