What is Sleep Training?
Sleep training, sometimes referred to as sleep teaching or sleep learning, is the process of helping your baby learn to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. Some babies develop these sleeping habits on their own while others may need structured help to establish healthy sleeping. Every baby and family is different and there is no one right way to sleep train.
Why is it Important?
New parents can attest to the strenuous schedule of having a newborn. Once a baby is old enough to begin following a structured sleep schedule, it is important for both the child’s development and the health of the household to implement a plan to help baby sleep through the night.
A 2007 study from the National Institute of Health associated critical brain development with adequate sleep. Having a structured sleep schedule will benefit a baby’s development.
Sleeping through the night will not only help your baby grow and develop, it will allow everyone in the house to be better rested and attentive to the baby’s development.
Popular Sleep Training Methods
There is no one right way to sleep train. Every baby and family is different and should adhere to the method that works best for their unique lifestyle. Some common sleep training methods outlined by The Bump explain the range of approaches.
1. No Tears Method – Also known as the no-cry method, this technique involves subtle shifts in the child’s sleeping habits. For example, if baby is always rocked to sleep, the parent would shorten the time rocking little by little until baby can be put down without it.
2. Cry it Out (CIO) Method – This method is based on the belief that baby can learn to soothe herself if left alone. Baby is closely monitored to ensure that no physical need (feeding, changing, etc.) is present, but not interfered with while she’s learning to fall asleep.
3. Weissbluth Method – Similar to the CIO method, the Weissbluth method recommends using a structured bedtime routine (bath, rocking, lullaby) before putting the baby to sleep. Then parents leave the room and do not re-enter until the next morning. From The Bump:
“I tried this, and the first night was awful,” says Jen, a mom of one, who did the Weissbluth method at 4 months. “I turned on the shower and sat in the bathroom so I wouldn’t hear my son cry. But I was watching the baby monitor and saw that after an hour, he found his thumb and fell asleep. The next night was maybe 40 minutes of crying, then 20 minutes the night after that. He’s always happy in the morning, and I feel this was the right choice.”
4. Ferber Method – Also known as timed-interval sleep training, modified sleep training or graduated extinction sleep training. This method involves putting baby down and returning to check on him at different intervals. Begin with 5-10 minutes checks, verbally soothing but not picking up, then gradually move to longer intervals of time between checks until baby is sleeping through the night.
5. Chair Method – This method can be useful for older babies who may suffer from separation anxiety. It involves sitting in a chair next to baby’s crib until she falls asleep. Each following night, the chair is moved farther away from the crib until parent is no longer in the room.
6. Pick-Up-Put-Down Method – This sleep training method is essentially the Ferber method of checking on baby at gradually longer intervals. Unlike the Ferber method, you can pick up baby to comfort him for a few minutes before putting him back down.
Find more information on these sleep training methods at The Bump.
Is it Better to Hire a Professional to Help with Sleep Training?
There are many different options for sleep training and the best option for you is as unique as your family. Deciding on and implementing the right sleep training method for you and your baby can seem like a daunting task. For first time parents, or those with busy lifestyles, we recommend working with a qualified newborn care specialist from birth.
What is a Newborn Care Specialist?
Newborn care specialists, also called baby nurses or maternity nurses, specialize in infant and newborn care during the first months of a baby’s life. Their main priority is the infant’s care as well as coaching and providing support to parents. Typically a specialist will work either a 12 or 24-hour shift depending on the needs of the family.
For new parents, the ultimate goal is to help teach infant-care and child development while guiding them on taking charge of the infant’s schedule, safety and well-being so that they will be autonomous when the specialist’s term is up.
What Can a Newborn Care Specialist Do Beyond Sleep Training?
Newborn care specialists can assist with the full spectrum of newborn care and may be certified in areas including but not limited to:
- Alternate Feeding Methods
- Sleep Training
- Psychological Development
More often than not, baby nurses and newborn care specialists are experts with concentrated populations such as twins and triplets, premature infants, newborns with special needs, mothers interested in surrogate pregnancy options, and any other newborns who might need extra attention. They can range greatly in their education levels and skill sets. Some have worked in a hospital’s newborn care unit, as a midwife, as a doula, in an alternative birthing center, or as a baby nurse in a private home.
When Should You Hire a Newborn Care Specialist?
It is good practice to hire your newborn care specialist when your doctor confirms your due date. Most are booked up to a year in advance, so planning early will make certain you are matched with the ideal care-giver. Arranging your care early will also mean more time to enjoy pregnancy or preparation time for the family. Specialists typically schedule their booking to be on call 2 weeks before and 1 week after a baby’s due date to ensure availability.
See Frequently Asked Questions on hiring a newborn care specialist or baby nurse.
Hiring a Newborn Care Specialist with BAHS
British American Household Staffing provides high quality, professional, certified and trained newborn care specialists and baby nurses to families based in the United States and Europe. Our nurses fully encourage the parents while assisting in all forms of infant care and development.
Average salaries range from $30 to $60 an hour. Tenure can vary in range from four weeks up to one year. Contact our office to speak with a recruiter about your needs and ideal schedule.