A method for sleep training called controlled crying has been the subject of many debates both online and offline. The method generally advises parents to ignore their child's cries at certain intervals - something that goes against the grain of being a parent. However, past and current medical studies have proven no long-term health risks associated with the controlled crying technique. Many parents have also given testimonies of its effectiveness in teaching their babies to self-soothe and fall back to sleep on their own. If you and your spouse are thinking of applying this method on your little one, then take note of the following points that you should know before making a final decision.

Recommendations for the Program's Effectiveness

Experts have emphasized sleep training as applicable only to babies older than six months. Naturally, pediatricians wouldn't dare advise parents to ignore their child's basic needs during the first six months. These are the times when care and attention to feeding, hygiene, and sleeping are crucial to a baby's development.

In addition, children who were adopted and had abandonment issues may not be the best candidates for this method. This could cause more emotional problems with the child later. Other situations wherein this program may not be applicable are when a child is teething and when the infant has a legitimate illness or medical condition that interrupts his or her sleeping pattern. Parents may apply other methods of sleep training, such as positive bedtime routines and camping out.

How Controlled Crying Works

Essentially, the parent is expected to set at increasing intervals their response times to their child's crying during the night. The child must first be exposed to positive routines at bedtime, such as feeding and burping, lullabies and cuddles, and kissing night-night before turning off the lights. This ensures that the cause of setting and waking problems during sleep isn't connected to chaotic bedtime routines or due to lack of affection and attention during the day.

Once the crying starts, parents are advised to come to the child's crib only after two minutes or so. The parent approaches the crib without hurry and pats the infant's stomach while softly shushing. However, the parent doesn't stay long enough to see the baby fall back to sleep. Also, babies who attempt to rise and signal the parent to pick them up are immediately discouraged through a gentle push back onto the crib with a comforting "shhhh" to soothe them.

The next time the baby cries, the parent goes into the room at a longer interval than before, maybe around four minutes or so. Just as before, the parent shushes the baby and leaves the room. This routine is done each time the baby cries while making the response time longer than before. Pretty soon the baby realizes that mommy or daddy isn't coming around as soon as they hear him cry. So, he starts falling back to sleep on his own without need of hugs and cuddles to lull him to sleep.

How to Learn the Technique

Sooner or later, parents will have to deal with their baby's unpredictable waking and settling problems during sleep. Baby shower gift ideas like a baby book that explains the method in simple terms can make a difference to first-time parents. This program also allows parents to send feedback to a trained professional who can guide them through the more challenging areas of sleep training.

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See more information on how to get baby books at TheGiftofSleep and learn more about controlled crying techniques.