When it comes to getting your little one to finally get a little bit of rest, there are a couple of different approaches you can take. Experts put these approaches into a couple of different categories, depending on whether you soothe your baby to sleep or whether you help your baby to soothe herself to sleep. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Parent-Soothing Method

With this kind of approach, when your baby is ready to sleep, you help your baby to make a comfortable transition from being awake to falling asleep. There are a number of ways that a parent can try to soothe a baby to sleep, including things like singing, nursing or rocking. There are many other techniques parents use, but these are some of the most common.

There are some advantages to a parent-soothing method of getting your baby to sleep. First of all, it helps your baby develop a healthy attitude about sleep. It tells her that sleep is both pleasant and secure. It can also create fond memories about how you soothe her to sleep, as well as help build trust between you and your infant.

There may be some disadvantages to soothing your baby to sleep, as well. Because of sleep associations, your baby may rely on outside influences to fall asleep. This may, then make your baby feel like he always needs help getting back to sleep.

Self-Soothing Method

With this method, you put your baby down while she’s awake and she goes to sleep on her own. A parent might offer occasional or intermittent comfort, but the parent is not present when baby goes to sleep.

The major advantage to this approach is that your baby sleeps by himself. He may be more able to do so in the future without any parental help. He doesn’t associate sleep with your comforting.

On the down side, you have to allow your baby to cry it out for a few nights at first. You run the risk that your baby may lose trust. Also, this method doesn’t often work for babies that have persistent personalities or high needs. It also risks that you’ll become less sensitive to your baby’s cries.

Ultimately, the method you choose to soothe your baby to sleep is a matter of personal choice, and what works best for your family.