You might be sticking to your sleep routine like clockwork. But despite the bath, feeding, lullabies and snuggles, your baby has other ideas and won’t sleep. If you’re having trouble getting your little one to sleep at night, you’re not alone. Many bleary-eyed new parents struggle with sleep issues.
It’s important to remember, you should probably not expect your baby to sleep through the night or self-soothe until he is about six months. But what do you do when your baby is developmentally capable of self-soothing and still has trouble sleeping? There are several different sleep strategies you can try including the following:
Soothing Your Baby to Sleep
This method of putting your baby to sleep is not much of a strategy and may be your natural instinct. It involves holding your baby until she falls asleep. If this is your preference, don’t feel you have to alter your method. The challenge may be when your little one wakes up in the middle of the night, and she can’t go back to sleep unless you soothe her back to dreamland.
If you opt for the self-soothing strategy, a bedtime routine is a must. The idea is to have your baby associate her routine with nite-nite time. After your routine, put your baby to bed while she is still awake, but sleepy. The goal is for her to fall asleep on her own. If she cries, a reassuring pat on the back and a gentle voice are fine. But if you know nothing is wrong, you should avoid picking her up, so she soothes herself to sleep. Some research indicates that babies who self-soothe tend to sleep better than babies who don’t.
A Little at a Time
This sleep strategy involves gradually sitting further from your baby each night after you put her to bed. It is used to decrease your baby’s dependence on you in order to fall asleep. The way it works is you put your baby in his bed and sit next to him. Each night you place your chair a little bit further and until your baby learns to fall sleep without seeing you.
A Few Tears
Another sleep strategy some parents may choose is the cry it out method. This strategy, also known as Ferberizing, was named after Richard Ferber, the doctor who popularized it through his books. It is similar to the self-soothing strategy, but it involves allowing your baby to cry for increasing lengths of time before going in to comfort her. The idea is eventually she will learn to soothe herself to sleep even if she resists at first. These techniques are generally not recommended for babies under 6 months of age.
Keep in mind, there is not a one size fits all sleep strategy for all babies. Some babies may do better than others with certain strategies. You might have to try different techniques until you find one that feel right. Trust your instincts and do what works best for you and your baby.
Written by MaryAnn [email protected]
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.