Which Baby Sleep Method is Right for You?
Latest update: August 2, 2018
Author: Heidi Holvoet, PhD
A sleep method gives you guidance to help your
baby sleep. Some methods can be called
the harsher or more impatient methods). I personally prefer terms like
approach, techniques, support and guidance for the gentle method that I
method, No Cry Sleep Solution, Dr. Sears, Baby Whisperer, controlled
crying, cold turkey
crying it out ... or yours truly, the BabySleepAdvice approach:
which one is right
for you and your baby?
Each method has its own general
philosophy and approach to sleep in general. Some suggest specific help
in specific situations.
reliable and have a chance to be successful, a baby sleep (training) method must be based on the same most valuable sleep
- be consistent and predictable
- use a regular sleep
- use a bedtime
- promote self
- take a positive
attitude towards sleep
It's easy to feel overwhelmed and confused
by the many baby sleep
articles and books on the market. Unfortunately there are many,
sometimes conflicting and sometimes bluntly incorrect sources.
Do be careful with
solutions that guarantee to
help your baby sleeping through the night
(yes even at an age where it is physically impossible or even
Your best bet is to go with your
instincts, observe your baby/toddler well and do not let others
you into something that does not feel right for you.
The different sleep methods
on the market each take their
to apply the basic principles and instruct parents how
to apply them.
Please (please!) be very careful if you come across a quick-fix magical solution that
promises a short-cut and omits any one of the above principles. They
will do more harm than good for your child's sleep, especially in the
among the methods are in whether letting baby cry or not, help her with
settling or not,
co-sleeping or not, etc.
Since we're all different, no single method works for all babies or
toddlers and their families. What counts is to find out what works for
An overview of popular and renowned approaches:
Heidi Holvoet, PhD & BabySleepAdvice: Uniquely adapted to your baby's personal
needs + truly without tears
Helping you find that unique best-fit way to help your baby or toddler
sleep is at the heart of this
website. It is my very personal mission and passion to guide you
best-practice basics and helping you
discover the specific techniques YOU and YOUR baby need, at a time you're both ready for them.
The many available modifications within the techniques, designed to ultimately suit your baby's needs are an essential and
much-loved part of the method, as well as its being truly without tears.
Start at these pages for general guidance with the basics: help
your baby sleep through the night and avoid
common infant sleep problems.
My dedicated e-books take it a few steps further and help you
in specific situations:
Sleeping Through the Night helps your baby or toddler wean from
unnecessary night awakenings
Overcome Frequent Waking
takes that a step further with a uniquely tailored sleep action plan
for those babies who wake up every hour or otherwise too frequently at
Self Soothing helps you teach your baby or toddler the
all-important skill of settling independently - the key of lasting good
in a Snap gives you the tools and techniques to set up the nap
routine that works for your baby/toddler.
If you are just starting out with a new baby, a good beginning is to
read up on the very basics in my Complete
Newborn Sleep Guide - "Just
what I needed right now as a first time mom".
Cry Sleep Solution
This sleep method, originally proposed in the book The
No-Cry Sleep Solution,
is the work of Elizabeth Pantley, the well-known parent educator.
As the no
cry sleep name suggests, Elizabeth Pantley promotes gentle
help baby sleep without the need to let her cry. She sets parents to
work with keeping logs on nap and night time sleep and wakings. While many parents see successes with this approach, parents regularly report to me that they found it difficult to follow through.
Don't miss my No
Cry Sleep Solution interview with Elizabeth!
Parenting Approach to Sleep
Known for its child-centered nurturing approach, attachment parenting
advocates gentle guidance towards good sleep at baby's pace.
Crying is not part of the attachment parenting approach, but baby
co-sleeping and breastfeeding are key features. Co
sleeping benefits are widely accepted and safe when the co-sleeping
safety guidelines are well followed.
Dr. Sears describes this in his
well known book The
Baby Sleep Book. Even if you
are not completely into attachment parenting, this is a good resource
if you are looking for support to guide your baby in a loving
with Annie of PhDInParenting.com on attachment
parenting and baby sleep gives an interesting introduction
to attachment parenting and
its approach to sleep
In her book, Secrets
of the Baby Whisperer, Tracy
Hogg suggests a sleep training method that keeps an interesting middle, balance, between no cry
methods as above and the crying it out ones below.
Tracy Hogg specialized in tuning
in to baby to help understand what she needs, and helped
parents observe and listen to their children.
When teaching baby to sleep alone, rather than holding, nursing and
rocking, the baby
whisperer method suggests comforting by picking baby up, and
down as often as needed until she sleeps (pu/pd method).
Note: This is a sleep training method that involves crying it out and I do not advise nor support it.
Through his book Solve
Your Child's Sleep Problems, Richard
Ferber, M.D. advises
all parents to use his sleep training method that became known as ferberizing. Many
people identify crying it out with this Ferber sleep method, although
it is not the only one where baby is left to cry.
method involves letting baby cry, in the so-called
waiting approach. This may not pose as a
cry it out method, but it remains controversial due to lots of crying involved and I do not support it.
Crying it out is the general term used when baby is left to cry as a
to teach her how to settle for sleep, or to make her sleep.
Crying it out is sometimes part of established sleep training (for example
Ferber method) or some parents simply have their babies cry when they
feel it is necessary or helpful.
We do not count letting baby fuss for a couple of minutes as crying
it out. It's about leaving a baby to cry for longer than just 'initial
fussing'. Some training methods do this in varying amount of minutes
and/or also involve the harsh cold turkey crying
it out. That is when you put baby down in the crib, leave the room,
close the door and do not go back in before baby has slept the night.
I repeat, I do not support these types of methods and include them here for information and warning purposes only.
There are infamous pro's
and con's of crying it out as well as situations where it
should be out of the question or when
cry it out could be an option.
Finding a baby sleep method or sleep train method that really works for
baby or toddler may not be easy.
Of course you don't necessarily need a specific market method to guide you. The
main step in any case will be to trust your instincts. Approach sleep
parenting in YOUR way all while keeping supported by researched
information and proven tips and techniques.
I warmly invite you to read through the different topics on this site.
It will help build your understanding of the why and how of sleep, and
will help you discover what will work for you.
A Question! any time.
soothing is the key to help
your baby sleep through the night