What sleep training methods have you tried?

With so many different sleep training methods out there, it can be hard to no which one you should try. What methods of sleep training have you used with your children and at what ages? What worked well and what didn't?

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19  Answers

77 2

I don't believe in sleep training at all. Children's sleep cycles are not like adults. They wake more often than we do and for kids, nighttime can be a scary time sometimes. That being said, I am completely opposed to crying it out. Children don't learn to self soothe that way. It only works because children give up crying because you aren't responding. It doesn't address their initial need at all. Children have needs at night as well as during the day. Sometimes that need is only to be comforted or it may be that they're hungry or had a bad dream etc. If we don't respond to their cries, the only thing they're learning is they can't count on us to be there when they need us. I respond to my daughter every time she cries at night even if it's only for a couple minutes and as she's growing she's needing me less and less but she is a very secure child. She knows her momma and dada will be there whenever she needs us and that is an important lesson that can't be taught too early. We have a very secure attachment because of that and she feels safe exploring her independence during the day because she knows that we're there if she needs us and she has also learned that nighttime is not a scary time when she gets left alone, she actually likes going night night. She feels safe and secure and welcomes sleep knowing if she needs us we'll be there. It is one of the basic precepts of attachment parenting which I am a firm believer in. A secure and healthy attachment between a child and parent leads to a happy, healthy, secure and loving child. Crying it out can lead to fear and insecurity and I don't think anyone wants to foster those feelings in their kids.

6
77 2

I just wanted to add that "sleeping through the night" is not the same for a child as an adult. If a child sleeps 5-6 hours straight it is considered sleeping through the night by pediatricians. Even though it doesn't seem like it if we put our kids to bed at 8 or 9 and they wake up at 1 or 2 and again at 5 or 6 but that is considered sleeping through the night. Obviously they require more sleep than 5 or 6 but their sleep cycles are completely different than an adults. Most children cannot sleep 10-12 hours straight without waking at least once sometimes more. That is normal. Their brains are generally just not capable of more until they get older.

4 5

I completely agree with you. Children do need to know that their parents will be for them when they are needed.

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64 13

I tried "The Sleepeasy Solution" which basically has you check in on the child at 5,10 and eventually 20 minute intervals and it also had great ideas for creating a good bedtime routine and sleep conducive environment. The first night my daughter was asleep after 15 minutes , and the second night it took less than 10 and by the third and fourth nights she fell asleep with no protest. I tried the "No cry sleep solution" but I"m the kind of parent that needs specific step by step instructions and the "No cry" book didn't really provide that. And sitting by her crib and waiting for her to go to sleep on her own wasn't working for us either. It all depends on the child's temperment and personality but "Sleepeasy" worked really well for us.

3
1,738 8

I chose not to do any sleep "training," as I personally feel that falling asleep is developmental. I don't personally believe in CIO (letting a child cry - training them that you won't respond to them). My daughter has learned to sleep on her own when she's in a comforting environment.

3
4 1

I didn't use any recognised method with my five, each one is very different, some slept well, some didn't. Number 1 would go immediately go to sleep if she heard the vacuum cleaner and because of significant reflux (the projectile vommity sort) would scream if laid flat, so often slept on someone's shoulder or propped up in her cot, hopefully there are better solutions these days. Baby number 2 went to sleep really well in his cot right from the start and would only get fussy if for some reason we missed his sleep signals, number 3 liked to go to sleep with music playing (rock for preference) and if fussy loved fast rocking in the rocking chair. Number 4 hated to be left and loved being held, and number 5 was best if fed, held a little then put down sleepy. We gave our babies a chance to see if they would settle themselves. Most babies are fine left to fuss a bit and self settle however some really have trouble getting the hang of it.

We found having a calm bedtime routine as the baby got older was really helpful, by the time they were one we had a pretty standard one, dinner, a little quiet play, bath, clean teeth, a drink (or breast feed, I fed some up to 18months), Myself or their dad read a story in their room, prayers, a good night kiss and night night. Most kids seem to prefer a routine and a calm one works best at night.

I think that single methods don't take into consideration the varying circumstances, needs and issues of babies and their parents. Some babies have significant problems as do some parents, they need extra support and compassion. I reckon that if a particular methods works for you, be grateful, share your story and accept that it won't necessarily work for everyone.

2
5 17

i dont believe in sleep trainings
especially as cruel as "controlled crying"! it is very hard and should never be used. controlled crying was established by Dr Ferber and just to be used when the parents are just before abusing their child! if parents just use it, because they want a little adult and not a child, they are bad parents in my eyes!

2
4 3

My daughter has slept through the night since 3 weeks old.. from 9pm to 8 or 9am... and still does most of the time... so it is possible for everyone that is saying their brains are not capable. and i believe the more we allow them to get up in the night that will eventually create a habit for them.

1
7 14

My hubby & I did the Ferber method. It was a great investment for all of us. My son was 4-6months old when we started the Ferber method. The process lasted only a week at the most. It definitly worked too. I kept the monitor next to me each night to hear him cry. Just to make sure the crys were normal crys & not pain crys. Listening to my son cry was a little tough & I even had to turn down the monitor sometimes. My hubby suggested the idea of turning down the monitor because I almost gave in a few times to go into his room to check on him.I'll admit I did go in & check on him maybe the 1st couple of nights because I was getting use to the Ferber mothod myself. So (I) he did eventually learn that he needed to sooth himself & fall sleep by himself. Ever since then, he's been sleeping through the night. Even now at 22 months old, if he has a little cry in the middle of the night & wakes, I still don't go to him. That's all it is, a little cry. He normally cries for only a minute or two. Of course unless he's got a cold etc. I'll go check on him but it's rare. We've ALL been sleeping through the night since he learned this Ferber method. I even put some certain (approved by me of course) toys that he can't hurt himself w/ into his crib so he can play a little by himself in the mornings before he feels like calling for me. I also use a sound machine too. Naps during the day are suppose to help sleep at night too. Read it somewhere & wish I could remember where I read it. I always try to put my son down B4 he's too tired too or else he doesn't fall asleep for his nap time.Naps are getting difficult because he's getting older now & he's down to only one nap a day now. I basically did the same thing with just being consistant w/ what I did & said before nap/bedtime. We think it's helping him be a little more independent in a way w/ all we've done regarding the sleeping techniques alone. Isn't that what we're trying to raise & have our kids learn anyway? To be smart, safe & independent? Also that is the ONLY method we tried. We trusted the method, went for it & it worked. Good luck. Hope this helps.

1
15 33

Pavlov was right. We started by playing a specific song when he was sleeping in his crib. Slowly we moved on to playing it when we placed him in the crib to sleep. Now we find that when he's fighting sleep, if we take him to his crib and play the song, when we lay him down he curls right up and goes to sleep.

1
34 0

We did the cry it out method...it's not easy but the few days of pain, I thought, were worth the investment. But at the end of the day, this is a very personal choice. You have to do what you think is best for you and your child and what feels right.

0
55 0

Finally we found something that worked for us: http://childsleepsolution.info/
Very happy that we found this method on the internet, we all are having a good night's rest now. Can really recommend it!

0
11 0

So after reading about 10 books we decided to follow our pediatricians' advice and let our 2month old little girl CIO. First night was brutal (mostly for me). She cried in total about 2 hours- broken up throughout the night. The next night it was easier and then easier. But then it got hard again and she cried for about 4hours. In a week she had stopped crying but was still waking up. After 2 weeks she now sleeps from 7pm till 7am. CIO is not for everyone. It took me a lot to get there emotionally and I almost gave up a few times; my husband was great with supporting whatever decision I made and helped me keep my mind off her crying. She is a very happy baby now that she knows her routine and we are much happier now that we have sleep back in our lives. But I believe that in the end of the day whatever method you choose will work; as long as you are consistent and follow your good judgement it will all be fine.

0
31 0

I don't know that it's a 'method' but we just basically worked on finding a routine that work for all of us. At the same time everynight, we change her into a nighttime diaper, put lotion on her, put her in clean jammies and a sleepsack. Then we feed her baby cereal, a bottle and rock her for a bit. Sometimes she falls asleep and sometimes she is just relaxed and drousy. We then carry her to her crib. If she's asleep already, we are all set but if she's awake we just pop a soother in her mouth, pat her good night and leave. We leave a fan on in the room to create some white noise to help drown out us moving around downstairs and we play some nature sounds. We usually don't hear from her again until 4am, when she'll have a bottle and go back to sleep until 7am or so. It definitely took some time, trail and error to figure out what worked for us. She used to go to sleep at 11pm but we just gradually moved her bedtime earlier.

0
6 0

We sometimes play white noise for our 12 week old. I use this iphone app which plays soothing noises. You can record your own sounds or voice too.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/soothe-my-baby/id563177086?ls=1&mt=8

0
109 0

A lot of different things until I finally got it right. Take a look http://violet-sleepbabysleep.blogspot.com/

0
21 19

neither of my boys slept well until they started walking. luckily the first started walking at 10 months the second is now 9 months and walking. My first i had to rock to sleep and play music. My second i can lay him down in bed and sometimes he fusses for a little while but eventually lays down. I used to have to walk him around the room a little, but i got tired of doing that so i started training him. I would put him in his bed and when he would stand up and cry i would go sit down across the room. i would repeat saying "lay down" in a calm, normal, voice and when he would lay down i would immediately go to him and rub his back. If he got up I would go sit back down across the room and do the same process. It took him a 1/2 hour the first night then a little less the second night. the third night was like 10 minutes. now he knows the process pretty good and will sometimes (if he is fighting sleep) will stand up and cry once, maybe twice. By the way, he was 8 months old, almost 9 months, when I did this so he was old enough to understand what I was doing and catch on pretty quick. There is an occasion that he will wake up once a night, but for the most part he has been sleeping from about 8:30pm until in between 6am and 7am.
I am much happier now that I can sleep more than 3-4 hours at a time.

0
27 13

I personally believe in sleep training and can't imagine otherwise in my family. My husband and I need sleep and I found that my babies slept much better once trained. I have done crying out (aka Ferber method) for both of my babies at four months. It took a couple of days to train the first, and the second took only one time a few minutes and then she found her own thumb and that was it. I also believe in following the routine. The babies learn quickly and if you follow the same routine every time you put them to bed, they will fall asleep easier and will be striving! Some babies can't self-sooth (I heard) and probably prefer to sleep with their parents. I guess each parent feels what works and what does not for his/her baby.

0
3 5

With my first child i didn't do any sleep training at all i just let him sleep when he wanted to and as a result he didn't sleep more then 6 or 7 hours straight until he was a little over a year old. my second child i didn't really do any sleep training with either, but at night when she was a newborn i let her just fall asleep on me and sleep for as long as she wanted. she very quickly started sleeping 9 hours (or more) straight. so now when i put her to bed i lay her down on her tummy in her bed and pat her back like i did when she fell asleep on me. and now she sleeps in her own bed and for no less then 9 hours.and i know that children are suppose to sleep on their backs but imyself and brother slept on our tummies and we're still alive today! i dont put anything in the bed with her and and she can hold her head up and move it around.

0
10 3

My first child is a wonderful sleeper. She was great at self soothing and falling asleep w/ out help from her parents and not only that but slept and still sleeps for long periods of time. She was sleeping through the night at two months and now she is 2 1/2 and sleeps 11 hrs at night and still takes an hour to 2 hour nap. My son however is a different story. He is now 11 months and I can count the number of times he has slept through the night on my fingers. On top of that I'm lucky if he takes two 1/2 hour naps. We have tried setting a bed time routine. Doesn't seem to do any good. If he doesnt go to bed aleady asleep he won't go to sleep. We'e tried letting him cry 10 to 15 minutes, but since he and his sister share a room we don't like to disturb her sleep and it doesn't work anyway. We just pray he falls asleep quiclkly every night, but most nights we're up to midnight w/ him. He then usally wakes up at 6 and wants to nurse or be soothed again. Sometimes he's up at 3 and 6. His sister gets us all up at 8am. I worry constantly that he's not getting enough sleep.

0
18 20

I waited until my daughter was 11 months before I tried controlled crying, I was very reluctant but after 3 months of patting her to sleep every hour all night long I was going crazy! It didn't work anyway and when she got to 12 months I went into her room, told her to close her eyes and go to sleep and she did. My son I always put down awake right from the get go and I've never had a problem at night, during the day is a bit harder, I put the radio on the static noise and it works beautifully, unless he is unwell!

0
18 20

I believe this post asked what sleep training methods you used? Am I wrong? It really gets me wild when other people pass judgement on other people's parenting techniques. It's not helpful at all, especially when you have no idea what's going on in my house.

5 17

not at all! i am just informed about "controlled crying" and if you would know about the hormons and all the things, that go around in a childs system while crying alone, you would think differently. there are also chances, that babys and children, that had to deal with "controlled crying" are less more confident, selfcounsious and have more problems, to find a long term relationship. thiese are scientic things you can read, and not just my personal thoughts. an 11 months old baby always has something, that ist not allright, when it doesnt want to sleep alone. why didnt you try familybed, why not a sling, why not trying, to think about the bedtime? there are a lot of methods, to help a baby sleep, the last way should be "controlled crying" and yes, i dont know, how your family situation is, so you also know mine and my profession!

18 20

Thanks for that Carina, just came across as slightly judgemental. I actually reseached it alot my self and up until that point did not agree with any form of letting them cry, and the only reason I tried it was because it had been 3 very long months of waking every hour on the hour and having to be patted back to sleep, Im not exagarating either. Even sleeping in the bed with me didn't work, she would still wake every hour and I would have to pat her until she was out cold. Never did figure out the problem, its like what one of the other ladies said, when she turned 1 she just decided she could sleep all on her own. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. As it turns out she is now a very well adjusted, confident 5 year old and I have a wonderful relationship with her. My son, is the complete opposite, he actually prefers to sleep alone, not sure how that happened. Accept that Mia was my first and I was absolutely clueless with, i had never even heard of controlled crying until someone at playgroup suggested it. Just curious, you may know. Does using those methods always have that effect? The reason I ask is because thats the method my parents used (before people new better) and I am well adjusted and my mum is my best friend.

5 17

i dont believe, that every child is getting damaged by "controlled crying" there are no surveys or soever, that say that. but the hormons and all the things that go on are the same, while tourgoring prisonors or are found in kidnap victims: hormons that show fear and (i should get my dictionary, sorry) lonileness... i believe, that a lot of children, that had to be alone, are "normal" but by normal it is just again the question "would we be normal?" so it shows in your situation a picture of a lot of stuff you tried, that the sleeping solution is best for everybody. but in the end, the weakest member of the family had to loose. i hope, i can describe what i mean, and again, i am not judgemental about you, i am very judgemental about the "controlled crying". i believe, that parents should be at their childrens site at all time. even, when they cant describe why they are crying. a baby cant say "i am lonely, pls stay with me, the darkness scares me and my mouth hurts kinda, but i dont know why it hurts all of a sudden" i have a "bad" sleeper myself, but i dont describe him as a bad sleeper. he sleeps top 7 hrs but this was at about 10 times in his short life - he turns 18 months in febrary. i am still nursing and it is good for both of us. he is sleeping in our bed and we are ok with it. we had periods over about 6 weeks, when he woke up every hour, he was screaming and crying but not awake. in this time, i was really pissed over the day, but i also tried my best, to get rest, while he rested and took a nap. it was a hard time, i was about jumping out the window. but i always thought about, how he felt: he didnt know, why he was seeing more (growing mentally and physically), he didnt know, why his mouth hurt..... i am not the perfect mother, oh no. but i think, if we all try our best, we shouldnt get a bad councouis, when somebody writes something. i believe, that parents (ok, there are bad ones, but i leave them out) that get informed and do a thing at one time, but find out it is an old way to do it, they shouldnt have a bad feeling about it: we can only do things that way, that we know at the time. infos that come later, are too late.

18 20

You know it's funny, well not funny but when I look back at that time, I was being selfish. It was more about what I needed and not what she needed. So what your saying makes perfect sence! I think that's why my son is so different with his sleeping, because I am more relaxed and more concerned about him rather than me. Like I said I was absolutely clueless with my first child or should I say baby!

8 6

Not sure what sleep training is exactly, but I did make sure that my children went to bed at regular times every night. At 3 months, both my son and daughter were sleeping past the 3am feeding because I usually gave them a top-up bottle right before midnight (I breast-fed and used formula) and this helped them sleep longer. My son used to sleep really well at night, but after his sister was born, he developed problems falling asleep and preferred to sleep on the sofa with a bottle while we watched TV. So I switched off the TV. Everytime he tried to sneak out of his room, I'd quietly but firmly lead him back to bed, sit with him, and tell him to sleep. Around this time, we went on holiday and my daughter needed 3 bottles before drifting off to sleep. When we returned, I decided it was enough and restricted her to one bottle. The first night she asked for more, I said "No more milk. You get one bottle only." She cried herself to sleep for two nights. On the third night, when she asked for milk and got the same reply, she turned over and went straight to sleep. Sometimes, when both kids are whining and acting up, I will tell them that I will only be in the room if they are quiet and sleeping. As soon as one makes a peep, I get up and head for the door. This puts them back in quiet mode and they eventually drift off to sleep. Best thing is to just keep still, don't move, don't talk. Sit next to them, hold their hand, give them a short massage. And then don't do anything at all except sit them out. Then shorten the time until you just need to take them to bed, say good night, and leave.

1 0

My little man is 7 1/2 months and I have tried many of the suggestions spoken about here. One thing I learnt is that one method may work for a while, and then things change. For example, at 7 weeks my son woke up at least twice a night, at 10 weeks he was sleeping all night through and I thought I was home free, and then he was back at waking up around twice per night! My son needs very little sleep I suppose, he wakes up after 30 minutes after a nap. I've tried to gently teach him how to sleep and this has taken at least two months. (No-cry sleep solution) To start off I tried nursing him to sleep and although he did fall asleep, he didn't stay asleep. So then worked on undoing the nipple-sleep association by gently removing my nipple and swaying him to sleep. We also had a routine, cue sounds (waves from a sound machine) and cue gestures (rocking in my arms) Then started putting him in the crib almost asleep and pat his bottom until he dosed off. However, he still woke up frequently, he didn't stay asleep very long. As well, I wanted to ween the night feedings, so I started to give him "dream feeds". It was difficult to sway him in my arms back to sleep when he woke up as he is getting bigger. I was determined not to let him cry so sometimes I'd try to "help" him back to sleep but it got frustrating for both of us and I think he wanted to sleep but just didn't know how and all I was doing didn't work anymore and so he just cried looking at me as if he were saying "I don"t know how to do it !" But me doing it for him wasn't working either. Then I hurt my back and could barely hold him even sitting down in the rocking chair, let alone rock and bounce him in my arms until he falls asleep). So I continued with the routine we had, giving him extra cuddles, but then I put him in his crib, knowing that if he didn't fall asleep, I wouldn't be picking him up. So I let him cried and felt absolutely awful. I checked every 5 minutes, trying to reassure him he could fall asleep and it didn't go as badly as I thought it would. It took 35 minutes and didn't cry hard, but he was frustrated and angry. He didn't wake up until 6 am. The second night did't go as well, he woke up couldn't fall back asleep. This is the third night and he fell asleep within 15 minutes. I was totally against letting him cry himself to sleep and ended up doing it because I really did try everything and I couldn't go on bouncing him in my arms in the middle of the night to get him to sleep, he"s only getting bigger ! I had wanted to try the method of picking him up and putting him back down after he was soothed (Tracey Hogg), but I couldn't with my hurt back. We'll see how things go tonight, but it seems like he's learning that he can just let go and go to la la land. Today for his nap he didn't even wimper ! In a few days I really hope he doesn't cry every time I put him to bed... Not all babies need to be taught how to sleep. I wish I had the patience of helping him back to sleep every two hours or so like some moms do. But I could tell my little one was wasn't getting enough sleep. I don't feel I abandoned him in his crib, I tried to prepare him the best I could, but in the end he had to learn on his own.

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