Parents often have to hold their babies for them to sleep. While this seems adorable and loving, it gets tiresome when the baby keeps waking up at night. As a parent, you are left with no choice but to keep rushing to your child and trying to calm them down.
You are probably wondering if there’s a way to solve this. This is where sleep training comes in.
What is sleep training? The concept is about teaching your baby to fall asleep by himself/herself. It also includes your baby’s ability to fall back to sleep by themselves if they wake up at night.
Maybe you are asking yourself – Is it possible for a baby to control his sleep patterns? The answer is yes and we will show you just how.
Newborns of about one to three months normally have long and unpredictable sleep intervals. Their brains have not yet grown enough to control their sleep patterns. They, therefore, need a lot of attention.
While it may not be possible to teach newborns new techniques, older children can be effectively trained.
Research has shown that children of about five months old have a good understanding of their environment. They can understand when something new is taught to them. This is the age where sleep training should be introduced.
It has been proven that if training is not done at this stage, it becomes harder for the child to change his habits as he grows older.
By the age of six months old, your baby should be able to sleep by himself. If your baby can’t yet do this, try one of these procedures.
Effective Sleep training techniques
The Febre method
This was invented by a famous physician named Febre. Febre proved that babies associate certain activities to sleep.
This means that if you normally sing to your baby before he sleeps, he will automatically think that every time you sing it is sleep time.
You can use this to train your baby. When he is sleepy, take him to his crib. He will start to associate being in his crib to sleep.
Most babies start crying when you leave them alone. They know that when they cry, you usually pick them up. Leaving them alone is necessary so they learn to sleep by themselves.
Watching your baby cry from a distance is difficult but it is is worth it in the long run. Don’t rush to your baby when they start crying. Wait for some few minutes then check on them. Avoid leaving your baby for long periods of time as this can scare them. Start leaving them for five minutes and then gradually increase this time.
This pattern when repeated several times give your baby time to learn to sleep on their own. If they wake up at night, they can simply use this technique.
Set sleeping times. Make sure you set consistent time for sleeping. A seven pm schedule is advisable. Experts advise that sleeping later than this may make your baby too tired. This can lead to being unable to sleep for long durations. Discourage your baby from playing too much as this may over tire them. This may affect the baby’s sleep patterns negatively.
Take out time for daytime activities
If you want to make sure your baby sleeps for most of the night, tire him out during the day. Encourage him to play a lot during the day.
Change the feeding patterns
A newborn has a small stomach and has to be fed regularly. However, a five-month-old has a big enough stomach. He can eat enough food to last him the whole night. This ensures you don’t have to wake up at night to feed him.
Newborns require constant attention. This is why parents choose to sleep with them in the earlier months of their lives. But at about four months, it is time for them to have their own bed.
Choosing a good crib and a nice room for them is usually easy. The problem comes in when you try to get them to sleep away from you.
So how do you do this? Like any other procedure, you need to ease them in. Don’t try making the change too fast.
First of all, your baby needs to get used to his room. They need to feel safe in it. Allow him to spend time in this room during the day. Let him make this playing area.
Start letting him have his afternoon naps in this room. The idea is that when he finally has to move out of your bedroom, he will be in a familiar environment.
Make sure your baby is warm enough. They are used to being close to your arms before they sleep. When they were in your womb, it was warm enough for them. Therefore, for an easy transition make sure your baby is warm enough. Clad him in a heavy sweater or add in a blanket.
Newborns usually need about three to four naps. This gradually reduces to one-afternoon nap as the baby grows. Make sure he never misses this nap.
Research has shown that babies who do not sleep during the day are more likely to have trouble sleeping at night.
Babies sleep for about twenty hours when in their mother’s womb. They, therefore, need a lot of sleep. This is why they have to supplement their night sleep with a few day naps.
To effectively train your baby, remember to start early.
One procedure may work for you or you might need to try a few. Whatever the case, remember your baby is unique. If you notice that a certain process is affecting him badly, stop it and try another.
Even though sleep training may take a while, it will certainly pay off in the long run. Don’t give up if your baby takes longer to learn.
Persist and very soon, you and your baby will be having a full night’s sleep.