Putting baby to sleep: Good news and helpful tips

Putting baby to sleep: Good news and helpful tips

Dr. Aaron E. Carroll shares some good news for new parents, as well as his expert advice regarding sleep deprivation and putting baby to sleep

New parents, if you could wish for one thing at this very moment, what would it be?

In the past, you probably would've said a million dollars, a new house, or even a fancy shmancy car. However, you're a restless new parent now, and there's no doubt that you wished for a good night's rest.

With your infant in the house, achieving a full night of shut eye can be damn near impossible. They require you to be attentive and ready at any given point of the day...or night. They need to be fed, they need to be changed, they need to comforted and consoled. All of these needs add up to one thing: an exhausted parent.

Sooner or later, your baby will reach an age when they can sleep through the night. However, the road to that destination can be long and winding. So, what to do in the meantime? How can parents put baby down to sleep?

Well, there are tons of ways to do so, and you've probably heard them all. Or, have you?

First of all, there's a method known as "Extinction"; otherwise known as the "cry it out" method. Parents subscribed to this method place babies in their cribs at a certain time, after a certain routine, and don’t interfere until the next morning.

No matter how much the babies scream or cry, parents ignore them. After all, if babies learn that tantrums lead to the appearance of a loved one, they will continue that behavior in the future.

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As time has passed by, parents have implemented a revised version of this strategy called "Graduated Extinction". It's the same in theory, but instead of letting baby cry it out all night long, parents let baby cry it out for a short period of time. Then a little longer the next time, then even longer the next, etc. The goal is to develop a routine in which baby can sleep all through the night with no intervening from moms and dads.

According to The New York Times, there's another method for getting abby to sleep: “Bedtime Fading.” The point of this plan is to teach your children how to fall asleep on their own at bedtime, in the hope that if they develop this skill, when they wake up in the middle of the night they’ll choose to employ it rather than call for you. With fading, you temporarily set bedtime later than usual and preface it with a good bedtime routine. Your babies learn that bedtime is fun, and have little trouble falling asleep because they’re more tired than usual. Then you move their bedtime earlier and earlier, so that infants learn how to put themselves to sleep when they are less and less tired.

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A fourth method is “Scheduled Awakenings.” In this method, a parent tries to disrupt spontaneous awakening by getting up in the middle of the night to wake children 15 to 30 minutes before they usually wake up on their own. They then help the baby fall back asleep. The scheduled awakenings are later phased out.

Any way you slice the pie, these methods can put a lot of pressure and stress on mommies and daddies. Not only that, but it leads to mild or extreme sleep deprivation in many adults. According to pediatrician Aaron E. Caroll, sleep deprivation leads to significant and serious consequences in adults.

Dr. Carroll notes a 2008 study published in Pediatrics that pointed out that mothers of infants with sleep problems, in which no intervention was tried, were more likely to report symptoms of clinical depression when their child was 2 years old. Sleep problems also lead to significant parental stress, and, potentially, physical punishment.

Sounds rough! Find out what good news Dr. Aaron E. Carroll has for new parents and their sleep problems, and which method for sleep training works best! Visit the next page for more info!

Good news parents!

Dr. Aaron E. Carroll claims that almost all interventions work!

As he reports, in 2006, a systematic review was published in the journal Sleep that examined all the relevant research on the efficacy of these interventions. Ninety-four percent of the 52 reviewed studies found that the interventions led to improved sleep, and more than 80% of children who were treated improved significantly.

The strongest evidence supported the extinction method and parent education (i.e., prevention). Still, there was evidence that also supported the graduated extinction, fading and scheduled awakenings methods.

Many people continue (and will continue) to feud over which method works best. And, honestly, it's not hard to see why. Many parents don't just think they're method is the right choice, but they think that other strategies cause psychological issues for their children later down the road. However, Dr. Carroll thinks those parents are exaggerating their claims.

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According to him, a small study published recently followed children who were randomly sorted to use graduated extinction, fading or parent education. Besides looking at the effectiveness of the intervention on sleep, researchers measured the cortisol hormone in infants’ saliva (as a measure of stress) as well as mothers’ moods and stress. Again, all of the interventions worked to improve sleep. More important, none caused any concerning levels of stress. This confirmed the findings of two previous studies that found that infant sleep problems, and the interventions used to remedy them, do not predict long-term outcomes, even at 6 years of age.

When it comes down to it, parents don't have it easy when it comes to putting baby to sleep at night. While it can be difficult to cope with the new lifestyle and sleeping schedule, it's important to remain levelheaded and avoid stress and sleep deprivation. As we've learned, these can cause long-term health problems for moms and dads.

Moms and dads, do whatever it takes to get a good night's rest. It could literally save your life!

[H/T] The New York Times

READ: Why some parents don’t believe the Cry-it-Out method is effective in sleep training

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