“I love Dr Weissbluth’s philosophy that the most important thing to have is a well-rested family. And fortunately, thanks to Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, most days (and nights) we do!” – Cindy Crawford (Dr Marc Weissbluth, Healthy Sleep habits, Happy Child, published, USA, Ballantine, 2003) Like Cindy Crawford, we here at Daisykins agree with her statement and have compiled some advice and tips on how to achieve a good nights sleep for you and your baby.
Sleep training is a technique to help your child achieve a good nights sleep. It is difficult for some babies to become accustom to their new beds and find it challenging to get back to sleep once they have woken up. However, babies from birth up to the age of 3 months require feeding every few hours, therefore making the sleep training techniques at this stage inappropriate to practice.
Once your baby has reached their third month you can begin to incorporate a night time routine. For example, giving them a warm bath or reading them a story, allowing them to recognize that it is nearly time for bed. You could also use comforters, e.g. Teddies, dummy, bottles, as a visual aid to indicate that it is time to go to sleep.
After your baby reaches their fourth month or whenever you, as the parent/carer, feel like it is time whether it has been four months or six, you can then begin the actual sleep training. This is around the period when your baby could drop the option of night time feeding. They could then perhaps sleep throughout the night, stretching the sleep time from 8 to 12 hours.
A few of the sleep training options are the ‘no tears’ method and the ‘cry it out’ method. You can find a step by step guide for the ‘No tears’ approach in a book called, “The No-Cry Solution” written by Parent educator, Elizabeth Pantley. The ‘cry it out’ technique was first developed by Paediatrician, Richard Ferber, the method states that the parent/carer will have to pat and comfort their baby at a set time, however they should not pick up their child if they cry or feed them. Also it is crucial that the baby remains awake whilst you put them to bed, this is to effectively teach them how to fall asleep on their own.
Paediatrician, Harvey Karp, states that there are five S’s involved in making the child to fall asleep. Those are swinging, shushing, the stomach and side position (that helps in making your baby calm instead of sleeping), swaddling and sucking. You can find the full descriptions of these methods in his book, “The Happiest Baby on the Block”. We here at Daisykins find the swaddling technique especially effective.
A method promoted approximately two decades ago was the ‘controlled crying’ for children. The controlled crying process comes under the sleep training approach. It is recognized as a blend of the ‘no tears’ option and the ‘cry it out’ method. Fundamentally, the parent/carer would put a time limit on how long they are in the room or how many times they would go in to soothe the baby if it is crying. This method, as said by critics, is considered as less harsh than the ‘Cry it out’ method. Although this method has been proven useful it is recommended not to be used for babies under 6 months.
Although all of these methods have had research conducted on them and been approved by Paediatrician’s and some by ourselves here at Daisykins, we do suggest that you choose the method that suits you and your baby the most. It is important to remain patient and consistent at all times and eventually you will find what works for you. Here are some books and articles to help you perhaps choose your own method:
“Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems” By Richard Ferber
“The No-Cry Sleep Solution” By Elizabeth Pantley
“Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” By Dr Marc Weissbluth
“The Happiest Baby On The Block” By Harvey Karp M.D.