Newborn exhaustion is what most moms are familiar with. The days when sleep came in short, infrequent bursts, and never felt like enough for mom or baby! Babies require 14-17 hours of sleep in their first months, it often doesn’t feel like much when you’re constantly waking up. When it takes 3-6 months for newborns to start building a circadian rhythm, sleep feels like a long lost dream. However, around 4 months, there’s hope! A solution to this all too common problem is something called sleep training.
What is Sleep Training?
Sleep training is a style of parenting that teaches your baby to sleep for several hours a night. Not only is the goal for them to learn to sleep that long, but also to self-soothe if they do wake up in the middle of the night.
Sleep training can be a controversial topic in parenting, and it’s certainly not for every family. But for those that have been struggling to get their baby to sleep since day one or those struggling with sleep regression, sleep training offers help in the trying times. And if done at the right age and after consulting your healthcare provider, sleep training can be done safely and with minimal tears.
Why Try Sleep Training or Coaching?
Of course, the number one reason to try sleep training is for the overall health and happiness of your baby. Without enough sleep, not only is your baby tired, but they also tend to become fussy and frustrated. Sleep training gives your baby the resources and skills to independently get the amount of sleep they need.
Secondly, sleep training is good for mothers! When baby doesn’t sleep, the mother doesn’t either. Lack of sleep can lead to increased chances of postpartum depression and other mental health issues. Inability to perform their best physically is very common as well! Getting better sleep for both you and your newborn, you’re more able to enjoy a happy and healthy home!
How to Sleep Coach
While sleep training isn’t a one-size fits all method of parenting, there are a number of popular methods that you can use when starting the process. However, before you even begin sleep training, make sure you’ve built a bedtime routine with your little one. Have a set time to put them down each night, and try to build a set routine, whether that includes a bath, a bedtime story, or any other calming and consistent activity.
Experts don’t suggest beginning sleep training any earlier than 4 months, and ideally closer to 6 months. You’ll have wanted to research the methods and decide which one sound best to you.
There are So Many Sleep Training Methods
While there are a number of sleep training methods out there and available to try, at Boston Baby Nurse and Nanny we follow guidelines established by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Research has identified intermittent check-ins as the safest and most nurturing form of sleep coaching. Families need to choose the style of sleep coaching that resonates with them. Here are a few of the top methods out there:
The Ferber Method:
Created by Dr. Richard Ferber in 1985, this method can also be known as “crying it out”. With this method, you take the baby through their bedtime routine, and then once you’ve laid them down, leave the room and shut the door. Each night you gradually lengthen the time you wait before going in to console baby, without picking him up. This is to teach him to self-soothe. This is one of the most controversial methods because of how long a baby is left crying on his own.
BBN&N’s Controlled and Compassionate Sleep Coaching Method
Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny’s sleeping coaching recommendation suggests parents reassure their baby of their presence with intermittent check-ins during active crying. This allows baby to learn how to fall asleep on his own, while feeling safe and loved. You can learn each step of this method in our online class: Sleep Coaching 101. This method reaches success in the shortest length of time with the least amount of crying, never letting a baby cry for more than 15 minutes.
Remember, sleep training won’t be for every family – not everyone wants to sleep train, and it can also feel discouraging at times. As with any part of starting routines with your baby, you’ll need patience and grace for yourself throughout the process. Before long, you might find that you get that elusive 8 hours of sleep once again!
Next Steps With Sleep Training
Reach out to our certified sleep consultants or take our online Sleep Coaching class to learn our very own Controlled & Compassionate Sleep Coaching Method. We are here to support you every step of the way; give us a call at 781-444-4063.