Sleep Training is the terminology used to describe any behavioural interventions that are used to change infant sleep patterns, often directed to reducing the number of wakings and calling out for help, or having the capacity to transition to sleep independently. The most common references are for Cry-It-Out or Controlled Crying. The most widely quoted study on the safety of sleep training is the Middlemiss study.
In order to interpret the study results, and the impact of sleep training, this video can be helpful to understand the effects of sleep training.
For an extensive explanation of the risks of sleep training you can visit a variety of Lactation Consultants, Anthropologist, Developmental Psychologists. The coordination of different disciplines leads to supporting consistent response to our babies during day and night time parentings.
You do not have to sleep train, there are other options.
Here are some excellent, reassuring links from experts that will discuss alternatives to sleep training, and help guide your decisions as parents.
Series of posts by Dr. Tracy Cassels of www.evolutionaryparenting.com
Series of Posts by Dr. Sarah Ockwell-Smith
Sleep Training and Managing how Babies Sleep by Dr. Helen Ball
An excellent article on the pressure to sleep train and the Sleep Industry Controlled crying (PDF file)
Dr Suzanne Zeedyk’s position summary on Facebook, plus a link to a great article from Psychology Today
Top Tips for baby soothing from sleep coach Lyndsey Hookway
Co-sleeping with Infants by Dr. James McKenna
The Possums Sleep Film and program, by Possums Education, featuring Dr. James McKenna
Lastly, a short clip from the sitcom Mad About You, which addressed the arguments for and against sleep training in a classic 2013 episode: