for the first four months, respond to your baby's cries right away and help him feel comfortable in his new world by rocking, feeding, singing, or swaddling him to sleep. "Newborns need help settling down," says Dr. Greene. But somewhere between 4 and 6 months, your child's nervous system un-ravelsfromits tangled newborn mass and organizes itself...and he maybe ready to soothe himself to sleep. The problem is, your little guy now refuses to go down
The choices you make during your baby's first year do matter—just not always in the ways you expect.
unless he's had a seemingly endless amount of your pre-sleep, soothing attention. And that's when many exhausted parents decide to sleep train. Popularized by Richard Ferber, M.D., author of Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems (who now believes his progressive-waiting technique was over- and misused), sleep training has many different forms. But the basic idea is this: Put your baby down drowsy but awake. If he cries, talk softly and rub his back to console him. Leave for a few minutes and then return to soothe him if he's still upset. Repeat until he falls asleep. Each night, lengthen the time you let him fuss by a few minutes, until it's no longer necessary. Though no one likes to hear her infant cry,
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