Sleep training is a hotly debated subject among parents today. For many, the “cry-it-out” technique is cruel to children and can result in long-term issues. On the flip side, sleep training supporters, such as Small Z’s Sleep, argue that it is not harmful and is actually good for kids and their families. Unfortunately, much of the argument is influenced by misinformation.
So, what does science say? Here, let’s separate the facts from myths to shed light on wary parents about the impacts of sleep training on their children.
Myth #1: The “Cry-It-Out” Method is Cruel, Causing Long-term Issues
Fact: Letting a child cry to sleep has been viewed by some parents as unkind or harmful due to fears that it could increase the infant’s stress levels or provoke a behavioral problem later on. However, a study published in Pediatrics says moms and dads don’t need to worry.
The researchers observed 43 babies between the ages of six to sixteen months. They divided the team into three, based on three sleep training approaches: fading or camping out, gradual extinctions or crying with checks, and a control group (whose caretakers retained performing their usual bedtime routine). They found out that the first two groups (fading and crying with checks) were both effective and did not show signs of psychological issues one year later after the study was completed.
Additionally, their stress hormone levels known as cortisol were lower than measurements taken in babies from the study’s control group.
On top of these, the infants who were left crying to sleep fell asleep 15 minutes more quickly. This result showed three months into the study, but better sleep occurred within the first week.
Myth #2: Sleep Training is for the Benefit of the Parents, Not the Child
Fact: Though parents tend to sleep longer and better when their child is sleep trained, it is for their child’s sake, not the parents. It must be frustrating for your child to wake up several times each night and cry to get back to sleep. Furthermore, they always need their parents’ or caretakers’ intervention to get back to sleep when they’re not sleep trained. This is not easy on the kid. That’s why learning how to self-soothe is an essential skill for babies to avoid crying nightly.
Certified sleep trainers help you find the suitable and effective method for your child, according to their age, behavior, and stage. Little Z’s Sleep offers baby sleep training for your infants to help you get through this stage.
Myth #3: Once My infant is Sleep Trained, I will Expect Her to Sleep Through the Night, Everynight
Fact: Sleep training is not a miracle!
Even if a single strategy worked for a baby, the effect could wear off after a while, and you have to go back to square one, redoing the training. Recent research found out that two sleep training methods helped babies sleep only for a few months. The data suggested that these techniques reduced the time it takes for an infant to sleep and the number of times they wake up at night. However, the statistics also showed that the babies were still waking up, on average, once to twice per night, three months later.
So the bottom line is, it’s hard to say how much improvement is expected
Myth #4: Sleep Training Means I Can’t Share a Room with My Child Anymore and Do Things with Her
Fact: Sleep training does not necessarily mean giving up the activities you love to do with your child. You can still sing and hold them as part of your nighttime routine. Sleep training lets you avoid these activities only during the period of transition from wake to sleep.
Additionally, it’s totally fine to sleep with your baby in the same room during sleep training. It is even more convenient for breastfeeding while reassuring you that your child is okay. If you want to keep them in the same room as you, you can provide a separate sleep location such as a bassinet or crib.
Ensuring Successful Sleep
No matter what strategy you use to sleep train your child, it is always best to consult your pediatrician about good sleep habits. Certified sleep trainers or online baby sleep consultants can also be your go-to people concerning sleep coaching.
For starters, don’t allow your infants to fall asleep while feeding, either breastfeeding or bottle feeding, or if being held. Instead, they should be put down while they are “drowsy” but awake to encourage independent rest. You may sing or stroke their head to calm them. To learn more about sleep training for newborns courses, Little Z’s Sleep offers various effective programs.
Most importantly, consistency is the key.