We don’t need to tell you that sleep is important and hard to come by when you have a baby, but that doesn’t mean that every parent is on board with sleep training. Many parents who haven’t taken a deep dive into what exactly sleep training involves think that “sleep training” is code word for “cry it out,” which isn’t always the case. That said, Emily Oster, an economics professor and the author of the cult parenting book Cribsheet, points to compelling research in her book that shows that “controlled crying” helps babies sleep better and that the controversial practice doesn’t emotionally damage them later on.
If the thought of hearing your baby cry, even just for a few moments without intervening, isn’t something you can bear, there are other sleep training methods. The Full Feedings Method, for example, focuses on meeting your baby’s food needs fully during the day and not letting baby get over-tired or, conversely, sleep too much by day. Many parents scoff at the idea of waking up a sleeping baby (“never wake a sleeping baby!” is something we have all heard countless times…), but trust that this can be a major key to getting baby to sleep through the night.
There’s no reason parents should have to suffer through months and months of sleep deprivation, especially when it has been closely linked to postpartum depression and anxiety. There are many methods out there, it’s worth looking into them to hopefully find one that works for you. Read on for some of the best options.
Taking Cara Babies
Taking Cara Babies is one of the most popular sleep training programs. The Instagram alone has over 1.4 million followers and if you’re on a budget, it’s a great place for free tips. The program is run by, you guessed it, Cara Dumaplin, a former neonatal nurse who has become something of a celebrity in the parenting world. The program is for newborns to two year olds and the number of parents you’ll meet that swear by Cara is astounding.
They offer a variety of online programs for $79 or bundles for $99, including the popular ABC’s of Sleep, which is designed to help get your baby sleeping through the night. It’s a 14-night plan to 10-12 hour nights in the crib. It covers bedtime, night wakings, night weaning, early morning wakings and naps through the first two years of life. All courses come with video content as well as print-outs and cheat sheets. Cara has one of the most reassuring voices you can imagine and she’s great at explaining when “cry” means get out of bed and go to your baby and when a “cry” really isn’t a cry.
Dumaplin is also the inventor of the CRIES technique, which is an acronym for what to do when your baby is upset. Sit Back, is another one of her acronym for what to do when your baby wakes up in the night, both of which can be game changers if parents are committed to them. Taking Cara Babies also offers phone consultations.
Pip and Grow
The Pip and Grow program includes an orientation and self-guided lessons, video instructions, step-by-step written support, short “cheat sheets,” as well as downloadable materials including a workbook, checklists and guides. They offer Stellar Sleep 101 ($87) and Stellar Sleep 102 ($87); or the bundle for both is $150.
In the bundled online course, they tackle how to establish a solid sleep foundation and independent sleep skills using their Mindful Method for Sleep. They claim that at the end of the two-part course, you can expect that your little one will fall asleep on their own with ease, develop a solid sleep and nap routine, have positive sleep associations, a safe sleep-inducing space, and sleep peacefully and independently throughout the night. The courses are helpful from pregnancy through preschool. After completing the first course, the 2nd course is best for ages 5-18 months.
The Full Feedings Method
Created by a single mom of three, The Full Feedings Method is a gentle method to get your baby sleeping through the night. Founder Annalaina Marks is no-nonsense in the best way possible and, like Cara, her Instagram page is a treasure drove for those who can’t afford to download her course. That said, her program starts at $9.99/month making it arguably the best $10 a month any new parent will ever spend. For $19.99/month you also get email support along with online access and if you commit to a year, it’s only $99 and comes with a 15-minute phone consultation. $199.99/year gets you the online program, email support an a 30-minute call.
The idea behind Marks’ method is that sleep isn’t something you have to give up when you become a parent and getting baby to sleep through the night does not need to involve letting a baby cry. In fact, this method is build around being “gentle” and focusing on meeting your child’s age-appropriate feedings needs fully during the day, so that they’re not keeping you up all night. Obviously you can’t stop feeding them at night until they can full meet their feeding requirements by day, but her program is designed to start at the newborn stage so you can work your way up to that. The best part? If you should experience a regression that’s where the email and phone support comes in for a personalized answer. Unlike many competitors Marks’ has made these options affordable and she has countless testimonials thanking her for her accessible and effective program.
This science-based app created by Sofia Axelrod is intuitive and easy to use. Newborns sleep 20 hours per day, adults only 8. What happens in between? Sleep regressions! Babies’ sleep needs continuously decrease, in particular the time babies spend napping. This is super confusing for parents and the main reason why Axelrod says she created the Kulala app. Using sleep science Kulala says they provide the most up-to-date schedule, so changing sleep needs don’t wreak havoc on baby’s sleep. The app offers tailored sleep schedules from 0-6 years and there is a 1-month trial. They also sell a variety of accessories to help baby sleep such as a red light lamp.