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Sleep Training 101 - Not Sleeping Like a Baby? Here's Help!

Getting enough sleep is one of the major challenges of the first years of parenthood. Sleepless nights ultimately affect the day, producing a fussy, cranky and inattentive baby. Irregular sleep for both mom and baby is unhealthy, unproductive and affects everyone.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, no one method of sleep training is better than another, the key is consistency. There are multiple ways to help your baby get some shut-eye, and the most popular techniques range from little or no parent involvement to strong parent involvement. Here are some of the most popular methods parents can use as a guide to sleep training.


This sleep-training method encourages parents to let their baby cry until they put themself to sleep. The idea is that your baby needs to learn how to soothe themself if they wake up in the middle of the night without the use of props.


Possibly the best known sleep training practice, Ferberizing is an alternative to cry-it-out. Ferberizing promotes the child to be self-sufficient, but in a gradual way. The idea is that after the child is put to bed, they will inevitably begin to cry. One parent will periodically enter the room in gradual intervals to console the baby. This is done until they can fall asleep on their own.

Pick Up/Put Down

Pick up/put down is a middle-of-the-road philosophy on sleep. It is both a teaching tool and a problem-solving method. The method includes picking up the baby when they cry but putting them down immediately after they stop crying. This should be repeated as many times as necessary until they stop crying and fall asleep.

Gentle or No-Cry Methods

On the opposite end of the spectrum from cry-it-out, the no-cry method believes in removing all stress from baby’s sleep environment. The idea is that parents just have to accept the reality that their sleep will be less than ideal for the first couple years of baby’s life.

Regardless of the technique, the most important thing a family can do is to start a routine from the beginning. This may not include any sleep-training methods, but a routine will let your baby know that when you bathe your baby, read them a book or sing them a lullaby, it is signaling the start of a process toward bedtime.

How or even whether to sleep train your child is a very personal decision that impacts the whole family. There is no right or wrong way to sleep train as long as the process stays consistent and parents stay on the same page and follow through.

Moms need to remember that they aren’t alone, and if all else fails, think about using the help of a professional, like a sleep doula, because a good night’s sleep means a productive, attentive and happy family.

Cindy is a Registered Nurse and spokesperson for, an online community for moms, which offers expert advice, support and tips for women from the prenatal stage through the first few crucial years of motherhood. For more information, visit


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