If the idea of sleep training (leaving your baby to cry it out with no attention overnight or using controlled crying) leaves you uncomfortable, then you are not alone. In fact, research has shown that as many as 71% of parents would not choose or continue to use what are known as extinction methods of sleep training, due to the excessive stress they cause both parents and children. So what other options do you have when your older baby or toddler’s night-waking is taking a toll on your sleep, your body and your relationship? Luckily, there are things you can do to help everyone get a better night’s sleep.
When Can You Begin? The evidence is very clear that no form of sleep training should be used in the first six months of your baby’s life. Between six and 12 months, any modifications to your baby’s natural sleep pattern should only be undertaken if she is feeding and growing well, and has no underlying health issues. Beyond the first birthday, gentle sleep training methods can help your child adjust to sleeping, with less parental support — if you choose to.
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