Is it possible to sleep train and not have your baby cry?
No one likes to hear their baby cry – no matter how old they are!
Every week I get questions from parents asking if it is possible to use a no-cry sleep solution for their baby and still teach them independent sleep.
The short answer? No.
It is my belief there will always be some form of protesting (crying) while you teach your little one the foundations of independent sleep. How long and how much depends on a variety of factors.
Remember, sleep training is not about your child learning to sleep through the night (although it is if you are sleep training after 10-months that age should be able to sleep 11 to 12 hours a night).
It is about your child learning to fall asleep independently without any sleep crutches (i.e. rocking, walking, bouncing, feeding, or replacing the pacifier.)
What are the best ways to limit the amount of protesting from your little one?
This is a huge factor in determining the amount of protesting you may face when sleep training!
If your little one is not getting the right number of naps each day or getting close to the daily sleep he/she needs each day they are likely going to be overtired and building up their sleep debt.
Children who are overtired have a hard time falling asleep, fight sleep and have trouble staying asleep. All three of which will increase the amount of protesting your little one may give during sleep training.
Sleep debt occurs when day after day a child is not getting enough sleep and those hours just compound to make your child get increasing overtired.
Getting bedtime right can also contribute to how much and how long your little one protests during bedtime.
If your little one is on a four or three nap a day schedule all naps should be over for the day by 5pm, a two nap a day schedule by 4pm and one nap a day by 3pm.
PICKING THE "RIGHT" METHOD
I use the quotes around right because there is no one size fits all for sleep training methods. I never tell a family which method they should be using.
What I do say is pick the method you know you can be 1,000% consistent with and even at 3am you will be able to stick to.
There are gentle and direct methods but it is my belief there is no method that will result in no tears.
We can use a gentler method and let babe know we are there with them. When using these gentle methods, it is important to set appropriate expectations.
While a gentle method may produce less tears up front, there may be tears for a longer period of time. Whereas a more direct method there can be more tears up front but for a shorter period of time.
Sleep training can be successful no matter the method you choose, but making sure you take all factors into account will help your family set appropriate expectations for your little one’s (and your own) sleep!
If your little one has not learned to fall asleep independently, or is not on a good schedule it is never too late to start.
Visit my guides page for more resources on sleep training, nap schedules and sleep guides by age!
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