Babies realize quite soon that crying often results in being picked up, rocked, or fed which motivate them to keep on crying.
This is when sleep training should begin.
The most known method of sleep training is the “Crying-it-out” also called the “Ferber method” and the “Progressive watching” developed by Richard Ferber, MD. The method aims to make the baby learn to sleep on his/her own and put himself/herself back to sleep if waking up during the night.
How the training is done
- Soothing the baby until he is drowsy. Putting him down in the crib and letting the baby drift off on his own and leaving the room after finishing the bedtime routine.
- Letting the baby cry it out, as hard as it is on you as a parent.
- If the baby cries, you should wait a few minutes before checking on him/her. The amount of waiting time depends on the parents and the baby. For a start, it could be between 1-5 minutes.
- When one of the parents checks in, he/she must console the baby with words or patting without picking him up. The check-in must not exceed 2-3 minutes even if the baby is still crying when leaving the room. As seeing the mother or father’s face is enough to assure the baby that they are close by so that he/she falls asleep on his own.
- If the baby continues to cry, the amount of waiting time before checking in should be increased gradually. The checking in should be repeated as long as the baby cries.
- Next night, the amount of waiting time should be increased compared to the previous night’s waiting time.
- Adopting this method might be difficult during the first few nights; however, improvement could be seen in the baby’s sleep pattern by day 3 or 4 or even within a week.
Besides the previous method, it is advised not to rush to the baby’s room at the first whimper as babies make all kinds of noises during their sleep or even wake momentarily during the light phase of sleep, only to fall back to sleep on their own. Others whimper regularly before settling down for the night as a way of comforting themselves. Rushing to the baby’s room might wake him up when he/she is about to fall back asleep.