Fading, also known as fade it out, is a gentle sleep training method that is easier than cry it out. It's an idea that you slowly fade out your baby's routine until it's no longer necessary. If you're not comfortable with "cry it out" or worried that a "no tears" method might be too much to handle, you might want to consider the fading method, which is the best of both worlds.
With fading, parents continue to use their current method they've been using to put their baby to sleep, but gradually decrease the amount of time doing it, giving her room to figure out how to soothe herself. It is a flexible sleep training method which allows the parents to set up their own pace.
Although this method may take a bit longer than other sleep strategies, it is one of the quietest. Fading can start from 4 months of age to preschool years. Parents find that fading methods help everyone get more rest, with little tears.
Fading advocates say self-soothing is an essential skill all children need to master on their journey to independence, like learning to walk. Rocking or nursing your baby to sleep is risky when sleep-training due to her relying on you to comfort her every time she wakes during the night. It can promote attachment by providing attentive support and encouraging your baby to be confident in his own skills.
There are two main focuses of fading: camping out and timed check-ins. Both involve putting your baby to bed drowsy but awake and reassuring her with your presence. Camping out is when you sit in a chair next to your baby's crib until she's fallen asleep. If she cries or fusses, you can offer a gentle pat or a reassuring "shhh". Every few nights, move farther away, but still within view and within three weeks to three months (all babies are different), you should be able to leave the room after saying goodnight. Timed check-ins require you to settle your baby into bed and leave the room. Leave her for short intervals, usually 5-10 minutes, and then return to reassure her if she fusses. Repeat as needed until she's asleep.
- Make bedtime between 7-8 o'clock. Overtired babies have a harder time getting to sleep.
- Stick to a consistent bedtime routine, such as giving your baby a warm bath, reading a book, and singing a lullaby before bed.
- Give your baby room to get comfortable on her own and resist the urge to pick her up if she's fussy.
- Babies can adapt to new routines, but it will take some tears along the way, although it will not last long.
- When your baby is at least a year old, giving her a small blanket or small stuffed animal can ease the transition to sleep.
- It may take longer for your baby to learn to sleep well at night if your routine isn't consistent. Make sure all caregivers are aware of the schedule so your baby has better time transitioning.
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