During the early days of life with a new-born you’re so focused on baby’s health and wellbeing that sleepless nights seem like a small price to pay. So by month three, you’re exhausted, pretending to be asleep and hoping that your partner is up for the paramedril!
Elana Afrika-Bredekamp interviewed qualified sleep consultants and moms Lindi Koekemoer and Zanda Greeff in her Baby Brunch Podcast to learn more.
According to these experts, sleeping is a skill that restless baby’s need to learn. It’s all about implementing loving boundaries. And, of course, consistency and predictability is key. It’s important to have a routine; at certain time, certain things happen. Baby should know that when mom changes my nappy and she’s read my bedtime story, it’s time for a nap. It’s also important to make the environment as sleep inducing as possible. White noise, a dark room, enough fresh air, and comfortable clothing will certainly set your baby up for a good night’s sleep.
So, what are the sleep training options? A review of 52 sleep studies using various baby sleeping methods, published in the journal, Sleep, found almost all the techniques effective, if applied consistently. Here’s the thing, each baby is unique and there’s no single “best approach” for teaching your baby to sleep well. Choose a sleep training method you can live with and follow through on, and chances are, it’ll work for you.
The key differences among the methods are in whether letting baby cry and encouraging self-soothing, or being hands- on and helping her with settling.
Since consistency is even more important than what method you choose, it is vital to choose a method which won’t leave you feeling conflicted. For parents strongly opposed to letting their child cry or cry alone, co-sleeping or the hands-on, gradual approach will be more manageable. This process is a slow one. Because the sleep training is gradual, it means that you will not be getting that full night’s sleep anytime soon that you so desperately need.
Be respectful of your child’s temperament when choosing a method. You may want to use a hands-on approach and stay with your baby until she falls asleep, but instead you find that she is so overstimulated by your presence that to check- in and console, will be a better option. Don’t throw the towel in too quickly, but if you see no improvement after 4 nights in a row, it may be time to select another method.
If you are seriously sleep deprived, choosing the hands-on method that could take weeks to show results, might not be an option. When choosing the cry-it-out method, parents are encouraged to follow a consistent bedtime routine and then put their baby to bed awake, leaving her to fuss or cry for sometimes long periods, broken up by check-ins. This might not be for everyone though. Hang in there mom and dad, this is just a chapter in the amazing book of parenthood!
Don’t forget to take care of you, so you can take care of them.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.