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Choose the Best Sleep Training Methods for Your Baby

What are sleep training methods? Are there miracle methods or extreme solutions? Is it a training program where you let your baby cry? We hear all sorts of things about sleep training methods. Every parent wants their baby to fall asleep peacefully on its own, without being breastfeed or soothed for the last time. But in many cases this is not possible. Scientists have different views on how to help a baby sleep. Some scientists argue that the baby should be breastfed every other night even after 6 months, while others believe that sleep training methods are more beneficial for the healthy development of the baby. Today we will look at the sleep training methods and how to choose the best sleep training method for you and your baby. We will try to decipher here some essential tips that you have to be careful when you choose best sleep training method for your baby.  

Sleep Training Is a Miracle Method

As far as we mention the term sleep training, actually we want to refer to autonomous sleep training. That is, teaching a baby to fall asleep (and fall back asleep) on his own and to sleep as much as he needs. There are many sleep training methods. And there are even many families who encourage independent sleep without following any particular method. Moreover, in most of these cases, these mentioned different approaches towards sleep training methods work. While there is no single miracle infant sleep training method, there are many things that can be done to encourage independent sleep in babies. But the miracle ingredients for successful sleep training methods are information and consistency. Information, because knowing the specifics of our baby’s sleep helps us make appropriate decisions and have realistic expectations. And consistency, which gives meaning to the way we act. With these two ingredients, success is generally achieved whatever the method.

Learning How to Sleep Is Training

We would like to address also about the terminology of the term “training”; which is often used by the currents close to proximal mothering. This pejorative term is used to affirm the opposition to methods that are judged to be hard on the child. The currents of proximal mothering tend rather towards a “child-led” education. Whether it is for sleep or for breastfeeding, it is the child’s request that is at the origin of the parents’ actions. In sleep training methods, learning to sleep is initiated by the parents.  In newborn sleep training methods, the parents are the ones who will voluntarily guide the child towards an autonomous sleep. To simplify, we could say that in the first case, the parents “answer” to the child while in the other case the parents “propose” to the child. For a long time you may just believe that simply listening to and following your child was the guarantee of being close to his needs. Today, experience will make you reconsider your position. It´s sure that you will still believe that listening to your children is essential. But you also will see and think that guiding your children (towards independent sleep, taking responsibility etc.) is an integral part of our role as parents.

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Learning To Sleep Is Sometimes Letting Your Child Cry

This is perhaps what is really blamed on sleep training methods: let your baby crying. Often, sleep training methods are interpreted as closing the door on a crying child at night and not returning to see him until morning. To be honest, some methods actually suggest doing this. And some other sleep training methods make this smoother than the others. However, no parents really want to buy into the fear-mongering about letting a child cry, even a baby. But the situation of loving parents who let their child cry to learn to fall asleep on their own is absolutely incomparable.

So, Is “Letting Them Cry It Out” Mandatory?

Yes and no.

No, because there are very gentle ways to accompany your child to an independent sleep. You really don´t need to close your child´s room door and let a child cry for hours. And yes, because… we don’t think there is such a thing as an absolutely cry-free method. In every sleep training methods you will witness in each sleep training methods every child cry somehow; this was due to their very easy going personalities and their love of sleep. Some babies cry more than others, with sleep training methods or not. And learning always requires leaving what is known to embark on something new. So all learning has its share of difficulty and resistance. It is therefore illusory to believe that all children will be able to achieve independent sleep without crying. Nevertheless, the notion of ´crying’ should not be an obstacle or a reason to abandon the idea of such learning. If we are convinced of the long-term benefits of quality independent sleep, we can decide to go through this learning phase of sleep training methods for the sake of our children. Just as we do in many other areas.

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Sleep Training Methods Are Extreme Solutions

In fact, we find it a necessary solution for any parent who wants to continue sleeping (almost) as before. This necessity is even stronger in certain situations. For example in case of multiple births, when returning to work even before the end of the maternity leave sleep training methods may be crucial for parents and babies routine. Or in the case you have also more children in house and in family or you have dome additional health problem etc. Here we should emphasize the fact that a good sleep is not only a necessity for your baby but yourself as well.  Asking these parents to “follow their child” is guilt-inducing and unwelcome. And whatever the situation, making sleep training seem like a “second choice” is just as bad. Rather than being a last resort, teaching your child to sleep is a long-term process. Of course, there are key stages, such as the moment when baby finally sleeps through the night. But it is a path during which the parent remains attentive to his child, while knowing where he is going.

Somehow it will be better if we try to see learning to sleep as an educational act. The parent is fully in his role when he determines a goal and accompanies his child to reach it. Of course we should admit that we have no problem with the notion of learning sleep training methods. Nor with the constraints that accompany it. Maybe because it is the heart of this job. What do you think? In the end, it may be actually a natural solution. And furthermore we may understand that it may take very diverse procedures depending on the family. Let´s look at know some well-known types of sleep training methods:

Ferber Method

The Ferber sleep training methods are the best-known progressive sleep training technique. It is a sleep training method in which parents follow the same routine over and over again. It´s one of the sleep training methods for 6 month old or older. When it is time to put their baby to sleep, they do the same thing every night, first hugging and kissing them, then putting them to bed and leaving the child’s room. In the first few days, babies can be expected to cry a lot, in which case parents step back and calm their babies down. In the following days, as soon as the baby cries, they give the baby a little time before returning and finally let the baby calm down. Although the Ferber sleep training methods are very uncomfortable and traumatic for many, there is no scientific evidence of any side effects on babies. Also, you can check some breastfeeding methods that ease you and your baby.

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A Structured Method: Chrono-Dodo

What is the goal of the “Chrono-dodo” sleep training method? Main purpose is to let your baby falls asleep serenely, with a quality sleep and in an autonomous way. It´s sleep training methods with duration of 7 to 15 days. The early childhood professional provides not one but 3 methods depending on the age and needs of the child. These alternative sleep training methods are based on the parents coming and going once the child is put to bed. Once the child is in bed, the mother or father leaves the room and comes back several times to see him (for 10 seconds each time). For example, sleep training methods for 9 month old babies up to 14 months; we start by putting the child to bed, telling him that we will be back in 15 seconds. We then leave the room quickly, and return to see him for 10 seconds. This operation is repeated several times. Cuddle breaks of 2 minutes are “allowed” if the parent and child are emotional. As the days go by, the time of absence lengthens during the comings and goings (we leave for 15 seconds, then 45 seconds, then 1 minute…). And the child gets used to fall asleep in autonomy. Contrary to the controversial “5 10 15” or Ferber sleep training methods (progressive waiting methods), Aude Becquart’s chrono dodo`s method relies on “short” absence times and insists on always welcoming the child’s emotion and of course on reassuring him.