Infant sleep training is a hotly debated subject. Sleep deprivation of both parents and baby is a big concern prompting moms and dads to examine the options and how to aid better baby sleep.
Techniques vary widely. Take a look at the options, how mothers milk can be involved and a popular training technique - the ferber method.
Infant sleep training can simply refer to encouraging a routine for your baby. Or, you may want to implement more stringent techniques that may involve "crying it out".
You need to decide what's best for you and your baby by first establishing what you would like to accomplish and what you are comfortable with in the way of infant sleep training.
Are you simply trying to establish a nap and bedtime routine or are you looking to train your baby to sleep through the night?
When my daughter was an infant she was glued to my breast - night and day. This was great for my milk supply - the supply and demand principal in action - I had an abundance!
However I was physically exhausted and when I'm tired I also become an emotional wreck. I needed to sleep. My baby also was exhausted.
She was what you might call a high-needs baby with a persistent personality. She really needed to sleep but was having trouble - she was exhausted beyond tears.
The saying is "sleep begets sleep". That means the better you sleep the easier you will sleep, and conversely, the less uninterrupted sleep you get the harder it is to get to sleep and sleep well.
The No Cry Sleep Solution
by Elizabeth Pantley talks about the problems of being overtired, having too much stimulation, and having sloppy sleep habits.
Gentler baby sleep training techniques are all about setting a routine of pre-bedtime activities to relax and prepare your baby for sleep. This might include bath time, infant massage, story time and breastfeeding or cuddling.
I've come to learn that babies love routine. Consistently carrying out these steps helps babies towards sleep readiness at bed time.Good reminders for overtired parents with brain fog - I wish I had known about this technique with my daughter! The Ferber Method
by Richard Ferber and tried it with daytime naps out of desperation - we both desperately needed sleep!It helped establish a routine nap time that made a huge difference in her.
The ferber method is a progressive waiting technique that allows baby to cry for counted minutes to encourage her to learn to fall asleep by herself. The first time period might start at three minutes where, after your have nursed or cuddled baby, you set her down awake to fall asleep on her own.
The idea is that if your baby is still crying after three minutes you go back into the room and, without picking her up, pat her back giving her comfort and then again leave the room. This time you would stay out of the room maybe six minutes. Each time after you go back in you would add minutes to stay out.
The goal of this infant sleep training technique is that baby will learn to self soothe and go to sleep by herself without crying. Does it work and is it recommended?
My daughter was a baby who's sleep was disturbed easily and even though she loved nursing to sleep she would wake up when I put her down and resisted sleeping. If we were in the family bed she wanted to be latched on all night but didn't get a good sleep.
Using this technique my baby woke up happy and became more content in general - she was finally starting to get some of the sleep she so desperately needed. Similarly, this technique worked very well going to sleep at bedtime.
What didn't work at all for us and I was extremely uncomfortable with was using the ferber method during night wakings. My baby did not respond well and was very angry - she wouldn't go back to sleep without nursing several times each night.
Knowing the value of mother's milk I conceded to nurse my baby each time she woke up and was thankful for the limited progress we had made in getting her more sleep.Cry It Out
Some parents strongly endorse varying cry it out methods as being the way to go. However, others disagree and say prolonged crying creates stress hormones that can be damaging to your baby.
Of course, it is reasonable that there will be times when your baby just isn't sleeping as well. Developmental changes might prompt more night time wakings to think about new things learned. The iritation of teething also wreaks havoc on many babies sleep patterns - two steps ahead and one step back.
If you have tried these suggestions without success consider there are some medical problems that can make it very difficult for a baby to sleep like gastroesophageal reflux and colic. If you suspect that one of these might be of concern check with your baby's doctor.
Undoubtedly, infant sleep training can be a big step that requires some time, patience and strategy. You might decide you are happy to still breastfeed at night - aahh the beauty of mother's milk! Or, you might decide the ferber method is the way to go.
Having given consideration to your family's needs and preferences you can start implementing sleep training suggestions so that sleep deprivation is a thing of the past - or at least you will have achieved a routine for better baby sleep - and a happier baby!