Lately, it seems we are reading everywhere about sleep training, but what is it? Do I need it?
First of all, sleep coaching or sleep train methods have been around us for a while now; with all the communication tools we have access to, it is easier for us to know about these methods.
The most known sleep training method is what we call “cry it out”; basically, you leave your baby to cry until he gets tired and gets the idea that no one is coming to get him and he falls asleep. After that, a few variations emerged, one of those being Ferber´s “gradual extinction”, where you leave your baby to cry but only for short periods.
The bottom line is that the objective of most of these methods is to teach your baby to sleep by himself. Give him time to practice this skill (because yes, it is a learned skill) so that he can finally do it by himself during naptime, bedtime, and if he wakes up in the middle of the night.
WHAT IS SLEEP TRAINING?
Sleep training is teaching your baby the skills to sleep by himself; we are not born knowing how to do it. One in four babies has trouble sleeping and staying asleep at night and is your job as his parent to teach him.
With a gentle solution for sleep training (Gentle Sleep Coaching), you teach your baby how to do it but using a very gentle and gradual approach. Your baby will struggle? yes, Will your baby cry? yes, but we will be working on a process where the least amount of crying is expected.
First, we identify your baby's sleep needs and make adjustments to his schedule to make sure he is getting the right amount of sleep and at the right time. Then, we identify negative sleep associations (things he needs to fall asleep: a bottle, nursing, patting, rocking). After knowing this and a little about the family dynamics and needs, we create a customized plan that works for the family.
Parents are responsible for implementing the plan and the sleep coach offers constant follow up to help the parents be consistent and make adjustments if necessary
DO I NEED TO SLEEP TRAIN MY BABY?
If you and your baby are happy and getting enough sleep, then no. Believe me, if you need to sleep train, you will know. If your baby is waking up several times during the night, having a hard time falling asleep, and if you need to be there every time he wakes up, then YES, you might need to sleep train him.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
There is no magic number, some babies adjust easily, it will depend on the changes made and the baby´s temperament. The training packages include follow up for three weeks, but before 15 days, most babies are already sleeping through the night.
Find a method that works for your family, one that you feel comfortable with and stick to it. Consistency will be the key to success.