Infant sleep training is important to prevent future toddler sleep problems. If an infant is not properly trained to sleep, he will grow into a toddler that still experiences the same sleep problems that he had as an infant. Training takes some time and dedication on the parent’s part, but is well worth the effort.
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There are many methods that are being taught to parents with infants that don’t sleep well. Each method varies, but has a similar goal…to get your infant to sleep through the night. Each parent needs to decide which method will work best for their child and their parenting style.
A popular method is the “cry-out” method. Once your infant has proven that he can make it for a certain period of time without needing to eat, you can begin to expect him to be able to go that long every night. This method involves letting him cry himself to sleep. Although the crying time will vary among babies, it usually takes between 5-20 minutes for this to occur. If parents can stand the crying time, this method has proven successful in getting a toddler to sleep as well.
There are other methods that are used that don’t require listening to your infant cry for an extended period of time. Developing a routine each night before bedtime helps an infant learn when bedtime is approaching. This is also a good toddler sleep tip. Children thrive on routines as it gives them a feeling of control over their situation. If they know what to expect, they tend to fight going to sleep less each night.
If you are not sure which infant sleep training method to use, consider contacting a baby sleep specialist. These professionals can assess your situation and suggest tried and proven methods that will solve even the toughest sleep problems. Since their experience is in early childhood development, these specialists can recommend methods that will work best for any developmental stage, from a nursing infant to a situation where a toddler won’t go to sleep.
Many sleep specialists have books available that can help you determine on your own what method would be best for your given situation. If these self-help methods don’t seem to be working, consider scheduling a one-on-one meeting with them. This is often costly, but worth every penny. They can help determine your specific problems and are often available for phone consultations as well.
Due to the varying information that is currently available, it is often an overwhelming task for a sleep-deprived new parent to determine which method is best for their child. A third party professional will take that task and make the decision less daunting. When deciding on a professional to work with, be sure that they respect your parenting style and will adjust their recommendations based on your situation. Don’t choose one that is rigid on their methods, not considering your parenting style. The infant sleep training will only work if the parents are comfortable with it and diligent in implementing it.