For every human, babies included, sleep poses so many benefits and without it, one could miss out on a variety of health benefits. Still, notwithstanding how much you- as a parent- value sleep, sleep and parenting seem to mix like oil and water. Somehow, the baby manages to sleep a ton while mom and dad fight to catch a nap.
Sleep training deals with practices employed by parents, targeted at adjusting their child’s sleep behaviors. A lot of incorrect sleep training stereotypes exist: starting from eliminating all night time feeding to shutting the door against an eight-weeks old newborn for 12 hours; we’ve seen it all.
Amidst this whirlwind of information, it is easy to get lost… yeah. Read on to see what you really need to know about your baby’s sleep life.
You Know The Biggest Misnomer? Sleeping Through The Night
Everyone- adults and babies- are prone to have occasional wake-ups during the night. If that happens to adults, why then do people expect babies to sleep the entire night? Babies and adults usually wake-up 3-6 times every night.
However, if your baby is an independent sleeper, it means he/she would be able to go back to sleep without any help. Babies would do this only if they are able to fall asleep at nap time and bedtime 100% on their own.
Newborns Are Usually Not Responsive To Sleep Training
Although sleep training is a very important practice, newborns are mostly unresponsive to sleep training. In most cases, it is not advisable to sleep train a baby younger than 16 weeks of age.
The reason we avoid sleep training babies younger than 4 months of age is that these newborns are cognitively unable to fall asleep without assistance. Even in cases where newborns are able to fall asleep unassisted, they are not cognitively able to maintain regular sleep and nap periods.
Sleep Training Doesn’t Imply ‘Crying It Out’ All Night
A general misconception about sleep training is the crying it out or the ‘CIO’ method. Most of the times, the baby is frustrated that he/she is not getting any help to sleep. In as much as we encourage parents to allow the babies take control of their body by not providing sleep assistances, visits and comforts are always welcome.
Develop Predictable Routines For Your Baby
The human body needs to be programmed. An important aspect of sleep training your child is through exposure to light during the day and darkness at night. This way, you develop a good circadian rhythm for your baby. In addition, following a consistent bedtime routine aids the baby in falling asleep without assistance.
Good Routines Are Not Harsh Rules
Parents want professional touch on their babies- that’s why they get baby sleep consultants. The role of the baby sleep consultant is to train the baby so he/she can fall asleep with little to no assistance.
Still, different consultants come with different rules; some of which parents consider harsh. Personally, I always discuss my rules and methods with the parents- so they could go into this with eyes wide open.
If the techniques and advice make the parents feel uncomfortable, the consultant should be prepared to make changes so as to suit the family.
Sleep training requires consistency and dedication; however, the benefits of a baby who would fall asleep without assistance at regular sleep and nap times, as well as fall back when awoken is innumerable. With this, the phrase ‘sleep like a baby’ takes a whole new definition. Zzzzz…