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Finding the Right Sleep Training Method for Your Child

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

Hi there! You’ve reached this page because you’ve decided that you wish to find a Sleep Training Method in order to teach your little one the skill of independent sleep so that bedtime isn’t a battle, you don’t have to have contact naps for every nap, and so you can get your little one sleeping longer stretches during the night…but perhaps you aren’t sure where to begin…you are definitely NOT alone!

If your little one is at least 4 months old and/or has begun to show signs of the 4 month sleep regression (which is actually a sign your little one’s sleep cycles are maturing to be more complex like us adults’ sleep cycles), it’s a great time to start determining which Sleep Training Method is the right fit for your family!

In this post, I’ll walk you through some of the most common Sleep Training Methods and when they are likely to be most effective for your little one.

Let’s consider the common methods in order of most “hands on” to least “hands on.”

1. “Just sit” method Ideal for: Newborns and young babies Babies who are used to contact sleeping and/or being rocked to sleep Not ideal for: Parents who want a “quick” solution Toddlers and preschoolers not used to contact sleeping

2. “Pick up/Put down” method Ideal for: Newborns and young babies Parents who wish to pick their child up to calm them Not ideal for: Parents who want a “quick” solution Parents who cannot lift their child up and down repeatedly Parents of older babies/toddlers or babies who are too stimulated by being picked up/parent presence

3. “Shush-Pat” method Ideal for: Newborns and young babies Parents who are unable to use pick up/put down Not ideal for: Parents who want a “quick” solution Parents who have a hard time fading their support Parents of older babies/toddlers who are too stimulated by touch/parent presence

4. Chair method Ideal for: Parents who wish to stay in the room to support their child Parents who have previous co-slept or stayed with child while they fall asleep Children with separation anxiety Children in cribs or big kid beds Not ideal for: Parents who want a “quick” solution or have a hard time staying consistent Children who are too stimulated by parent presence

5. Ferber method Ideal for: Parents who are okay with some crying but still wish to check in with child Parents who wish for faster results/less overall crying Children still in cribs Not ideal for: Parents who wish to hear no crying or wish to stay in the room during sleep training Children who are in big kid beds and/or stimulated by checkins from parents

6. Extinction method Ideal for: Babies 4-8 months Parents who are okay with some crying Parents who wish for fast results and are good at sticking to a plan Not ideal for: Very young babies or toddlers/preschoolers Children experiencing separation anxiety Parents who cannot stay committed Parents that hate to hear crying

So these are the most common methods…now, what can you do with this info? There are two options:

Option 1: You can continue to research two or more of these Sleep Training methods on your own. For example, you can read a book or two, research up to date studies on the methods online, and decide which method you want to use. Once you have that in mind, you can write down your sleep goals, then write a 1-2 week Sleep Plan to implement, implement it, and track your progress! (Note, I launched a new Infant Sleep Training course for infants 6-12 months in a partnership with Welcome Home Baby, LLC that can help you complete this option, too! Note: the course is totally relevant for younger infants and older toddlers as well!).

Option 2: You could hire a Sleep Coach. Their entire job is to gather a ton of information about your child and your family and then write a Sleep Plan (a step-by-step guide) specific to your child. At Quietude Sleep Consulting, we offer several sleep coaching packages to fit your budget. All of them begin with a detailed Comprehensive Sleep Questionnaire that we use to create a fully customized sleep plan for your family’s goals and preferences. Then we work together for 2-3 weeks through phone consultations and text support to ensure your success and to troubleshoot any challenges that arise along the way. Last, you even have the option to purchase follow-up support from your Sleep Coach so that even if your little one experiences a sleep regression, we can help you get right back on track. Learn more about our programs here!

Option 3: I know, I said two options…but let’s be honest, it’s also possible that you may choose path one and end up on path two and that’s okay, too. Or you choose path one and find you’d like a little support through a consulting call to fine-tune what you’re doing to reach your goals. We’ve got you there, too – just Request a Free Sleep Assessment and we can guide you to the right option!

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