Many parents do not prefer Ferber’s ‘cry it out’ technique to sleep train the baby. Ignoring the child’s crying and letting him wail, goes next to parental instinct. Pediatrician William Sears and adviser Elizabeth Pantley feel that letting the child cry till he falls asleep, would make him loose his faith in adults around him and he might initiate disliking bedtimes. So, some parents may prefer to try baby sleep training by no tears method.
Sears’s method advocates that parents should gradually allow baby to learn to sleep on his own. Sleep sharing, reassuring baby by rocking, nursing etc at bedtime can establish good sleep habits and easier ways of sleep training.
Pantley’s no cry solutions say that the sleep training method should be gentle, keeping in mind that each child and his needs are different. Pantley feels that baby should be cuddled, nursed till hi is sleepy and should then be put in his crib she suggests that keeping track of baby’s sleep, nap and night wakeup patterns can help in baby sleep training by no tears method.
Suggestions for no tears method:
- Baby should be put to sleep before he overtires himself delaying would only make it more difficult to put him to sleep and stay asleep. Babies made to sleep early may sleep for long periods.
- If baby’s bedtime is brought to earlier hours, it should not be done suddenly, but gradually by shifting bedtime a little every day.
- If baby has a proper nap routine, it is easier to uphold night sleep schedule.
- A comforting bedtime routine of few rituals like, bath, change of clothes, a feed or a song, helps a long way in making baby sleep with no fuss. As far as possible, the routine should be followed frequently at same time and in same order.
- If the baby has enough feeding during day, the chances of him getting up throughout night for feeds are considerably less.
- If some soft sounds or phrases (called key sounds) are frequent every night or during night wake ups, the baby would take it as a sign to go to sleep.
- Soothing conditions like dim lights, less noise can help getting drowsy baby to sleep quickly. ‘White noise’ or monotonous comforting sounds like a whirring fan or taped sounds of ocean, rain etc can be helpful warm bed (pre-warmed with hot bottle or heated pads) is good for inducing sleep faster.
- Parents should respond only if baby is really awake and crying at night. In case of slight disturbances baby should be given some time to allow to fall back to sleep.
Baby sleep training by no tears method may require more time than ‘cry it out’ method, but it is less worrying for both baby as well as parents.