Sleep Training - what are the Pros and Cons? And should I be doing it?
As a mother of a newborn, I understand the importance of quality sleep both for my baby and myself. Sleep training is a process that parents can follow to help their babies learn how to fall asleep and stay asleep independently. There are several popular sleep training methods, each with its own unique benefits and drawbacks. In this article, I will discuss the most common sleep training methods and their pros and cons.
1. Ferber method
The Ferber method of sleep training was first introduced by Dr. Richard Ferber, a pediatrician, and is also known as the "cry it out" method. This method involves letting your baby cry for short periods of time before sleep to teach them to soothe themselves. The periods of crying progressively increase each night until the baby is sleeping through the night without crying. It is important to note that parents check on their babies at set intervals to ensure that they are safe and dry.
- This method is one of the quickest ways to improve sleep.
- Children learn to self-soothe, which can help them fall back to sleep when they wake up in the night.
- Parents get to sleep through the night as well.
- Letting your baby cry can be tough emotionally for parents.
- Some babies may not respond well to this method, and it may take longer to see results.
- There could be other underlying issues causing the baby to cry, and those should be addressed.
2. The Pick-Up Put method
The Pick Up Put Down method is less strict than the Ferber method. Parents pick up their babies when they cry and put them in their crib when they stop crying, even if they're not asleep. This method repeats until the baby falls asleep.
- This method requires time and attention but can provide a positive bonding experience for parent and child.
- Infants that are particularly sensitive or anxious generally benefit from this method more.
- This method can be slow and requires a lot of time and attention from the parents.
- If infants continue to scream or cry while being put down, the parents may start to feel frustrated.
3. The Sleep Lady Shuffle Method
The Sleep Lady Shuffle Method was created by Kim West, a sleep consultant. It involves parents establishing a bedtime routine, allowing the baby to cry during specific set intervals, and then going in after 5 minutes of crying to soothe them without picking the baby up. Parents then exit the room, and the baby is allowed to cry for up to 10 minutes before repeating the same process.
- This method can be more gentle than the Ferber method.
- The sleep routine element sets expectations that can comfort children.
- Results can take longer to manifest than with other methods.
- Parents may still have to deal with crying and fussiness during the treatment.
4. The No Cry Sleep Solution
The No Cry Sleep Solution, created by Elizabeth Pantley, is a gentle way to help your baby learn to sleep. It involves creating a sleep-friendly environment with a consistent bedtime routine, establishing patterns of wakefulness, a calming pre-sleep ritual, and creating a sleep log. Parents take a more active approach to their baby's sleep patterns, helping their babies establish good sleeping habits.
- This method is gentle and can work with many different parenting approaches.
- It focuses on creating a consistent sleep environment that promotes high-quality sleep for infants, who need ample rest to develop.
- It may take several weeks to see notable changes in sleep patterns.
- Parents have to be proactive and dedicated to the process.
As parents, we all want the best for our little ones, including healthy and restful sleep. Sleep training methods are designed to help babies learn how to fall asleep and stay asleep independently. There are various sleep training methods available, and each has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Choosing the right method for you and your baby requires considering their unique needs, your parenting style, and your personal preferences. Remember always to prioritise your baby's well-being and comfort, and the results will follow naturally.
- Gradisar, M., Jackson, K., Spurrier, N. J., Gibson, J., Whitham, J. N., Williams, A. S., & Grawey, J. (2016). Behavioral Interventions for Infant Sleep Problems: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pediatrics, 137(6), e20151486. doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-1486
- Mindell, J. A., Lee, C., & Goh, D. Y. (2015). Sleep and Parenting: A Meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 135(1), e77-e85. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-2440
- Spiegal, E. K., & Matthey, S. (2018). Sleep interventions in infants and young children: A review of the evidence. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 32(6), e19-e28. doi: 10.1016/j.pedhc.2018.07.003.