There is no one right way to sleep train. Every baby and family is different and should adhere to the method that works best for their unique lifestyle. Some common sleep training methods outlined by The Bump explain the range of approaches.
Popular Sleep Training Methods
No Tears Method - Also known as the no-cry method, this technique involves subtle shifts in the child’s sleeping habits. For example, if baby is always rocked to sleep, the parent would shorten the time rocking little by little until baby can be put down without it.
Cry It Out (CIO) Method - This method is based on the belief that baby can learn to soothe herself if left alone. Baby is closely monitored to ensure that no physical need (feeding, changing, etc.) is present, but not interfered with while she’s learning to fall asleep.
Weissbluth Method - Similar to the CIO method, the Weissbluth method recommends using a structured bedtime routine (bath, rocking, lullaby) before putting the baby to sleep. Then parents leave the room and do not re-enter until the next morning.
From The Bump:
“I tried this, and the first night was awful,” says Jen, a mom of one, who did the Weissbluth method at 4 months. “I turned on the shower and sat in the bathroom so I wouldn’t hear my son cry. But I was watching the baby monitor and saw that after an hour, he found his thumb and fell asleep. The next night was maybe 40 minutes of crying, then 20 minutes the night after that. He’s always happy in the morning, and I feel this was the right choice.”
Ferber Method - Also known as timed-interval sleep training, modified sleep training or graduated extinction sleep training. This method involves putting baby down and returning to check on him at different intervals. Begin with 5-10 minutes checks, verbally soothing but not picking up, then gradually move to longer intervals of time between checks until baby is sleeping through the night.
Chair Method - This method can be useful for older babies who may suffer from separation anxiety. It involves sitting in a chair next to baby’s crib until she falls asleep. Each following night, the chair is moved farther away from the crib until parent is no longer in the room.
Pick-Up-Put-Down Method - This sleep training method is essentially the Ferber method of checking on baby at gradually longer intervals. Unlike the Ferber method, you can pick up baby to comfort him for a few minutes before putting him back down.
Find more information on these sleep training methods at The Bump.
Is it better to hire a professional to help with sleep training?
There are many different options for sleep training and the best option for you is as unique as your family. Deciding on and implementing the right sleep training method for you and your baby can seem like a daunting task. For first time parents, or those with busy lifestyles, we recommend working with a qualified newborn care specialist from birth.