The Fading method falls between the spectrum of the cry it out (CIO) and no tears methods – it’s a middle-ground for parents who believe that CIO is too harsh, and no tears is too gentle and time consuming.
This method works for babies who are at least 5 months old, and can be adapted for toddlers and pre-schoolers. As with all sleep training methods, the goal is to get more rest for everyone involved!
If you've missed our article on Sleep Training Basis, read it here!
How does the fading method work?
It’s similar to the CIO method and can be seen as a much more gentle version of it. There are two main approaches to fading – camping out and timed check-ins. The both require you to put baby to bed while they drowsy but awake, and then reassuring them with your presence.
For camping out, you simply need to sit in a chair next to baby’s crib until they’re asleep – if they cry or fuss, you soothe them without picking them up. Picking them up might work to soothe them faster, but if they fall asleep in your arms, it defeats the purpose of sleep training as they’ll need to learn how to self-soothe.
Every few nights, move the chair further away but still within sight of baby, and within two or three weeks, you should be able to just leave the room after saying good night to them.
For timed check-ins, it’s just as the name says – after you’ve put baby to bed, leave them alone for short intervals of around 5 minutes, then return to reassure them if they start fussing or crying. Repeat this until baby is asleep, and it should be a lot easier after a few weeks of doing so.
You might notice some similarities between timed check-ins and the Ferber method, but the Ferber method requires you to do progressively longer check-in timings as the nights pass, whereas time check-in is a standard waiting time every night.
Why use the fading method?
Similar to the Ferber method in the belief that self-soothing is an important skill that baby needs to pick up in order to become independent. Rocking or nursing baby to sleep is an amazing feeling, but there’s a chance that they’ll rely on you to comfort them back to sleep every time they wake up during the night.
As mentioned before, the fading method helps us parents to find the right balance between helping baby too much and too little.
Does the fading method work?
The important thing to take note of is that no single sleep training method will work with every baby due to their differing personalities, so it’s important to experiment with different sleep training methods to find one that works for your family.
For parents who see improvement in baby’s sleep, it usually occurs within two weeks.
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