Be ware of sleep trainers. Ever since parenting books found their way into the nursery, sleep trainers have touted magic formulas promising to get babies to sleep through the night – for a price and at a risk.
Most of these sleep-training techniques are just variations of the old cry-it-out method. And technology has found its way into nighttime babycare by providing tired parents with a variety of sleep-inducing gadgets designed to lull a baby off to sleep alone in her crib: oscillating cradles, crib vibrators that mimic a car ride, and teddy bears that “breathe.” All promise to fill in for parents on night duty.
Be discerning about using someone else’s method to get your baby to sleep. Before trying any sleep-inducing program, you be the judge. Run these schemes through your inner sensitivity before trying them on your baby, especially if they involve leaving your baby alone to cry. Does this advice sound sensible? Does it fit your baby’s temperament? Does it feel right to you?
If your current daytime or nighttime routine is not working for you, think about what changes you can make in yourself and your lifestyle that will make it easier for you to meet your baby’s needs. This is a better approach than immediately trying to change your baby.
After all, you can control your own reactions to a situation. You can’t control how your baby reacts. Use discernment about advice that promises a sleep-through-the-night more convenient baby, as these programs involve the risk of creating a distance between you and your baby and undermining the mutual trust between parent and child. On the surface, baby training sounds so liberating, but it’s a short-term gain for a long-term loss. You lose the opportunity to get to know and become an expert in your baby.
Baby loses the opportunity to build trust in his caregiving environment. You cease to value your own biological cues, your judgment, and instead follow the message of someone who has no biological attachment, nor investment, in your infant.
Especially in the first six months, avoid sleep trainers who advise you to let your baby “cry-it-out.” Only you can know what “it” is and how to respond appropriately to your baby. Using the rigid, insensitive “let-him-cry-it-out” method has several problems.
First, it will undermine the trust your baby has for nighttime comfort.
Second, it will prevent you from working at a style of nighttime parenting until you find the one that works best for you and your family and third, it may keep you and your doctor from uncovering hidden medical causes of nightwaking. Nightfeedings are normal; frequent, painful nightwaking is not.