Everyone, including people who have never even seen a newborn, knows that babies tend to have erratic sleep patterns. They will sleep most of the day in the newborn stage but all that sleep doesn’t do you, the parent, much good when you are trying to catch some sleep during the night, only to be greeted by an awake baby time and time again. The concept of a baby “sleeping through the night” is extremely popular among parents for obvious reasons. And that is where sleep training comes in. Because small babies will not, generally, start sleeping through the night all by themselves.
How does one sleep-train a baby?
There are several methods that are popularly used, including “Ferberizing”. All infant sleep training methods involve allowing a baby to cry himself to sleep, for longer or shorter stretches of time, and with or without a parent next to the baby. This is known as “Cry It Out“. The idea is that the baby will learn to self soothe and a clear schedule will be established, in which the baby goes to sleep at a certain time and will hopefully sleep through the night.
The advantages are hopefully more sleep for the parents, and a baby who will go to sleep without having to be rocked or driven around for long periods.
Babies do not usually sleep through the night for a very good biological reason – their tummy is too small to process large amounts of food at once, and they need to eat and eliminate throughout the day and night. Opponents of sleep training with infants say that babies fall asleep after a “cry it out” period because the baby learns that her needs are not going to be met, and she may as well stop. The other disadvantage is that it is not nice to listen to your baby cry himself to sleep. If your instincts tell you to pick your baby up, even when your newborn just won’t sleep, you should probably listen to them.