Sleep training is one of the most controversial subjects around for parents these days. There are hundreds of books and sites devoted to finally getting that kid to sleep! Well, we looked through some of the parenting blogs and forums on sleep training methods that moms today are using to get their little ones some shut-eye, then asked the docs what they thought. The results were really surprising.
Believe it or not, some of the most normal and traditional sleep training methods are actually ill-advised by some doctors. Times sure have changed, since some of these ways grandma may have used in the past. Ready to find out which ones made the list? Wonder if the sleep training method mom and dad are using is against doctors orders? Stay tuned to find out.
20 Nursing To Sleep Can Cause Decaying Teeth
When mom chooses to nurse her little one to sleep it can cause some unwanted sleep associations, which can really cause problems when mom wants the baby to drift off to sleep on his or her own. Not to mention some pediatric dentists say that with continued use it can also rot babies teeth.
19 Falling Asleep On Mom Increases The Risk Of SIDS
Letting a child fall asleep on mom is a no-no and can put a child at risk for SIDs. Dr. Charlie Hanke is a firm advocate of putting children to sleep in their crib or bassinet, NEVER on mom or dad's chest as it puts them at risk for SIDS. Sure, it may look cute, and sure it is easier than trying to keep them in their bassinet, but is it really worth the risk?
18 The 'Cry It Out' Method Is Not Approved Of
It's not the best to just let a child cry and cry without checking on him or her. With so many methods of sleep training, some being far more gentle than others, locking your little one way to cry isn't one doctors like. Dr. Ferber says, "Simply leaving a child in a crib to cry for long periods alone until he falls asleep, no matter how long it takes, is not an approach I approve of."
17 Passing Their Baby Off To Someone Else To Train Them
As much as we know you'd like to, passing your kid off to someone else to sleep train isn't recommended by the Doc, although there are a lot of sleep training specialists out there it's best to do it yourself, and if necessary with the guidance and assistance of a sleep trainer, if not baby may have sleep problems once the trainer leaves.
16 Sleep Training Before Three Months
Any sleep training before three months is unsafe. Most experts, including Dr. Ferber, agree that sleep training methods like the "cry it out" method shouldn't be attempted on a child younger than at least three months old since babies who are younger than that, or those who don't yet have 11 pounds are not even capable of sleeping through the night. They need love affection and nourishment even during the night time to help them grow.
15 Skipping Out On Nap Time Can Leave Your Kiddo Feeling Irritable
Some parents choose to limit napping in children in hopes they get really really tired so they can sleep. Doctors would say this form of sleep training is really not the way parents should wish to approach sleep training. This can leave babies irritable, cranky, and sleep deprived. Today's Parent advises parents who wish to sleep train using a doctor approved methods to have nap time and stick to it.
14 Co-Sleeping Is A Danger
Regardless of your beliefs, most doctors are against co-sleeping. So many new age parents speak about the wondrous benefits that come with co-sleeping. More restful nights for mom and dad, better bonding with baby, but doctors fear that mom or dad might squoosh baby by accident–it has happened before. Several studies (according to CNN) say it's just too dangerous, and doctors say it puts infants at risk for SIDS as well.
13 Sick Training
If your little one is sick, it's normal to feel like he or she may never sleep again. But now is not the time to try to start sleep training. Don't try to sleep train a baby when he or she is sick. Sick babies need attention they also are not the best sleepers as is. If you really can't take anymore ask your partner or a trained expert to help out.
12 Some Are Sleep Training While Traveling
Although it may be tempting don't try to sleep train a baby while you are traveling. Sure you have a few days sectioned off, you don't have to work for the next few days and the beach is right next door, so who cares if you lose a few hours... your baby will. If you sleep train while traveling, the chances are your baby won't be used to his surroundings when he or she gets back home.
11 Sleep Asleep
Putting children to sleep when they're asleep is not advised. Sure it's easier, but if they wake up, they'll be expecting you and not seeing you can make the sleep process harder. Sleep experts at Mayo Clinic say that putting your baby to sleep when he or she is drowsy but not asleep is an important part of teaching them to fall asleep on their own and self-soothe.
10 One & Done Kind Of Attitude Isn't Helpful
Many parents believe that sleep training is a one-time thing, but really it's a lifestyle change that needs to be adjusted as your child grows older. Your baby's bedtime routine will inevitably change and so will his or her time to fall asleep. He or she may start waking up earlier and you may need to try sleep training, although in a varied form later on.
9 Rock, Hold, Lullaby
Parental interference as a form of sleep training is not advised by doctors. We know we said not to let them cry all night, but you shouldn't rush in and sing or rock your little one every time he or she wakes either. This will teach them dependency, says Today's Parent. There really is no reason to rush in at every peep if the baby is changed and fed.
8 The 'Time' In Bedtime Is Often Ignored
Parents will often adjust bedtime in hopes of getting their little ones to sleep through the night. This can leave them without adequate sleep. No child really needs to go to sleep at 10pm just because mom or dad does not want to wake up early. Dr. Craig Canapari advises parents to make bedtime predictable and enjoyable.
7 Ripping Off The Band-Aid
Doctors and sleep specialists really frown upon just plopping baby down in his or crib and walking away. Sleep training of any kind should be gradual. Don't just leave your baby to fend for themselves, this could lead them to jump out of their crib or have attachment issues later in life.
6 Just A Small Dose
Some parents resort to giving Benadryl to their little ones to avoid a cry session. When doctors say put the baby down drowsy but awake, Benadryl wasn't really the type of drowsy they meant. Sure grandma may have done it in the past, that or something a bit stronger for the gums, but that is not what babies need.
5 Tiring Out Baby
Many parents don't pay attention to a child's natural bedtime nor do they follow a bedtime routine. Instead, they try to make their child exhausted in order to put them down. According to URMC, the body releases cortisol when it goes past its sleep point in order to stay awake longer, this would actually make putting the baby to bed even harder.
4 Using White Noise
When it comes to sleep training, distractions—like a noise machine or night lights—are best avoided early on. Feel free to reintroduce them to your little one's room once sleep training has ended and he or she can sleep soundly on their own. But Dr. Craig Canapari suggests if you can read with the light, it's too bright for good sleep.
3 Soothies Can Be A Choking Hazard
Doctors don't recommend giving your baby a pacifier and letting them fall asleep with it. This promotes sleep associations sleep dependency and as a sleep training method can be hard to break. This could also change how your babies teeth grow in, or make them a tongue thruster. Not to mention that when used improperly they are a choking hazard.
2 Bottle To Sleep
Sleep associations like food just before bed aren't the best, what's worse is letting a baby have a bottle in his or her crib and drink it while laying down. sure it usually knocks them out, but it's a choking hazard. Doctors strongly advise against giving a baby a bottle while sleeping or laying flat.
1 Strict Schedule Training With No Room For Flexibility
Parents need to be flexible when it comes to sleep training. Sleep training methods that require parents to follow the clock all the time can work, they just may not work for every situation. So parents need to learn how to bed a little, without being inconsistent. Know when your baby really needs you versus them just resisting sleep.
References: Today's Parent, The Baby Sleep Site, Health Encyclopedia, Dr. Craig Canapari, Dr. Ferber, Dr. Mom