Q – What are some gentle methods I can use to encourage sleep if I don’t feel comfortable letting the baby cry?

A – It’s very hard to train a baby to fall asleep by themselves without some crying as very often you are changing what the baby knows.  As an example if the baby is used to being nursed to sleep and you would like to teach them how to fall asleep by themselves they will cry on the first night whether you are in or out of the room as they are naturally responding to the changes that you have made of not nursing them. 

You do not have to leave your baby to cry – but your baby will cry but you do not have to leave them.   If you decide to make changes put your baby to bed as normal without the props that you use and  stay with your baby – you can stay in the room and sit in a chair next to the crib and just gently talk or whisper to your baby whilst they are in their crib and shhh them or touch them gently – letting them know that you are there.  You will have to stay with them until they are asleep but if you make a decision to make a change then you should follow through and not give in after 15 – 30 minutes as you will confuse them.

Dawnn Whittaker is a baby and child sleep consultant and lives in Langley, BC. She provides sleep solutions for families throughout North America on an individual basis. Her approach is to first asses the sleep pattern and then put together a sleep plan that reflects the parenting style and supports them through the transition.