Sleep training is a very personal and sensitive topic. It also has become a very hot topic over the years on blogs, websites and even on my Facebook page.
I am very happy that mums start to realise how important healthy sleep habits are for their babies but also for them as parents. Sound sleep for everyone is very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
As always, interest breeds information and it seems like there’s a new sleep training book coming out every other month these days with the hope of clarifying the issue for everyone who’s finding the information a little overwhelming. I thought I’d offer a quick overview of the different methods of sleep training, and where Happy Sleepers falls into the mix.
1. The extinction method is the one that has created so much controversy. Also known as “Cry-it-out”, this involves putting your baby to bed, closing the door, and not opening it again until the next morning. This method is very difficult, for obvious reasons, and it doesn’t address the fact that the baby might be crying for legitimate reasons like :
- Needing a nappy change
- Having a foot caught between the cot railings
- Vomited all over the cot
2. Another popular approach is the “No cry sleep solution”. It’s been a big seller for many years and must have helped a lot of parents, given its popularity. It’s a very gradual approach, which is good for parents who want to take things slow. I have no objections to this approach, but it can take a few months, literally months to get results. All the while, Mom, Dad and Baby aren’t getting the sleep they need and the drawn-out process can lead to parents giving up.
3. Then we have the “Dr Sears approach”. I really wish he would rename this “31 ways to get your baby to sleep for 20 min”, because that is what he is doing :
- Nursing to sleep
- Rocking to sleep
- Driving to sleep
All great approaches if you don’t mind getting up to nurse, rock or drive six times a night.
4. The “Ferber method” involves putting your baby to bed, leaving the room, and go back in after progressively longer intervals. This involves some crying. It’s a very popular method and it works for a lot of babies. It’s not very versatile though, and many parents find it too difficult to leave the room while their baby is crying.
5. Finally, we have the Happy Sleepers approach. We follow Dana Obleman’s Sleep Sense approach, which is, hands down, my favourite technique and I’ve done it with my own twins. The Happy Sleepers Program actually has a number of different approaches, which allows you to customise the program to your baby, as well as your level of comfort with leaving her alone.
If you prefer to stay in the room with her the entire night, that’s covered in detail, including what to do when she cries and when to start easing your way out if the room. If you want to leave the room and check periodically, I’ve got a step-by-step guide to that approach as well.
What all the approaches in the Happy Sleepers Program have in common is that they teach your child how to fall asleep independently and stay asleep independently. Once your baby has learned how to fall asleep independently, it doesn’t matter how often she wakes at night, she will be able to put herself back to sleep.
I often hear people say: “The right approach is the one that works for your baby” and I totally agree. Just make sure it’s actually working; it’s actually teaching your baby to sleep on her own and not fitting the criteria in which she’ll agree to go to sleep.
If she’s got to have her dummy, her stuffed animal and a ride in the car to fall asleep, she’s not learning anything and she’ll be demanding all that at two in the morning when she wakes up.
Now there you have it in a nutshell. Contact me if you want more information the Happy Sleepers Program.