The Crusader Newspaper Group

Should you sleep train your baby?

For many parents of babies, sleep can be quite the challenge. And with so much information and countless opinions out there, it’s difficult to know what might work best for your child. One component of sleep many parents struggle with is sleep training.

“People often wonder if they should sleep train their baby and how to do it,” says Dr. Innessa Donskoy, a pediatric sleep specialist at Advocate Children’s Hospital. “The concept can feel overwhelming and confusing to parents. Many people associate negative connotations with sleep training, like babies crying and being left alone. But “training” or “teaching” a child to do something is an active, involved process that stems from love and wanting them to succeed. Helping a child learn to sleep soundly doesn’t need to be negative at all. It’s a part of parenting just like potty training, riding a bike or learning math.”

Dr. Donskoy explains that sleep training is not a one-size-fits all method and can look different for every child – even between children in the same family. She dispels a few common sleep training myths to guide parents as they help their child develop healthy sleep habits.

Myth: There is one correct method to sleep train

Each child is unique and has their own set of needs. Some children may take a little more time falling asleep on their own, while others will pick it up right away. However, following a schedule is an important component of the process for all children, as they benefit from knowing what to expect, which in turn helps them relax and settle into sleep. Another critical piece of sleep for all children is safety. Remember to place your baby on their back in an empty crib or bassinet with the appropriate mattress and fitted sheet.

Myth: Consistently sleeping through the night should come naturally

A baby’s ability to sleep at least six uninterrupted hours overnight comes with time. Most babies do not start sleeping through the night until they are at least 3 months old, and many take longer than that. Creating a consistent bedtime routine, making sure your baby is eating enough throughout the day and creating a dark, calm sleep environment are all factors that can help your baby learn to sleep through the night.

Myth: You can’t sleep train a young baby

From the moment your baby is born, you can begin helping them practice the skill of falling asleep on their own by setting them down in a safe sleep environment drowsy but awake. This doesn’t mean you need to set your newborn baby down for every nap, but nurturing healthy sleep habits can begin right away and will go a long way in helping your child feel comfortable regularly falling asleep on their own.

“As a pediatric sleep medicine physician, I partner with families to assess what’s going on at home and how it relates to their child’s sleep,” explains Dr. Donskoy. “Pediatric sleep medicine teams can help provide an objective perspective and a plan moving forward tailored to your child and family’s unique needs and follow-up support to set you up for success.”

Are you trying to find a pediatrician? Look here if you live in Illinois. Look here if you live in Wisconsin. 

This article originally appeared on health enews.

Recent News

Scroll to Top