One thing that a ton of new parents struggle with is not getting your baby to be able to sleep steadily throughout the night. This can cause a lot of sleepless nights for Mom and Dad that can leave you feeling drained and frustrated. This is where the importance of proper sleep training can really have a huge effect. Below are just some of the ways that parents can implement certain things to help make sure their child sleeps for longer and more soundly.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine along with other pediatric resources, assert that an estimated 70% of children under age 10 will have some degree of sleep problem. These can be expressed in bedwetting, sleepwalking, parasomnia, or less frequent, delayed sleep syndrome. Several Children’s Hospitals across the country offer evaluation and treatment of sleep disorders in children up through late adolescence. One such facility is Miller Children’s Hospital, associated with the Stramski Disorders Center.
Medical Director, Gary Feldman states in the video, “How To Prepare For Sleep Training For Your Child” to first identify that there is a sleep problem. Many may rationalize or deny that their child does have ongoing issues with sleep hygiene. Once the sleep problem is established, parents need to agree to be committed to a behavioral program that will in time produce treatment that is effective. Understanding that implementing behavior modification involves time and effort on all concerned is essential from the outset according to Feldman.
The Stramski Disorders Center is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and located in Los Angeles, California. It offers evaluation and treatment of sleep disorders for children from birth to late adolescence. These include behaviors resistant to sleep, respiratory, and non-respiratory disorders. Specialists in this field largely agree a thorough medical examination is the first order of business in evaluating and treating sleep issues.
Pediatric resources such as the Baby Center identify the first three months for the newborn involve a few hours of sleep, then awake times involving being fed and comforted. The newborn is dependent on the parent(s) to respond to his or her cries which indicate different wants or needs such as hunger, closeness, and needing to be changed. As the months progress, establishing a regular routine for waking, daytime naps, feeding, nighttime routine and sleeping, are important to establish and follow as closely as possible. This provides the infant a sense of security and structure. Adjustment is recommended in facets of the routine based on child’s age and maturity. It may vary from child to child if there are more than one in the household.
Implementing Sleep Training
It is largely believed that infants are ready for sleep training at some point between four and six months of age. The goal may be to have the child sleep for several hours through the night. Carefully considering which method may be comfortable to implement along with possible response by the child is important before embarking. The strategies include co-sleeping in the same bed or room with the child, extinction method where the child is tucked in and left to fall asleep on their own even if crying is involved. Gradual extinction method, which couples intermittent periods of comfort with departing the room and allowing the child to learn to self-sooth; nightly routine of a bath, lullaby, or story, then tucking the child in their bed when nearly asleep. It is recommended if resistance is persistent, then consult with the pediatrician and postpone temporarily.
With a little work it is possible that the entire family will be able to sleep better and on a regular schedule. Here is a video we came across that shows some very practical tips for sleep training your child.