Can Sleep Training Harm my Baby?

Babies have different sleep cycles in comparison to adults. Newborns can sleep up to 12-18 hours every day. But most of them usually give a hard time to their parents before sleeping. Some babies resist bassinets and cribs because they might want to play for hours. One has to give special attention to their babies in the first few months, especially while putting them to sleep.

Sleep training methods

In order to help parents while putting their babies to sleep, various sleep training methods can be used. Sleep training is a technique by which we teach our babies to sleep on their own by either crying out or by soothing them. We should give the best environment for the babies to help them sleep throughout the night.

There are many sleep training methods, but the most commonly used methods are “bedtime fading” and “Ferber method.” Now the question is – “Can sleep training harm my baby?”

Is sleep training harmful?

To answer the question in plain words – NO! Sleep training neither affects the behavior of your child nor their health until you are doing it right. The research explains that two methods are commonly practiced for different age groups. Whether sleep training harms your baby or not, it depends upon the type of method and the age of the baby.

Bedtime Fading

Bedtime fading is the calmest and most gentle way to put your baby to sleep. In this method, you should learn the natural sleeping time of your baby and then set it as his temporary bedtime. Try to put him to sleep 15 minutes earlier on the next day, and continue repeating this activity until his sleeping hours are synchronized with your bedtime. This method is extremely beneficial for the babies of all age groups.

Ferber Method

This method is also called the cry-it-out method. Because the baby falls asleep automatically after a few minutes of crying. One has to ignore all the protests and cries of one’s child after putting him in his crib. This method is useful for babies older than six months.

Now, let us find out whether sleep training is harmful to babies or not.

Sleep training newborns

Sleep training is helpful for both newborns and toddlers. But research shows that the Ferber method is not appropriate for newborn babies, or babies younger than six months.

The sleep-wake cycle of newborn babies is different from adults. They wake up every 2-3 hours to get food. So, you have to wake up every 2-3 hours at night to feed them. One can not ignore their cries as they need special care while sleeping. Waking up every 2-3 hours is frustrating for newborns; thus, sleep training help not only parents but also newborns.

Bedtime fading and other methods can be used for newborns. Remember that sleep training not only gives a peaceful sleep to your newborn but also improve his mental health and stress training.

Sleep training for toddlers

The most commonly used method for sleep training of toddlers is the cry-it-out method or Ferber method. Some people think that using this crying method will harm their bond, and their babies will start hating them. Well, various researches explain that sleep training does not have any adverse effect on the mother-child bond. In fact, it will help you in strengthening your relationship with your baby.

Does sleep Training always involve crying?

Parents usually hesitate to sleep training their babies because they think that sleep training always involves crying. Other sleep training methods can be used instead of leaving your baby to cry endlessly for hours in a bassinet or crib. These methods include scheduled awakenings and fading method.

Does crying out method work?

Unless you address the basic building blocks of quality sleep, crying out method can not help your baby to sleep. Sometimes babies refuse to sleep because either they are uncomfortable or they are not receiving proper nutrition. Most people who fail to get any useful result from this method is because they leave their child to cry for hours. They ignore their comfort level and other necessary factors that are essential for proper sleep training.

Is the Ferber method harmful to babies?

As explained above, the Ferber method will do more harm than good for newborn babies. Moreover, those children who have conditioned vomiting responses or who are afraid to be left alone should not be subjected to the Ferber method. If your child is afraid to be alone and respond to isolation by vomiting, then it is better to consult a psychiatrist for the most suitable method of sleep training. The Ferber method or graduated extinction method is also inappropriate for kids.

Can sleep training increase stress in my baby?

Studies show that those kids who are subjected to sleep training have a lower level of cortisol than those who were not subjected to it. Cortisol hormone is responsible for causing stress. It means that children that take sleep training are less frustrated and stressed than others.

Are there any long terms risks to sleep training?

There are no long-term risks in sleep training, no matter what method you use. You will notice short-term benefits and improvements in your child within a few days by using proper ways.
Can we use the Ferber method as a treatment for children experiencing sleeping problems?

No, those kids who are already frustrated and stressed shouldn’t be subjected to the Ferber method. The Ferber method is only used to help your baby sleep without your parental soothing. For instance, if your child is experiencing nighttime fears, sleepwalking, nightmares, or separation anxiety, then find the right method for your child. Otherwise, you will risk the mental and psychological health of your baby.

Takeaway

No matter what the age is, sleep training is beneficial for all babies. Make sure to consult your pediatrician before going for a specific sleep training method. Because some of the methods are limited to babies of different age groups. Give a comfortable environment to your baby for sleeping and act on the advice of your doctor.

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