A Guide to Sleep Training Your Baby According to Science
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A Guide to Sleep Training Your Baby According to Science

When bringing a newborn baby home, one of the most typical troubles parents encounter is their own sleep deprivation due to baby not sleeping well. Newborn babies need delicate care day and night, making it difficult for parents to get their much needed sleep. Eventually, not getting enough shut-eye is why many parents turn to baby care books and experts to find a solution.

One of the ways parents can achieve their own good night’s sleep is newborn sleep training. However this is a method that has divided parents’ views. There are parents who view sleep training a baby as distressing because parents, especially mothers, feel hardwired to respond to their babies’ cries and feel its counterintuitive to ignore a fussy or crying baby. However, other parents find sleep training helpful because of its benefits in getting baby to adjust to a regular sleep schedule – ensuring sound sleep for everyone in the family.

So what exactly is sleep training and what does science say about its efficacy?

What is Sleep Training?

To put it simply, sleep training teaches babies to fall asleep with no assistance from parents. It's usually done during bedtime and when they wake up in the middle of the night. The goal is to aid the baby in self-soothing when they awake as well as to help them stay asleep throughout the night. Some babies can adjust to a sleep routine quickly, but others may take time.

If you’re planning on sleep training your baby, you can select a sleep training method you’re most agreeable with and think your baby will best respond to. It’s also crucial to choose a sleep training technique that you can sustain and follow through to ensure its success. Some of the popular methods used for sleep training babies include:

  • Cry It Out (CIO) Sleep Training – Referred to as “extinction sleep training,” this technique’s central principle is that it’s okay for babies to cry when they are put to bed after their parents leave their nursery. After going through your usual nighttime routine involving bathing, feeding, cuddling, and lullabies with your baby, the crucial step to CIO sleep training is to put them to bed while they are still awake. When they cry or fuss, the idea is to allow them to continue to do so until they tire themselves out and fall asleep on their own. The key to this method is to avoid comforting your baby even when they cry as long as they are not sick, don’t have any injuries, are fully fed, and are in fresh diapers.
  • Fading Method – Also called “camping out,” this sleep training method involves staying with your baby in the nursery until they sleep. After finishing your baby’s bedtime routine, you can quietly stay by their side and eventually move further away each night. You can start by sitting beside their crib and then move further to the wardrobe until you can finally leave your baby alone to sleep on their own.
  • Ferber Sleep Training – Also known as “check and console”, this sleep training method is similar to CIO. However, instead of allowing your baby to cry until they fall asleep, the Ferber sleep training technique involves you gradually assisting your baby to sleep. The method instructs you to check on your baby at set intervals – for example, every 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes – so that baby gets used to you not immediately soothing them. The intervals are meant to gradually increase in one night or across multiple nights until you won’t have to soothe baby back to sleep anymore.

Research and Professionally-Backed Benefits of Sleep Training

Ensuring your newborn has a good quality of sleep is important for their growth and development in those crucial first few months. Uninterrupted sleep can quickly be achieved with sleep training the baby. With better sleep, your baby's cognitive and behavioural development improves because it allows your baby’s brain to recharge. By the time they wake up, they can actively explore the absorb new information about the world around them.

Research has shown that sleep training is helpful for parents and baby. It can help your baby learn how to self-soothe, making them capable of sleeping alone early. It also teaches your child to get used to a bedtime routine, sleep longer, and get used to their circadian rhythm because they are less exposed to noise and other factors that can arouse them, such as bright lights and sudden movements. It can also help your baby get used to sleeping alone in their nursery after the six month mark, especially if you were room-sharing with your baby prior to that.

If sleep training sounds right for your family, how do you go about starting the process?

To start with, there’s no exact “sleep training age” when you can begin. The most crucial factor is that you and your baby have to be ready as it will take time for baby to adjust, and can be emotionally taxing for parents as well. It is possible for infants to start sleep training around three to six months when they are able to self-soothe.

Equipment to help with Sleep Training

Having the right equipment to aid in sleep training your baby is crucial to your success. If possible, the following nursery essentials will help a great deal in succeeding in sleep training:

  • Bedside cot
  • Baby cot mattress
  • Night light
  • Air conditioner or fan
  • Baby monitor

Ensuring that your baby can sleep safely and soundly in a bedside cot with a comfortable baby mattress is key to a smooth sleep training journey. If you’re planning on starting newborn sleep training by the time your baby reaches six months, you can also purchase a convertible baby cot from a trusted furniture store in Singapore. This type of bedside cot typically comes with movable sides and a bottom that can be lowered, allowing it to last until your child’s toddler years as a toddler cot or bed. This makes it one of the most versatile and cost-effective furniture choices for any baby nursery in Singapore.

Other essentials such as nightlights, air conditioner, fans, and baby monitors can give you peace of mind that your child is sleeping in a calm and relaxing room. Nightlights are great for setting a sleep-inducing mood, while an air conditioner or fan prevents your baby from getting hot – just make sure that you’ve set it to a temperature that’s suitable for babies. Getting a baby monitor is also essential to allow you to keep monitoring your baby from afar, soothing your nerves if you can’t go in and calm a fussing baby. 

Find the Best Baby Cots and Mattresses in Singapore

Palette Box offers a wide range of nursery essentials such as bedside cots and cribs, baby mattresses, and nursery furniture in Singapore to help with sleep training and more. We understand that children grow fast in a blink of an eye so our furniture collection is designed to last from the newborn stage to their toddler years. Peruse our online catalogue to find the best baby furniture, bedding, and accessories, or you can also schedule a visit to our Singapore showroom to personally check out our collection.

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