What happens when you Sleep Train?
Numerous techniques exist for teaching babies to sleep; some are based on the extinction method (in which parents are not there) and others are based on the gradual extinction approach (in which parents are present in the room with their baby).
The most popular sleep training techniques that you can employ to help your infant fall asleep are listed below:
Parents leave their toddler or infant to fall asleep after finishing the bedtime routine.
No matter how long it takes or how agitated the child gets, the parents don’t attend to their cries when they are awake, even in the middle of the night. Instead, the child must go to sleep and stay asleep on their own.
This is one of the most popular extinction sleep training techniques. Regretfully, a lot of parents mistakenly believe that this is the only sleep training technique on offer to them, but it’s not. And we’re about to show you.
Similar to Cry It Out, the Ferber Method involves parents responding to their crying infant at predetermined intervals, increasing the amount of time each time until the infant falls asleep on their own.
Over the course of about 5-7 nights, these time intervals also get longer each night in an effort to help the infant learn to comfort themselves on their own with progressively less assistance.
This is similar to Ferber except that the parents are empowered to leave their child a little longer than a set interval of 5mins for example. This means they can respond accordingly to their child’s levels of upset.
Pick Up Put Down Method
This is an attempt at a ‘no-cry’ method as the parent will pick up their baby from the crib as soon as the baby’s crying. Once the baby is settled, they will put them back into the crib. If they cry again, the baby should be picked up and soothed again.
This is then repeated until the baby falls asleep on their own and is able to stay asleep.
The Fading Technique
Using a gentle approach to sleep training, parents use calming methods to assist their child in falling asleep.
These include holding, feeding, rocking, stroking, or singing. The idea is that the kid will eventually become less dependent on the carer and more self-sufficient when it comes to sleeping, at which point you can begin “fading out” those calming methods.
One of the progressive extinction sleep training techniques is this one. Additionally, a lot of parents try to avoid sleep training by using this method.
Sleep Training Chair Method
In order to train a child to fall asleep, the parent or carer will sit on a chair next to the child’s bed or cot until the little one does.
Other than the knowledge that their loved one is near, no comfort is typically offered with this method.
This is another of the graduated extinction sleep training methods.
Rouse To Sleep Method
This method was initially designed to combat night terrors.
As night terrors often occur at the same time each night, disrupting a child’s sleep pattern is a really powerful technique to break the regular pattern which is causing the terror.
However, it is also a method which can be used to break early wakings or extending cat naps, especially if they are based on habitual wakings around the same time each morning.
In this method, the baby should be gently roused about 30-60mins before they normally wake or suffer from a night terror, with the plan that they are nudged into a new sleep cycle at a different time from what they’ve currently been doing, i.e. resetting the sleep pattern.
For early wakings, we wouldn’t advise this approach if a baby is waking at different times, and we wouldn’t necessarily recommend this method immediately when trying to resolve early wakings. Instead, we would focus on the other possibly drivers first.
RAPID RETURN METHOD
The Rapid Return Method is the one you should think about utilising with children who are in beds and have the ability to escape. If you’d rather employ an extinction sleep training approach in your practice, you can use this method alone. Alternatively, you can use it in combination with another room-based method, such the Sleep Training Chair approach.
Every time your child gets out of bed, you should quickly return them to bed. To lessen the child’s stimulation at this time, it is advised that communication and interaction be limited. Your child must be put back in their bed, regardless of how many times they get out, as that is where they should sleep. Toddlers will stop getting out of bed when they comprehend and that this is the boundary around sleep. The important thing is to let the child know that this is where they will sleep moving forward and to create some boundaries for them.
For children who are already in beds and have the ability to escape, it can occasionally be crucial to install a stair gate on the entrance to establish some physical boundaries. This is especially helpful for kids who take undue pleasure in getting out of bed and getting back into bed as a game!
Comforting Through Change™ Sleep training method
This is our world-leading gentle sleep training method which has helped over 5,000 families globally to resolve their sleep issues. It’s a staged-approach which means it will support sleep change for multiple types of situations, including co-sleeping, and multiple types of personalities and temperaments. You can learn more about this method here.
PROS & CONS OF EACH SLEEP TRAINING METHOD
There are advantages and disadvantages to each method, and a family’s decision over which to use to sleep train their child is generally based on these considerations.
CRY IT OUT METHOD
- Can observe noticeable changes in your child’s sleeping and settling in a few of days
- Can swiftly result in quick self-soothing.
- It is unpleasant to hear your baby cry from a different room.
- It’s not gentle since you let your upset infant settle everything by themselves.
- Although there isn’t enough data to fully support the belief that it harms your child, parents may experience a range of feelings, including guilt.
- Older infants and toddlers who are considerably more “wise” to what is going on have less success with it. Additionally, they are more likely to injure themselves while sobbing.
- They might simply grow accustomed to crying before every nap and bedtime.
- Can observe noticeable changes in your child’s sleeping and settling in a few of days.
- Some babies react better when their parents are not in the room and are less disturbed when they are hovering over their cot.
- Can start teaching your infant independence at a young age.
- Not as drastic as the Crying It Out technique
- Some babies cry for a very long time, and it can be difficult to hear your child cry from a different room. The periods of crying get significantly longer very soon.
- Since you are leaving your infant alone for the most of the time, it is not a particularly gentle method and can be very emotional for parents.
- Older babies and toddlers who are considerably more aware of what is going on have less success with it. Additionally, they are more likely to make themselves sick while crying.
THE PICKUP PUT DOWN METHOD
- Since the baby is picked up as soon as they cry, there is very little crying involved.
- Both parents and babies may find the method confusing.
- It can be tiresome for both parents and children and take a long time to implement.
- There is less motivation for babies to attempt self-soothing when they understand that they will be picked up if they cry.
- More challenging to use with larger and heavier toddlers!
THE FADING Technique
- Extremely gentle method in which you constantly comfort your infant.
- Usually, there isn’t much of a shift from a parent’s current routine.
- Cry less than with previous approaches.
- Greater adaptability and flexibility.
- It can take a long time to implement, and patience is needed.
- Less structure and no predetermined methods of an exit strategy.
- Frequently, a parent is simply changing one association with sleep to another, such as going from the infant needing to be breastfed to sleeping through rocking.
- It’s possible that the child won’t grow up to be as independent around sleep.
- Can be challenging to put into practice if you have additional kids to take care of.
SLEEP TRAINING CHAIR METHOD
- You never leave your child until they are ready for being left to fall asleep independently.
- If your infant is crying and you are concerned about them, you may intervene much more quickly if you use the chair approach.
- A more methodical approach with well-defined guidelines.
- Not as kind as others because the little one receives no comfort in the strictest sense of this method.
- May require more time than the Ferber Method or Cry It Out.
- When an infant is angry or frustrated, they may get agitated since their parent is around but not offering them any support.
- Can be challenging to put into practice if you have additional kids to take care of.
ROUSE TO SLEEP METHOD
- Excellent for re-establishing a child’s sleep schedule in the event of night terrors or regular early wakings
- Especially in the morning when sleep is lighter, it may be simple to fully wake the youngster, leading to an earlier start to the day.
- Sometimes take a week or longer to work, and unless you stop it one night or morning, you won’t know if it’s effective.
Rapid return method
- It works well for establishing limits with toddlers regarding bedtime.
- The child should stop getting out of bed on a regular basis once they realise there is no benefit to doing so.
- Some parents wake up in the morning to discover their toddler in bed next to them, never having even heard their kids wake up during the night. It can occasionally be useful to place a clothes hanger or similar object on the parents’ bedroom door to notify them when their child enters the space.
- It can be really frustrating to do because it is so repetitious.
- Parents find it easy to give up due to the ongoing struggle.
What Is Sleep Training?
To put it briefly, sleep training teaches your child to fall asleep on their own, unaided by sleep associations like feeding or rocking. Also referred to as self-soothing or self-settling, this entails your child going into their sleep space awake, and then falling asleep without help.
It’s never easy to hear your little one be upset n the first night of sleep training because you’re disrupting their sleep pattern. However, if you stick to the healthy sleeping practices, your baby’s sleep can and will improve.
In the event that a child falls asleep without the aid of a sleep aid, there is a greater likelihood that they will eventually return to sleep due to the numerous wakes and stirs they will experience throughout the night. Night wakings are common, occurring after each sleep cycle, which lasts for 45 minutes for children.
All parents want their baby to sleep through the night, and this is more likely to happen if an infant is able to self-soothe. That is what sleep training aims to achieve.
THE KEY WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR CHILD’S SLEEP
The most wonderful thing in the world is becoming a parent—those cuddles, those loving and humorous moments, the “firsts” of everything, like crawling or walking, or hearing someone call you Mama or Dada.
But let’s face it—parenting may occasionally be the hardest thing.
Our kids’ never-ending concern: do they eat enough?
Do they progress swiftly enough? Do they get enough sleep?
Do I have the energy to play with them as well?
In addition to the previous point, if members of the family are experiencing sleep deprivation, parenting becomes even more difficult.
So, what is the best way to improve your child’s sleep?
There are various strategies to help babies sleep better, which is likely why it’s so hard for parents to figure out what works and what doesn’t: too much information, too many possible causes, and the decision of which approach to pursue.
With our Comforting Through Change™ technique, which is a gentle and very successful way to modify your baby or toddler’s sleep in around 10-12 days, you may access our routines and method through our online sleep plan.
In the training, we also examine:
- Daytime Routine: are they sleeping enough in the day? Is the gap between naps too short or too long (aka “wake windows”)? Are they sleeping too close to bedtime? Click here to get access to our free sleep routines for the different age groups.
- Bedtime Routine: is the bedtime routine right? Is it consistent enough? Is the baby feeding enough before bed? Is the toddler winding down sufficiently during the bedtime routine?
- Sleep Environment: is the setup of the room optimal? Is the room blackout enough? Is there a need for white noise, or is this actually the barrier to sleep? An optimal sleep environment is absolutely critical to baby sleep.
- Nutrition: whilst we are not nutrition experts, we do have an understanding of which foods may not be optimal ahead of bedtime, or if the baby is feeding sufficiently during the day to sustain them at night.
- Sleep Associations: is the infant using something to support them to sleep and back to sleep each time, e.g. breastfeeding, a bottle, a dummy, being rocked or patted?
- And if sleep associations are one of those areas impacting your child’s sleep, we will look at a gentle sleep training method to help them learn to self-soothe independently rather than be reliant on this association to sleep.
HOW DOES THE FERBER SLEEP TRAINING METHOD WORK?
The most commonly used baby sleep training technique for parents doing it DIY is the Ferber Method. Whilst you can use a sleep consultant to do this, many parents sleep train their child using this method because it follows a very set pattern and approach.
Above we’ve listed the pros and cons of this sleep training technique, but below we will show you how it works on a day by day basis using the chart.
The Ferber sleep method itself is fairly straightforward to follow but here’s how it works in a little more detail:
- To start, you would do your baby’s normal bedtime routine, making it as soothing as possible. Once the routine is finished, you would place your baby in their cot and leave the room.
- When your baby cries after you left, you remain out of the room for a timed interval before returning to them. When in the room, you would provide a brief level of comfort without picking up, before leaving again for a longer timed interval.
- You would then repeat these timed intervals – which get progressively longer – out of the room until your baby eventually falls asleep on their own.
- You would do this at bedtime, for all night wakings, for all naps and over the next number of nights until your baby begins to fall asleep independently without needing any return visits.
You can find here how this approach works in more detail.
WHAT IS GENTLE SLEEP TRAINING?
At The Mummy & Daddy Sleep Consultant®, we practise gentle sleep coaching and we genuinely care about the baby and the parents. We would never use the Ferber method, crying it out, or any other sleep training techniques on our own children, and we certainly wouldn’t use them on anybody else’s.
Furthermore, while this method may teach a baby how to go asleep, it ignores other potential causes of sleep disorders and frequently results in the development of new sleep troubles later on.
We therefore think that a child’s sleep should be approached from a holistic perspective. This covers the sleeping environment, day schedule, evening schedule, and much more.
We can assure you that if you work with us when the time comes to begin sleep training your baby, you will stay with them until they are ready for on their own.
This implies that your infant will always receive plenty of physical comfort and assurance from you rather than being left to cry themselves to sleep.
The effects are significantly more permanent because your little one will be taught to fall asleep gradually and with loving guidance.
Your baby will ultimately stop needing your assistance to go asleep, and you will notice that they do so far more quickly and easily.
They will sleep better throughout the day and be able to go back to sleep more frequently during night wakings, only waking when they need something, such as milk.
The ultimate aim would be for everyone to have a restful night’s sleep and for them to sleep through the night.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO GENTLE SLEEP TRAINING Methods?
There are significant long-term benefits to gently sleep train your baby:
- You whole family will sleep better
- It helps children to fall asleep on their own without help from adults longer-term, a skill they will take all the way into adulthood
- Increased energy and appetite
- Better mood when awake – generally happier
- Improved cognitive and physical development, most of which happens when babies are sleeping at night
WHEN CAN YOU START SLEEP TRAINING BABIES?
It is largely up to the parents to decide when to begin sleep training their infant; many choose to start at different ages.
You can choose the sleep training method you want to employ based on the age at which you do this, as there are obviously more age-appropriate approaches.
For instance, we believe that the Cry It Out and Ferber can only really work well under the age of 8/9 months before separation anxiety really develops.
Using our Comforting Through Change™ method, The Mummy & Daddy Sleep Consultant® offers infant sleep coaching plans for babies as young as five months old all the way up to the age of four.
WHICH SLEEP TRAINING METHOD is the best?
While there are other sleep training techniques, Comforting Through Change™, the technique developed by The Mummy & Daddy Sleep Consultant, is unquestionably the finest! 🙂
Our Online Sleep Plan provides access to our sleep training approach, which we firmly believe in because it combines a variety of mild techniques. The ultimate goal is for them to develop healthy sleep habits that will benefit both them and you as a parent, and to eventually fall asleep on their own.
It’s not necessary for you to place your child in their cot, go and then expect them to go to sleep by themselves without assistance.
Many sleep consultants use the cry it out (CIO) method or the controlled crying/Ferber method since they can be effective at times, particularly for smaller babies. However, we only think that there are more effective, kind ways to sleep train children and improve their quality of sleep.
How To Sleep Train Twins
It’s not that much more difficult to sleep train twins than single children, despite the fact that raising twins and multiples can be extremely difficult at times—in fact, that’s probably why so many parents wish to sleep train twins.
In actuality, most sleep consultants don’t charge more to sleep train twins or multiples since, although it may be slightly more difficult for the parent, it usually doesn’t take as much time for the consultant.
When deciding whether to sleep train twins or multiples, the most important factor to take into account is whether or not each child need sleep training. You can then decide whether to sleep train the babies in the same room or in separate rooms depending on this information.
You can probably train in the same room while the other kids spend the night there if the kids are all in there and the poor sleeping baby isn’t upsetting the other little one’s sleep.
If one child, on the other hand, consistently wakes the others, it will be easier—and certainly quicker—to remove the sleeping children from that environment and let them learn to sleep independently.
We would always advise using the same method for twins or multiples since it makes things much easier for everyone. You just need to pick the most effective way to sleep train your twins out of all the ones we covered above.
Our TOP SLEEP TRAINING TIPS
Many parents choose to do sleep training themselves. There are a number of factors in this: time and finances are often two.
Whilst we would always recommend following a sleep coaching plan, whether that be directly with a sleep consultant or via online sleep training programs, if you do choose to do sleep train yourself, here are our top tips to get yourself ready for sleep training and a successful outcome:
- Read up on and understand the several baby sleep training methods that exist, and choose which one is best for you and your family.
- When you get ready to begin sleep training, maintain a consistent bedtime routine throughout the sleep training program and be consistent and disciplined around your sleep training schedule.
- Always practice and follow safe sleep principles to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
- Always keep an eye on your baby’s sleep cues for when to put your baby in their cot at bedtime or for naps.
- Many parents make this mistake, but don’t be afraid to bring bedtime earlier to avoid overtiredness – overtiredness makes the sleep training process more difficult as babies will fight sleep much more in this scenario.
- Be consistent with your child’s daytime sleep schedule.
- Even when you are tired in the middle of the night, when you start sleep training you must remain consistent and committed to the changes you are making to your child’s sleep patterns.
- Whilst hearing your baby cry is awful, it’s a natural response to change and is expected over the first number of nights, whichever sleep training approach you use.
- When you have the outcome you want and your baby is successfully sleep trained, try to ensure you maintain your child’s healthy sleep habits so that they don’t regress into old and unwanted sleep patterns.
WHY USE A SLEEP CONSULTANT RATHER THAN DOING IT YOURSELF?
A sleep consultant has the power to genuinely transform the mental and physical well-being of an entire family. That is also not an exaggeration.
A baby’s lack of sleep may have crippling effects on the child and the entire family, including sleep deprivation and strained relationships due to a lack of time for conversation and connection.
We can attest to this as, in less than two weeks, using a sleep consultant before starting our business completely transformed our lives as parents and partners.
Large volumes of literature are also available online, and while some of it is beneficial, it may also be overwhelming and perplexing.
If you include some “friendly advice” from friends, relatives, or neighbours, you risk attempting a tonne of different things without consistency or knowledge of what works.
You’ll be much more consistent and clear with the assistance of a skilled infant sleep specialist.
We will speak with a single voice since we only hold one opinion, as opposed to the many opposing viewpoints you may encounter on Google.
This is also incredibly beneficial when parents disagree on how to improve, which is a perfectly natural situation.
Additionally, even if one parent may not agree with everything a sleep consultant suggests, at least one parent should be listening to that one voice in order to make progress—after all, children benefit from consistency.
HOW CAN YOU SELECT THE BEST SLEEP CONSULTANT FOR YOUR NEEDS?
With so many consultants available, the following are the main factors we advise you to take into account when selecting your consultant:
Have you connected with them online or in person? Did you two get along well during that first meeting? Selecting a sleep consultant with whom you click right away and feel confident in their abilities is crucial. It is crucial to want to put your faith in them since they are going to create improvements for you.
How do they go about it? Do they employ a slow extinction strategy or an extinction strategy? Do they employ a gentle method of sleep training?
Is the price reasonable? Is the price all included, or are there any other costs? For that amount, what does the programme genuinely include?
The One-to-One Assistance
What kind of support system do they use? Is there a time limit on how long they offer assistance? When will they offer you that assistance? Do they offer assistance right away, or does it take longer?
The Testimonials / The Reviews
What are the consultants’ reviews that you have been looking at? Are they largely favourable? Are there any reviews that you can relate to right now?
CONTACT US – FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR SLEEP Training PACKAGES
If you are looking to do sleep training for your baby and are overwhelmed with all of the different options available, our Online Sleep Plan is easy to follow, gives you clear direction and you will see MASSSIVE improvements in a matter of a few nights.
We are a husband and wife business, and are leading sleep consultants based in the UK. If you are having issues with your little one’s sleep, have a look at our sleep plans which range from an online plan to one-to-one coaching. If it feels like you’ve tried everything, then come and try the one thing you haven’t which we know works – that’s our proven sleep method Comforting Through Change™.
We also train people to become sleep consultants. So if you fancy a career change, one where you can be at home ALL the time, contact us via our Academy. We would love to hear from you.