The Pain of Sleep Training
By Nanny Megan
For the last couple months, A has been having trouble sleeping through the night. He has been waking up once, maybe twice a night. The lack of sleep at night has an effect on his nap schedule, which in turn messes up our day.
As of lately, we have been giving sleep training a go, and have found that some methods work much better than others. For those of you who are unfamiliar with sleep training, there are four main methods: (http://www.thecradle.com/bringingbabyhome/sleeptrainingmethods). I will explain each and tell you which method works best for A.
1. The Sleepeasy Solution
a. This approach was developed with an efficient yet compassionate approach in mind. In short, you might hear some crying, but you’re going to discover how to phase your baby into learning how to sleep.
Pros: You’ll receive lots of handholding and reassurance. Their compassionate approach soothes babies - and parents too! This program gives you age-specific tips on frequency and length of naps
Cons: You’re going to hear some crying. This method isn’t cry-proof, so prepare yourself for some tears, even if they’re only temporary. This method advocates for frequent “check-ins” on your infant while she is crying, so for the first few nights that the baby is adjusting to things, expect fragmented sleep.
2. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
a. Considered the infant sleep bible by many parents, this information-packed book was written by the renowned pediatrician and childhood sleep expert Dr. Marc Weissbluth. Parents (and Nannies) will learn about the deep-rooted causes of their babies’ sleep problems and find research-based approaches on how to correct them.
Pros: You’ll learn how to start sleep-training your baby as soon as you bring her home from the hospital.
Cons: While the author doesn’t believe excessive crying is necessary to sleep train, it is part of the method. So, parents should be prepared for some tears as they implement new “sleep rules.”
3. The No-Cry Sleep Solution
a. Pantley’s approach avoids agonizing nights of crying in favor of more subtle ways of teaching your baby good sleep habits.
Pros: This gentle approach will appeal to parents who absolutely can’t stand the thought of hearing their baby cry. Pantley’s plan works for babies as well as toddlers - and those who are bottle and breastfed. She gives specific instructions for each unique situation.
Cons: Because this sleep training is gradual, it means you’re not going to get that full night’s sleep you’ve been dreaming about - at least for a little while. Instead of the baby doing the work (crying it out), you’re going to be doing the work. Expect to put in the middle-of-the-night hours you need to make this solution a success for your baby.
4. The Ferber Method
a. At the heart of his system is the belief that infants should learn to self-soothe - a process that he suggests parents start between the ages of 4 and 6 months. In short, parents are encouraged to follow a consistent bedtime routine and then put their baby to bed awake, leaving him to fuss or cry for sometimes long periods of time, broken up by check-ins.
Pros: The Ferber Method has been praised by many for its efficient approach to sleep training. Most babies begin to respond, in some way, after the first night and many more fall in line a few days later.
Cons: Despite this streamlined approach to sleep training, some parents won’t be able to stomach the crying necessary for a successful outcome. Some children vomit as a result of prolonged crying. In the book, Dr. Ferber says this shouldn’t deter you from training your child.
These sleep methods work differently for each child, but a seemed to respond best to the “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” method. It was, what we felt, was the gentlest approach. We did try The Ferber Method, but the crying was a little hard to stomach, and after night 5, progress was not being made.
What I would love to know is if any of you had trouble with your young charges’ sleeping habits, and if so what did you guys to get through it? What methods have you tried? Is there a method you know of that’s not listed here?
Please visit Megan's Blog at: http://minglingwithmegan.blogspot.com/
at 8:52 AM