Sleep training is teaching a baby to go to sleep on their own. There are a few methods, from letting the baby “cry it out” to soothing the baby back to sleep without picking the baby up. There are many suggestions about how many months old the baby should be. Most say at least 3 months, but beware during one of the dreaded sleep regressions.
With my son I was desperate to stop waking up every 2 hours when he was about 6-7 months old. I decided to try sleep training and attempted to Ferberize him (let him cry it out).
It was painful. Not only did he not go to sleep, he almost threw up and his crying made my heart break. Everyone says to stick with it for at least a week. Well, I went about four days and then had enough. If my little pumpkin needed his mommy, I was going to give him what he wanted. Too bad, sleep. You’re taking the backseat.
I don’t regret it. My body learned to adjust. My son learned to sleep through the night at 19 months, when he was ready. Sometimes he still wakes up, but now he is a great sleeper and still takes a 2 or so hour nap every day.
One thing I learned from my graduate school psychology class in psychoanalysis was that you can’t spoil a baby. A baby can only express needs and it is the caregiver’s job to understand and provide. A baby only wants to be taken cared of and loved. I was, and still am, happy to provide that.
Now, with my daughter, I have chosen to completely forego sleep training. She will learn to sleep when she is ready. Sometimes she does put herself to sleep. I didn’t teach her that; she decided to do that on her own. It’s not consistent, but it is a step. One day she will sleep, and so will I, but when she’s ready.