Sleep training your babies

ORLANDO, Fla. (KFSN) -- Every parent-to-be hears that age-old advice: better get sleep while you can. But sleep deprivation doesn't have to go hand-in-hand with parenting. In fact, pediatric sleep experts say, by four or five months old, babies should be sleeping 12 hours a night. But how do you get them to do that? Is it better to let them cry it out, or do you rush in to comfort them at the first scream? Everyone has a different opinion so Ivanhoe has advice from a pediatric sleep consultant on the best way to turn your little beast into a beauty ... a sleeping beauty that is.

Suzi Gaiser, mother of two, told Ivanhoe, "At one point he got so upset that he threw up."

She linked sleep training to taming a wild stallion. But pediatric sleep consultant, Katie Kovaleski, is a baby whisperer.

She said, "So the golden rule is drowsy but awake."

She says don't wait until your child falls asleep then tip-toe out of the room. You want them to learn to fall asleep on their own. To do that, focus on these elements. First, a consistent bed-time routine.

"So the same activities in the same order, each day and each night are really helpful in getting your child to sleep. In cueing them and cueing their bodies that it's time to relax and go to bed," Katie explained.

Also, make their environment comfortable. The bedroom should be a dark room with white noise at 73-degrees or cooler. And consider stopping night-time feedings when they are four months or older.

"Could your feeding be hindering your child from falling asleep? This is especially important for children with reflux, allergies, that kind of thing," said Katie.

Above all, find the right sleep training method for you. Gaiser chose the "check and console" method, which encourages parents not to check every time the child cries.

Suzi told Ivanhoe, "So the first night I had the monitor and I had a glass of wine and I had the monitor with the volume turned down and I just sat there and watched him cry."

It wasn't easy, but by day four her son, Greyson, was sleeping like, well, a baby. But Kovaleski says whether your method is more attachment parenting, or co-sleeping.

"You have to be consistent every single day to make it come together."

In this case, happy baby makes happy parents.

Kovaleski says one of the biggest things parents overlook is crib safety. If your child is under a year old, there should be nothing in the crib other than a mattress, a fitted sheet and your baby. Blankets and stuffed animals can pose suffocation hazards.
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