Myths and facts about baby sleep training methods
We're busting seven common myths about baby sleep training methods, and sharing facts you must know about helping your baby get a good night's sleep.
New parents are often confused about whether to let their babies cry to sleep (one method of sleep training) or to pacify them till they finally decide to hit the sack. While many parents are against baby sleep training methods, other are in favour of it, believing it works.
Take the case of *Anna, who sleep-trained her little one:
I sleep-trained my baby and it worked really well for my family. I refuse to feel guilty for the fact that I taught my baby how to self-soothe and fall asleep on her own.
I think people automatically associate the "cry-it-out" method with sleep training. But in fact, there are several methods that work better than leaving a baby to cry himself to sleep, like pick-up-and-put-down (PUPD), and ensuring a consistent bedtime each day. For me what worked was a combination of a few gentle methods. And no, I never let my little Bella cry herself to sleep for hours. Now, she's eight months old and sleeps, well, like a baby, though the night.
Regardless of Anna's experience, others disagree. And as a result, this debate has ensued for several years, and continues still. Because the fact is that the "one pill for all" concept does not apply here. Each baby is different and needs a separate sleep training method.
So let's take a look at some of the common myths about baby sleep training methods and understand how much sleep your child needs.
Myths and Facts About Baby Sleep Training Methods
Myth #1: If I let my child cry to sleep, he will hate me
A study conducted by researchers at the Flinders University in Australia found that letting your baby cry to sleep does not affect the child-parent bond.
It is natural to feel guilty if you allow your child to cry to sleep. And while it is a controversial method, it is one of the many effective ways to forming a sleep pattern.
Myth #2: I will have to give up holding and singing to my baby if I sleep train him
Sleep training your baby shouldn't mean you stop doing the activities you love. You can still incorporate all of this into your nighttime routine.
You can still sing lullabies to your little one and hold him close to your heart as he goes off to sleep. The only thing you need to remember is to not do all of this when the baby is making his transition into sleep.
Myth #3: I can't share my room with my baby if I'm sleep training
It is absolutely fine and normal to have your child sleep in the same room. It not only allows him to feel more secure and safe knowing his parents are around, but it also makes it easier to breastfeed.
But while you're at it, make sure that you give your baby a separate sleeping space. Let him get some shuteye in a bassinet or crib.
Myth #4: Sleep training is the selfish parents' go-to
Yes, sleep training does make it easy for the parent because their baby now has a set pattern and place where he can peacefully and you can get some shut eye too. But it benefits the baby too. If your child needs your attention to fall into sleep, it can be exhausting.
If your baby has to get up multiple times and cry himself to sleep, it's not a healthy exercise for him as well. They need to learn to self-soothe, so sleeping at night is not such a horrifying activity.
Myth #5: After I sleep train my child once, he won't have trouble sleeping
No human can possibly sleep through the entire night. We tend to wake up or turn over or go for the occasional bathroom breaks. Similarly, your baby will also get up and roll over and may cry, even after being sleep trained. It's a natural part of growing up.
But it's how they cope with it and learn to fall back to sleep is what counts. If they do it successfully, it means you've done a great job sleep training your baby.
Myth #6: I don't need to sleep train, my child will learn to sleep on his own
Yes, all humans eventually learn to adapt, but you can't expect that from a tiny tot. Yes, he will one day learn to self-soothe and fall back to sleep on his own.
But sometimes kids as old as five years need comforting and want their parents to help them get back to sleep. So don't expect them to magically learn how to sleep on their own and never need your attention.
Myth #7: I will have to use the "cry to sleep" method to sleep train
You shouldn't avoid sleep training just because you feel you may have to let your baby cry to sleep. It is just one of the baby sleep training methods that some parents still use. But it's not the only one.
You can even try the scheduled awakening method, where you wake your child up 15-20 minutes before he would normally wake up. You comfort him back to sleep and slowly fade this method as he begins to fall back to sleep on his own.
Remember that its easy to be sucked into a web of myths. But when you have a baby on your hands, it's best to be better informed and try different techniques so you know what's best for your little one.
Feature & lead image courtesy: Pixabay