Everyone always thinks that baby sleep training has to involve letting your baby cry it out. The truth is, you don’t have to let your baby cry her little head off, to get her to start sleeping through the night. I’m going to introduce some gentle sleep training methods and techniques that don’t involve leaving your baby to cry. I like to call these methods no cry sleep solutions. Forget what other moms are saying on baby forums, no cry sleep training is possible! Here are my top baby sleep training methods.
This is something that works great for very young babies(0-2 months). This is not really a method, but it’s an important aspect because it helps a baby feel secure, which makes falling asleep much easier. A “womb-like” feel, is all some babies may need to sleep well. So here are some ideas to achieve this. Always keep safety in mind.
“Everyone’s situation is different. no “one size” approach fits all. We do not believe in the full blown CIO method and were looking for alternatives… anything but that…enter Miss Violet! Her knowledge and skills are expert level. Put your trust in Violet- she has helped us, and she WILL help you. worth every cent!! Thank you thank you Violet. you are our angel and we are forever grateful…”
~ Jen, Wisconsin
Pick Up Put Down (PUPD)
This is a gentle sleep training method made popular by Tracy Hogg. It involves you picking up your baby when she cries, comforting her, and putting her back down when she calms down. You do this over and over until your baby falls asleep. I know what your thinking, this sounds exhausting. And it can be, but eventually your baby learns that when she cries, you are right there to comfort her. She learns that you won’t desert her when she cries for you, and she will feel safe to fall asleep on her own.
This is a great gentle sleep training technique. This technique is used to calm your baby down when she is crying. For an “easy” baby, you can use this method alone. For a more difficult baby, you may want to use this in combination with another method. But the general idea is that, you make a shushing noise which mimics the sound of your womb and acts as white noise for your baby. You can also pat your baby, or leave your hand on her back. This lets her know, you are there and you are not leaving. This works great when you don’t want to pick your baby up from the crib, to give her a chance to calm down, and learn to self settle.
Getting Rid of “Sleep Props”
With this method, the idea is that you eliminate “sleep props” or sleep associations that cause your baby to wake multiple times at night. However a baby falls asleep, is how she will expect to fall back asleep when she wakes up in the middle of the night. So if your baby nurses to sleep, she will want to be nursed back to sleep, even if she is not hungry. Since babies have shorter sleep-wake cycles than adults, they wake up many times at night wanting to be put back to sleep by that particular “sleep prop”. Teaching your baby to fall asleep on her own is key.
Drowsy but Awake
A baby that falls asleep in your arms and wakes up in her crib becomes very alarmed. Just as you would if you fell asleep in your bed and woke up in your back yard. So with this method, you lay your baby down “drowsy” or very sleepy, but making sure she is still awake. This does two things. First, it gives your baby the opportunity to self soothe and fall asleep on her own without any “props”. Second, it allows her to fall asleep in her crib so that she doesn’t get alarmed when she wakes up in the middle of the night. For babies that have been nursed or rocked to sleep, this is obviously not going to be as easy as just laying them down. You are probably going to have to use one of the methods above in combination. PUPD is a good one to add to this.
All of these gentle, no tears sleep training methods take some time, commitment, and consistency. It’s obviously a lot easier to close the door and just let your baby cry. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather put in some work than leave my child alone to cry her head off until she falls asleep. Bedtime should be a relaxing, calm, and cozy opportunity for you and your child to connect. Not a dreaded, all out crying disaster.
I have had great success teaching my baby to sleep using very gentle, no tears sleep training techniques/methods. My first baby was a very stubborn, strong-willed little girl. I thought it would be impossible to get her to sleep through the night when she was already 9 months old and still waking every 2 hours. Her habits were so set, on top of her strong personality. She insisted on being held, nursed, or rocked back to sleep. I used a no cry sleep training approach and within a week she was falling asleep on her own and sleeping through the night. And now I use my techniques to help clients all over the world!
It’s not an easy process, responding appropriately to your baby’s wakings is extremely important. Also, every baby is different. So what may work for one baby, may not work for the next. Age too plays a huge part in the process. You can’t expect a 3 month old to respond, the same way a 9 month old will. Some techniques are appropriate for younger babies, but will not work for older babies, or vice versa. I learned that helping your baby sleep, is more than just reading about a few techniques on the web, and trying them out.
There are many different components to consider, and it’s a process. If you don’t consider your baby’s age, development, or temperament, you can use the PUPD technique till your arms fall off and your baby still won’t sleep. For that reason, I offer customized sleep plans and consultations to help parents with the entire process. I offer tons of advice on my site, but after numerous emails, I realized that everyone’s situation is very unique. So if your baby is still not sleeping well, I would be glad to help!
Cry it out is not the only option, no cry sleep training is possible!!!