While it can be hard enough for us adults to follow bedtime routines, it can be even harder to decipher what your newborn needs to settle down safely and peacefully into slumber. Ultimately, every parent’s goal is to help their baby learn how to put themselves to sleep, even when they wake up in the middle of the night. However, every child is unique in their needs and preferences, making sleep training methods a hot topic for parents.
What Is Sleep Training?
Essentially, infant sleep training is a collection of techniques that can provide your baby with the tools they need to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own. Training typically begins when your baby is around four months old and takes three or four nights to complete. There are various methods, including the:
“Cry it out” (CIO)
“Ferber” or “check and console”
“Pick up, Put down”
So, Does Sleep Training Work?
Ranging from “gentle” to more intense, sleep training methods have their fair share of advocates and opponents. For instance, in a recent survey we commissioned, together with OnePoll, to 2,000 parents of children five years old or younger, we found that:
67% of parents believe babies need to have a strict sleep schedule
66% of parents believe you shouldn’t wake a sleeping baby
60% of parents believe the “camping out” method will help their baby become less dependent on them
64% of parents believe that sleep training is more effective if their baby has stayed up late or is very tired from not napping
However, there are still many parents who have their doubts sleep training altogether. More rigorous research needs to be conducted before drawing any definite conclusions, but when psychologist Jodi Mendell analyzed 52 sleep training studies, she found that 49 of them resulted in babies accepting sleep more readily and waking up less at night. In other words, sleep training seems to work, even if different families have varying levels of comfort and prefer different methods.
How to Integrate Sleep Training Methods into Your Routine
Sleep training does not stop with simply getting your baby to sleep through the night. When it comes to sleep, quality is just as important as quantity. Implementing sustainable sleep patterns with your child from an early age can teach them healthy habits that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. Here’s what you can do on a daily basis to help your baby sleep better.
Strive for consistency in your baby’s bedtime routine. Babies’ bodies can sense that when a certain sequence of events is followed, bedtime is impending. Experiment with your schedule and your baby’s preferences to identify the best times for a bath, diaper change, feeding, etc.
Dim the lights an hour or so before bedtime. This will not only help your baby get to sleep, but you as well! Lower light levels help regulate our circadian rhythms and melatonin production, which affects how easily and how long we stay asleep.
Be mindful of sudden, loud noises, and consider listening to gentle music with them before bedtime. Whether you sing yourself or you play recordings of lullabies, it can help ease your baby into a serene state of mind. In our survey, we found that 60% of parents believe they have to be quiet while their baby is sleeping, but consistency, rather than absolute silence, is more important.
Make gradual changes to your baby’s bedtime routine as they grow, preparing them for when they eventually make the transition to a big kid’s bed. Add, subtract, or adjust components one step at a time.
Choose the right crib mattress for your baby. Our survey also found that 78% of parents have purchased new bedding or a new mattress specifically to help their children learn how to sleep through the night. But, with so many options containing questionable, hazardous chemicals and materials, it can be hard to figure out which crib mattresses are truly safe to put your child to sleep on each night.
Let an Expert Worry for You.
You’re the expert when it comes to your baby. But, when it comes to the harmful chemicals used in crib mattresses, Naturepedic has a lot of knowledge. In fact, we’re happy to do the worrying for you. We are the only company to offer a range of truly breathable, waterproof crib mattresses that are also certified organic and nontoxic (read: no flame retardants, PFAS, phthalates, or other questionable chemicals/materials). This way, you can rest assured knowing your little one is safe and protected.
Our range of Breathe SafeTM crib mattresses are encased in a removable layer that’s breathable and machine washable, so you can clean up messes in a snap. Plus, our advanced 360-degree airflow system allows your baby to breathe right through the surface, while also helping dissipate heat and moisture for less sweaty backs and a much better sleep. In fact, we meet the highest breathability safety standards while featuring the most non-toxic waterproofing method on the market. Discover more about our range of breathable, organic crib mattresses that will help your baby Breathe Safe™ here.
Remember, every baby and every home environment is different. It’s okay if you are struggling with one sleep training method or have to play around with countless routines before you find the one that works for your family. You and your newborn child are both growing and learning alongside one another, and you deserve to savor that experience. Stay positive, stay diligent, keep an open mind, and it will fall into place!