Are you checking out baby sleep training methods because your 2-month-old bundle of not-so-much-joy (at the moment) is depriving you of much needed sleep? Unfortunately, based on what medical experts say, you have to put off baby sleep training for a couple of months or more.
The experts? main reason is newborns are still dependent on the wake-feed pattern and need consistent nutrients from milk in order to grow. Day and night babies require regular and frequent (every two hours or so) feedings until they turn 4-6 months old.
What can you do then? You should start finding ways to introduce a regular bedtime routine, find activities which can help him make the connections between sleeping and night. For instance, at around the same time at night give your baby a warm soothing bath, then read him a book or talk to him a bit and then feed him before he sleeps. You can also try to put him to sleep for his naps and wake him in the morning at around the same time daily. This allows him to fall into a rhythm early on.
It is at around their fourth month when babies establish a routine in their daily activities – and have more or less established a regular sleep pattern. Night time feedings lessen in frequency and sometimes baby sleep will stretch all throughout the whole night. By this time, he is ready for baby sleep training.
??Cry It Out? ? The Often Misunderstood Baby Sleep Training Method
Many of those who shun away from this method do so because of their mistaken belief that this approach is all about parents doing nothing but letting their babies cry themselves to sleep. This is not exactly what “Cry It Out” (CIO) is.
The mantra of CIO is ?It?s okay to let him cry for a few minutes.? This baby sleep training method involves putting your baby to bed while he is still up, then allowing your baby to cry for short periods of time and then soothing the child – without picking him up, to assure him that you?re there. Preferably, the soother isn?t breastfeeding so that the infant doesn?t smell milk and ask to be nursed instead of going to sleep.
How is CIO done? While your baby is still up, place him in his cot, pat him gently; and with a soft, calm and loving voice say ?I love you/sleep well baby? and walk away from your baby?s room ? even if he is still awake. If he cries (he most likely will), leave him crying for 3 minutes then pat him quickly say ?I love you/sleep well baby? and walk away. Leave him for 5 minutes on your next visit. On the subsequent times, leave him for 10 minutes, until he dozes off. Lengthen the minutes he spends on his own by a few more on the second night, and again on the third, and so on.
According to Dr. Richard Ferber, director of Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Children?s Hospital Boston, babies have to learn how to soothe themselves in order to sleep through the night. And the only way to do it is to leave him alone and let him cry for prescribed periods of time. He will inevitably learn how to soothe himself independently.
The crying should be for short periods of time only. Leaving a child to cry endlessly is not advisable and could be dangerous. For when a child cries, cortisol (a hormone that triggers a fight-or-flight reaction) floods the body to manage the stress. This causes physical and emotional strain on the child. Exposure to this reaction repeatedly can be harmful.
There are many other baby sleep training methods and techniques that parents can choose from. However, before trying out any of the sleeping programs available for their babies, parents must do two things. One, they must first ask for their pediatrician?s expert opinion especially if their babies have medical conditions that may affect sleep (e.g. colic). Two, they must try to eliminate all possible baby sleep disrupters such as hunger, full diapers, noisy and uncomfortable sleeping environment, and erratic sleeping and nap times.
Choosing the best baby sleep training method for you and your baby may not be an easy task. It may require you to undergo several trial and errors. Whether you have found or are still trying to find the best method, you and everyone involved in your baby sleep training program must keep in mind that programs are only effective if they are implemented regularly and consistently.