If you have been with The Baby Sleep Site® for some time, or if you have just found our sleepy little village, you know that what sets us apart is our belief that nothing works better for baby sleep than a truly individualized approach. We don’t believe there is one method of coaching that will work for everyone. No “one-size-fits-all” solutions here! Your parenting philosophy, your child’s temperament, and your unique situation will best determine what sleep coaching style will fit best. And, it may change along the way, too! If “Cry-it-Out” is not for you, but “No-Cry” methods are not a great fit, either, Controlled Crying may be the answer. Today we will talk about controlled crying, and 5 reasons why it may be the best fit for you and your little one.
With controlled crying, (also known as Ferberizing and check and console), you essentially allow your child to fuss and cry at bedtime or at the start of a nap (or after a night waking or a too-early nap waking), but you plan to check in with your child at regular intervals. Sounds pretty straight forward, right? Here are 5 reasons why controlled crying would be the best sleep coaching method for you.
1. You Want a Method That’s Flexible
Your little one is waking up many times a night, or taking tiny naps, and you are both exhausted. You know that you need to begin sleep coaching, but you don’t know where to start. With controlled crying, you can set the rules to work for you and your child. One of the main benefits of this method, is that you can start as gradually as you like. For example, you can choose to be in the room during the entire sleep training process, or leave during the intervals. You can start with intervals as short as 2-3 minutes, or as long as 10 or more minutes. You can also choose how much soothing you provide when you check on your child. This can be a brief reassurance with only your voice or little to no touching, to completely calming them down with picking up and hugging. You can also try different approaches to see what works best for your individual needs.
2. Your Little One is Persistent
When we sleep coached our oldest daughter, I spent months trying to help her adapt to gentle, no-cry sleep methods. But despite my best efforts, she persisted for hours each time, and seemed to cry anyway! I know many parents out there with strong willed little ones know what I mean. With a persistent child, if mom is right there providing soothing, but what the child really wants is to nurse, or to be held, for example, nothing else will do, and there will be fussing and crying no matter how much gentle soothing you try to provide. So, in these situations, sometimes the best thing to do is to simply give your child some space to learn independently. You might be surprised it may mean less tears in the long run!
3. You Have a Full Plate
I know what you’re thinking – which parent doesn’t have a full plate? I know, you are right! Some of us are working parents with babies or toddlers in daycare, and even if you aren’t, we are performing multi-tasking feats that would put any circus juggler to shame. It’s true. But for some parents, gentle, no-cry methods would be simply impossible. I found this out when our second baby was born. Spending an hour or more sleep coaching could potentially mean ignoring your other child for that entire time completely! Can you imagine sitting crib-side nap coaching your baby for an hour while your 2 or 3 year old has the run of the house? With controlled crying you can check on your baby periodically, while still ensuring your 3 year old didn’t glitter glue the dogs’ ears together. 😉
4. You Need Results, Fast!
Yes, we would all love to be sleeping through the night and have a champion napper with just 24 hours of effort. Who doesn’t want results fast?! However, we work with a lot of parents for whom chronic sleep deprivation simply isn’t an option. There is no question that all of us are healthier, smarter, and more alert with optimum sleep. For some, being tired could be downright dangerous! So, if you are one of our families where a parent has to drive a work vehicle the next morning, or be in surgery at 7:00 am sharp, you will want a sleep coaching method that provides quicker results.
5. Your Perceptive Child Won’t Fall Asleep While You’re in the Room!
A lot of parents tell us that they don’t want to leave their baby in the room alone to cry. It’s not easy, we understand. We have also realized that there are many children who simply won’t fall asleep with a parent in the room. If they do, it will be hours later and they will already be overtired! Some babies, especially perceptive babies, seem to endlessly want to interact with a caregiver, and do anything and everything except focus on going to sleep. If you have been sleep coaching, but your little one simply seems to be distracted or frustrated by your presence – “why aren’t you rocking me to sleep mom?,” controlled crying is likely a good fit for you.
So, there you have 5 reasons controlled crying may be the right sleep coaching method for you and your family. If you aren’t sure, we’re happy to hear your background and help you figure it out!