What Is Sleep Training and What Method Is Right For Me?

All Ages

Jan 13, 2021

Do you have a new baby? Or, maybe you’re expecting one and you keep hearing about sleep training.

What is sleep training? Is it going to harm my baby? Which sleep training method will work for me? Don’t worry! In this blog post, I’m sharing all the main sleep training methods, which one I teach as a pediatric sleep consultant, and why I believe this method is the best choice for your baby.

What is Sleep Training?

We cannot afford to be tired, exhausted parents. Our kids want to sleep so let’s live happy, healthy lives and get some rest!!!

In this post, I’m talking about sleep training methods. You probably have heard people talk about “cry it out”, no cry sleep solutions, and the Ferber Method. What the heck are all these different methods? I’ve got you fully covered and I’m going explain all the popular methods of sleep training.

Every day, I’m flooded with people asking me if I’m going to make their child cry it out, and they want to know how much crying is involved in sleep training. And you are a passionate, loving parent so I understand your concern. Let’s walk through every infant sleep training technique out there—and I’ll share my own sleep training philosophy that I think is best for your child!

The Spectrum: Sleep Training Methods

So in order of the most extreme to the least extreme sleep training techniques, you have the ‘cry it out extinction method’ and then you’ve got the no cry sleep solution. These methods are completely different! And, in between these two polarized methods are a whole host of options in between. You need to discover a plan that fits your family and understand where you might fall in the sleep training spectrum.

The “CIO” / Extinction Method

Let’s start with the extinction method or CIO. When people say cry it out, most of the time they’re misinformed. They’re saying, “Oh, my baby had to cry it out.” But their baby cried for like two to five minutes. That’s not CIO.

The real cry it out method is this: You put your baby down into the crib or the bed, you walk out the room, you close the door and they extinct themselves to sleep.

They cry it out all night long. You have zero interaction with your baby.

Unfortunately, I’ve heard of pediatricians recommend the cry it out method, starting from eight weeks old! This breaks my heart because at eight weeks old, your baby is still learning and grasping the difference between day or night. It’s not developmentally appropriate. Now is cry out ever appropriate? Sure. Some families like this method. They like to be able to say, this is a one and done because it’s fast. When you do it correctly, it’s a very quick method that just takes a few nights and things are good.

Controlled Crying / Checks / Ferber

The next step from CIO is called Controlled Crying. Other names are Leave & Check or even the Ferber method. Controlled crying methods ask that you put thee child down into the crib and then you do physical checks to comfort.

There are differences between all of these variations.

The Ferber Method asks you to  increase the time between checks each time.

The Ferber method also emphasizes getting your baby drowsy, putting them into the crib, then leaving the room, and then maybe come back in two to five minutes.And then come back in seven minutes, in 10 minutes, in 15 minutes. So it incrementally gives you more time between your checks.

The problem with this method? It’s inconsistent. If you have followed me long enough, you know I love consistency. Incrementally changing how long you’re waiting to go check on your baby makes no sense to me at all.

The Leave & Check method IS a Little Z’s Method method that I teach

The Chair Method / Camp Out Method

Next up is the Chair Method, or Camp Out Method. At Little Z’s we call it the Stay In The Room Method.

It’s exactly as it sounds!!

You would put a chair right next to your baby’s crib or child’s bed, and help them fall asleep.

Little Z’s Sleep Methods…

Here at Little Z’s I use the following methods by age:

  • 4-5 Months Plan uses the Stay In The Room Method
  • 6-16 Months uses Leave & Check Method
  • Toddlers & Preschoolers use Stay In The Room Method

Ready to make sleep a thing?
Take my quiz and find out which program is right for you!


The No Cry Sleep Methods

Right after the chair method, you’re going to have things like ‘waking sleeping strategy’.

The wake and sleep strategy actually asks you to nurse your baby to sleep, to rock them to sleep. They want you to vary up how you put your baby to sleep.

And then this is the kind of confusing part to me. You’re supposed to nurse your baby, rock your baby to sleep, and then you lay them down in the crib, and then you wake them up a little bit by ‘arousing’ them a little bit so that they can cry for a little bit and put themselves back to sleep.

To be perfectly fair, I have no idea how a no cry sleep solution works. I assume it involves a lot more parent help and involvement. Families have used them, but I imagine it takes a lot longer for this sleep training method to work.

Which sleep training method is right for me? | Little Z Sleep Consulting

How quickly will my sleep training method work?

The fastest sleep training method is the cry it out extinction method. It’s fast— one to two nights, you’re all good. On the other end of the spectrum is the no cry solution and it takes months! When you are deciding on which sleep training method is right for you and your child, you need to decide how much effort, patience, and commitment you have to a specific sleep plan.

My Favorite Sleep Training Method

So where do I fit in? Well, I kinda already spoiled it— I’m right over between the leave & check and the chair method!

Yeah. I also use the camp out method, but only for certain ages. So for example, I do the Ferber method, but it’s not ideal for  a pre-school child. And I also already gave you the little hint that I think it’s weird and inconsistent to just randomly increase your intervals each time.

So my plans to my clients offer age-appropriate strategies that do involve protests. They do involve crying. I firmly believe that your child is totally happy and content with how things are now because they don’t know what’s on the other side!!

So when you change habits and routines, they’re going to protest. They’re not going to like it. But here’s the thing, you cannot spend weeks and months trying to be consistent and holding onto threads of hope. You’ve got to see change first. And when you do, your child actually wants to sleep.

I firmly believe it is never too late to teach your child how to sleep well.

Obviously, you’re here because your end goal is that your baby sleeps, your child sleeps, and as a family, you all get great rest.

By outlining all these different methods, I hope that you feel more clarified in what fits your family best. If any of these are going to help your child sleep well, that’s the end goal. That’s why if you’ve done no cry sleep solution and it worked in your kid’s sleeping 11, 12 hours, yay! I’m so happy for you. If you’ve done the extinction method and it works, yay! I’m so happy for you.

There are no secrets when it comes to sleep training.

I am so passionate when people ask me, what am I going to ask them to do? For example, they don’t want crying, but in reality, we don’t have an endless repertoire of methods to choose from. There are certain things that we can do to teach your child how to sleep.

If you resonate with my style and my sleep philosophy, I would love for you to take the next step and take a quick quiz to figure out which sleep training program that we offer is the right fit for you.

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Which sleep training method is right for me? | Little Z Sleep Consulting


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