Parenthood brings a mix of experiences and emotions into everyone’s life. While the base feeling can be of absolute joy, it can be a rollercoaster ride for the parents. The most difficult phases can be the ones marked by no or lack of sleep. Earlier, people lived in extended family settings with aunts, uncles, siblings, grandparents, and others. Welcoming a kid into the family didn’t feel like a task. However, this scenario has changed today. The couple has to provide relentless care to the newborn as they don’t have other arms for rocking or chests for supporting the sleeping kid. Sometimes, they even have to leave their dozing babies alone for a few hours.
Due to the demanding lifestyles and personal constraints, parents have started using specific methods with the hope of helping their babies fall asleep by themselves. While some couples vouch for the techniques, others seem to be critical about their effectiveness. As a parent, you would also have shared concerns. But it can be challenging to decide what to do and avoid when improving your little one’s sleep. Here are some insights on this aspect to make your job easier.
Myth: You can let your baby cry for a specific amount of time when training it for a sound sleep
First of all, sleep training methods are not a formula. These are only a set of guidelines for parents to figure out different ways to soothe their newborns or six-month-olds into deep or uninterrupted sleep. More precisely, one cannot assert that leaving crying kids for this number of minutes can be helpful before you check on them. It is more about the comfort level of the parents and the condition of the child. Whether you check on her after 30 seconds or every 5 minutes, it is your call. If you are a first-time parent, you may go back to the kid’s room after every 20 seconds also out of nervousness.
You will not find any scientific evidence claiming that checking on the baby after 3 or 10 minutes will work better. But there can be multiple reports around the effectiveness of the training with different approaches. Some can even talk about a mix of several methods. The most common can be training the kid and maintaining a bedtime routine. Hence, it is not viable to pinpoint any single way and claim it works. Something can suit your child more than the other kid.
Hence, the focus has to be on looking for a window when the infant nods off independently of the parent’s presence in the room. Some kids may need frequent check-ins and comforting, while others can do well with less of any of them. Also, paying attention to their style of crying can be crucial. It can indicate whether they need more attention or leaving them alone is the best thing. Typically, 3 and 6 months old tend to be good sleepers.
Myth: Training the kid for sleep will allow him to doze off smoothly through every night
Again, any particular method doesn’t guarantee a long-lasting impact. These can work for some parents and in some situations. At the same time, the results can vastly vary. Sleep consultants inform that none of the studies are elaborate or sizeable enough to hint at how much these can improve an infant’s sleep and how much their wakeups will reduce after specific training. The same thing applies to the stickiness of the outcome. If you read some old research works on cry-it-out, they suggest babies went back to crying and needed retraining down the line.
Nevertheless, most studies don’t bother to talk about how often they wake up or sleep without disturbance. Instead, their main highlight is the sleep improvements. For example, a study on the mix of two training styles mentioned that they helped decrease the time a kid takes to nod off at night and reduced the number of times they wake up. These included letting the kid cry for an extended time, pushing the bedtime routine to later, and then moving the time to the desirable schedule.
The essence is these procedures are not going to do miracles. Hence, it can be unrealistic to expect long-term results. Even if something has worked for the baby, you must be ready for the time to see the effects wear off. You may again have to start from scratch and redo the training. But it can be good to consider this for your peace of mind. After all, sleep regression in six months old kids are not so uncommon. The kid needs your help navigating through this phase, which may have resulted from growth spurts, cognitive and emotional changes, etc. Once you cultivate a sleep habit in them, it can be easy for your baby to acclimatize. After all, when they sleep peacefully, you get your share of rest.