How can I sleep train my baby?

Postnatal

This third educational article follows the one that demystifies sleep for a baby under 1 year of age and another dealing with newborn sleep problems. Now, I would like to share different ways, recognised techniques, to help your baby fall asleep on their own.


In this article:


 

The Path to a Sleep Routine

I don’t want to start a polemic about different solutions you can use to help your baby sleep if they’re having problems. Seeing how parents often feel helpless faced with a baby that doesn’t fall asleep alone or who regularly wakes at night, I would like to offer several practical suggestions shown to be useful for most babies.

A perfect method for all children doesn’t exist. You must choose a way that you’re comfortable with, as a parent, to apply to your daily routine.

I can’t repeat it enough—each baby’s sleep needs and their temperament is different. Additionally, each parent has different values and beliefs. The alternatives I’m suggesting are to inform you of different recognised tools to help your baby to fall asleep better and to have a more regular and restful sleep pattern. These aren’t doctrines.

A parent must be ready to experience this transition to sleep for their children with confidence and coherence in their actions. Rigour, gentle firmness and consistency with your child are essential. Saying one day, yes and no the other, continually changing routines based on fatigue, wanting to buy peace some nights and returning to the routine others can be very problematic and confuse the baby. They don’t know what expect from day to day. This instability can create insecurity, anxiety over time and the baby will be more demanding to feel secure.

A Crying Baby

Many parents are worried about the effects on the baby over the short, medium and long-term when they let them cry. They’re scared the baby will become more anxious, feel abandoned and will develop attachment problems affecting them throughout their lives. Many studies have shown that a child that has all their base needs met and who learned to fall asleep alone will be fine later in their lives. They will have confidence, feel secure and will have fewer sleep problems. Throughout their lives, they will have better sleep behaviours.

To read the next part of this article about sleeping techniques, read How to Promote Your Baby’s Sleep Autonomy.

References :

  • Challamel, M-J et M. Thirion. Mon enfant dort mal. Éditions Pocket, 2015.
  • Crichton, Georgina E. et B. Symon, Behavioral Management of sleep Problems in infants Under 6 months-What Works, Journal of dev. behav. Pediatrics, volume 37, p. 164-171, 2016. 
  • Gradisar, Michael et al., Behavioral Interventions for Infant Sleep Problems: A Randomized Controlled Trial, American Academy of Pediatrics, mai 2016.
  • Institut national de santé publique du Québec, Guide Mieux vivre avec notre enfant de la grossesse à 2 ans, section sur le sommeil, p. 248-262, 2016.
  • Langevin, Brigitte, Le sommeil du nourrisson, nouvelle édition, Éditions de Mortagne, 2016.
  • Magazine Enfants Québec, De belles nuits à tous âges, octobre 2013.
  • Martello Evelyne, Enfin je dors… et mes parents aussi, 2e édition, Éditions CHU Sainte-Justine, 2015.
  • Mindell, J. A. et J. A. Owen. Clinical guide to Pediatric sleep: diagnosis and Management of Sleep Problems. 2e édition, Lippincott William & Wilkins, 2010.
  • Revue Bien grandir, En chemin vers de belles nuits, novembre 2011.
  • Revue Naître et grandir, Mieux comprendre le sommeil, octobre 2016.
  • Pantley, Elizabeth, Un sommeil paisible et sans pleurs, Éditions ADA, 2005.

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How can I sleep train my baby?

Par Marie Fortier Temps de lecture: 2 min
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