If you want your baby to sleep on his/her own, it is time that you consider sleep training. Many paediatricians here in Singapore encourage parents to sleep train their babies. In fact, there are parents who start sleep training as early as the first month of the baby. However for your peace of mind, start sleep training when the baby is between four to six months.
By four months, the baby is starting to develop regular sleep-wake cycle. When you notice that they dropped most of their feedings at night, it is a sign that he/she is ready for sleep training. Sleep training is the process of teaching the baby to sleep on his/her own and stay asleep all through the night. Sounds easy right but it is kind of challenging because there are many approaches you can consider before settling.
Yes, there are many approaches when you teach the baby to sleep on his/her own. But what approach should you consider? This will depend on which approach you think your baby will respond well. The key here is to know your baby well. Here are the approaches you can choose from:
- Cry It Out Approach: Commonly called as CIO, this method involves a lot of crying. Crying is an excruciating sound for parents but if it is something that you have to do, do it. This approach claims that it is okay for the baby to cry when you put him/her to bed then leave the room. Always remember to put the baby to bed drowsy but awake. If he/she cries, let it be for prescribed periods of time and then offer comfort – except picking up.
- No Tears Approach: According to the proponents of this approach, crying is not necessary. The approach speaks of a slow approach – soothe the baby to sleep and when he/she cries, you offer comfort immediately.
- Fading Approach: This approach falls in the middle of the spectrum. This training involves diminishing the parent’s role by gradually fading away until the baby falls asleep. Each night, make sure to go farther and when the baby cries, reassure him/her but never pick up.
- S’s Approach: There is an expert who encourages parents to consider a specific routine that involves the S’s – Swaddling, Shushing, Swinging and Sucking. Note that this is best for newborns (first six weeks) when you can swaddle them. But it can also be used as long as it is helpful for the baby.