Getting your infant to sleep through the night can happen sooner rather than later, according to some pediatricians.
The process of sleep training isn't a new topic. This sleep-training practice, where moms or dads don't intervene when their little one starts crying after bedtime, has been recommended to parents for years as a way to get babies to self-soothe. However, some pediatric practices are making waves by recommending that parents start the process much earlier than the more commonly accepted 4-to-6-month age.
Tribeca Pediatrics is one of the largest pediatrics practices that advocates for sleep training at 2 months old and typically first discusses the process with parents at the 1-month visit. "It actually works better at 2 months than at 4 months. It is tougher when the baby is used to more soothing," Michel Cohen, Tribeca Pediatrics' founder, told The Wall Street Journal.
Critics of the method note that most babies don't naturally sleep through the night until they are 4 to 6 months old. According to Craig Canapari, director of the Yale Pediatric Sleep Center, there's no research to support that sleep training at 2 months even works. However, he recommends that if parents do want to try this cry-it-out method, they shouldn't modify the approach with check-ins because it can cause babies to cry even more and make the process slower.
Although research shows that sleep training itself doesn't negatively affect children's mental and physical health, it's important to note that this study doesn't take into account at what age it starts. Those who disagree with the practice feel that letting an infant cry can actually harm the child and that most 2-month-olds need to be fed during the night. "The research is pretty compelling that up until 6 months, kids benefit by being picked up when they cry," Deborah Gilboa, a Pittsburgh-area family physician, told Today.
No matter what age a parent decides to start sleep training their child, it's important for them to pick a plan that feels right for them.