Sleep Training Your Children
Everyone tells you you’ll never sleep again when you become a parent and we never believe them. They used to use sleep deprivation as a method of torture in the war and this is something you’ll understand when you have a baby, especially if you are unlucky enough to have a child who develops colic.
Sleep is one of the biggest sacrifices of parenthood. From the moment you become pregnant, your sleep becomes interrupted. Your trimester stages generally dictate how little sleep you get, and it becomes less as the pregnancy progresses. Once your new born baby has arrived you are then in a situation – if you are extremely unlucky – of being woken every 2-4 hours a night for an absolute minimum of six months. You could be very lucky and have a baby who sleeps right through the night save for a feed or two but for the normal baby, that doesn’t happen. Only in fairy tales does that happen!
Getting your baby to go to sleep is a big deal and a lot of mothers and fathers tend to try and rush their babies. The need for sleep makes us all desperate but babies are too young to be ‘made’ to sleep until they are at least six months of age. Before this age they don’t understand separation and so bearing with your newly rubbish sleep schedule is literally all you can do. However, once six months hit have at it and start ‘training’ that little sleep vampire. Sleep training is all about getting your little one to sleep and there are companies out there like hatacademy.co.uk that offer actual sleep training courses. What I will say though, is that you can read every book and take every course out there, but that doesn’t mean there is a magic cure. Our babies are born without instruction manuals and rule books and what works for one baby will not work at all for another baby.
There is a reason there is a magic time of six months of age. This is that a baby is actually supposed to wake up. Their stomachs are tiny for a start so regular feeding is the only way they will grow; they don’t stay full for as long as an adult does. When babies are born they have emerged from a warm, dark safe place in a small space to a world that is loud, bright, cold and absolutely huge. That is scary! It’s like being stuck inside with a broken leg for weeks and being allowed outside; you’re disoriented and may feel overwhelmed and seeing as babies can only communicate by crying, that is exactly what they do. All they want is to be held those first few months and the development that they go through during those months is huge.
There are three very common sleep training methods: cry it out, controlled crying and pick up and put down. Crying it out is the least recommended and it’s the practice of putting a warm, full, dry baby down on its back in its room while sleepy to go to sleep. Once in the cot, if they cry, they cry and you don’t go in to see to them. The downside to this is that they learn that no one will come when they cry, so they learn to stop crying. Controlled crying starts in a similar way, but you go into the room every minute for the first night and gently sooth the baby without picking it up and gradually increase the timings until they understand sleeping without you is ok. The last is a combination of the two but each time you see the baby you pick up, calm it down and put