Children need sleep, and so do parent! Babies start out in life needing to eat every two to three hours for biological reasons (their stomachs and digestive systems are so small they have to eat often). By 8 months they have outgrown this need, but sometimes it seems to take a whole childhood to get rid of the habit!
Parents, do yourselves (and your little ones) a favor and choose and implement some sort of sleep training before your child is a year old! Make an informed decision on when to do it, and follow through on it consistently, but be flexible to fit your family and your baby’s needs. It may be difficult and involve losing more sleep than usual for a few nights, but in the long run, you are banking countless hours of sleep for the future.
My husband and I chose to implement the Ferber method, although I still nursed my babies to sleep both at nap time and in the early evening. We carried through our plan when each child was eight or nine months old. I remember a couple of nights of crying, both myself and my babies, but it never took longer than 2 or 3 nights, and I think the longest any of mine cried was around an hour (my memory is foggy on the details). My children were not permanently traumatized, in fact they never seemed to remember the crying at all, and all three have been beautiful sleepers ever since. We didn’t deal with any night waking during the toddler years unless one was sick or had an unusual bad dream.
It can be done – with consistency and determination – during the window of 8 to 12 months.
Arm yourself with information about sleep: