Sleep Training

Infant Sleep

Three general methods

  1. Extinction - leave and let child cry it out
  2. Gradual extinction - leave but return at gradually lengthening intervals
  3. Extinction with parental presence - parent stays but doesn’t do anything

All methods seem effective, but consistency is the key1. There are not proven negative effects (short or long term) with “Cry it out” strategies. Some studies even show short-term behavior improvements. Sleep training improves maternal mental health.

It may be helpful to have a written plan as you enter sleep training1

Adverse secondary effects as the result of participating in behaviorally based sleep programs were not identified in any of the studies. On the contrary, infants who participated in sleep interventions were found to be more secure, predictable,less irritable,and to cry and fuss less following treatment.

2


References

1.
Oster, E. Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool. (Penguin Books, 2020).
2.
Mindell, J., Kuhn, B. & Sadeh, A. Behavioral Treatment of Bedtime Problems and Night Wakings in Infants and Young Children. Sleep (2006) doi:10.1093/sleep/29.10.1263.