There are a number of proven ways to train your baby to sleep through the night and soothe itself back to sleep. No matter what method you choose, there is bound to be some crying (mostly from the baby, but there's a good chance from you, too). Parents are biologically wired to respond to their baby's cries, so sleep training feels like torture and will make any mama feel like her baby is in serious pain and she's ignoring it (even though she logically knows that the baby is safe and okay, it just misses her).
In order to make it through those tough days of sleep training, parents need to find a way to drown out the noise so they can give their baby enough time to learn how to self-soothe and not rely on mom or dad rocking them. There are a number of ways to do this, it just depends on what works best for you.
10 Put A Sound Machine In Your Bedroom
A sound machine isn't magic, it won't completely drown out all the noise, but it will weaken those sounds. If it's the middle of the night and you're letting your baby cry it out for a little bit, you can turn off the monitor (we recommend you set a timer so that if the baby does fall asleep on its own, you have an alarm to remind you to turn the volume back up), and crank up your sound machine. You probably won't sleep through the cries, but they at least won't be piercing and you can breathe through them until your baby stops.
9 Run The Vacuum
Ever notice how toddlers cry and pets scurry away as soon as the vacuum gets turned on? It's because it's loud. You can't hear anything else when you're vacuuming the house. So, if you're in the middle of sleep training and the cries won't stop and you're about to lose your cool, get some cleaning done and run the vacuum. You'll eventually get caught up in your task that you will hopefully forget that you started it to drown out the sound of the baby. Don't worry that you're "ignoring" the cries because if the baby is in its crib, it's safe.
8 Sit On The Porch Outside
Physically removing yourself from your home will absolutely help drown out the sound. Don't go too far, and make sure your monitor will still keep a signal so you can check in on your baby as needed, but putting that barrier between you and the baby will keep you from hearing the heart-shattering cries.
While you're outside, do something to distract yourself like watering the flowers or pulling some weeds. Whatever you need to do to make it through the cries is okay.
7 Watch A Movie On A Tablet With Earbuds
You don't need fancy noise-canceling headphones to drown out the sounds of a sleep training baby (though the more heavy-duty they are the better they will work), you simply need to pop in your earbuds and crank up the volume. You can turn on one of your favorite shows through your tablet or phone and try your best to be entertained and distracted as you work through the steps of getting your baby to self-soothe. If you're finding this isn't strong enough to drown out the sound of the cries, try relocating to a different area of the house so that the cries are naturally a little quieter.
6 Play The Piano (Or Another Loud Instrument) In Another Area Of The House
Anyone who has a piano knows that it can fill the entire house with beautiful sound (or really annoying sound, depending on who is playing). If you have an instrument of some kind, use sleep training as an opportunity to practice playing. It will be loud enough to drown out the cries, and it will keep your mind occupied as you try to ignore the fact that your baby is crying for you at the top of the stairs. Who knows, the music may even help soothe your baby and get it to sleep a little better (again, depending on who is playing).
5 Call Someone To Chat And Distract You
Want to know the very best person to call when you're losing your mind during sleep training? Another mom who has been through it. Call your mom, your sister, your best friend, anyone who has some time to chat with you and who will remind you over and over that it will work, it's just really hard to get there.
Having some reassurance will help you feel better about the cries and it will help you hold on before going in to check on the baby (which you will desperately want to do). Call up someone who will help you stay strong and cheer you on.
4 Run On The Treadmill Or Do A Loud Workout Video
If you have a treadmill, elliptical, or another home-gym machine, hop on it while your baby is crying. Usually, the sound of the machine mixed with a fan blowing on you and the TV or music drowns out the sound of just about everything. So go into that room and get a workout in while you get through this tough period. Even if you don't have a machine, you can find high-energy workout videos on YouTube that will distract you and will be loud enough to mask the screams. The only thing we don't suggest is yoga because we doubt you'll be able to be zen during sleep training.
3 Take A Shower And Dry Your Hair
You know how, as a new mom, all you've been wanting for weeks is to take a shower and actually do your hair and makeup? Now is your chance! Turn on the loud vent in your bathroom, then turn on a podcast that is loud enough to hear over the vent, and hop in your loud shower.
Then, grab your hairdryer and spend as much time on your blow out as you possibly can. Chances are your baby will have stopped crying in the time it took you to do all of this, and you will have survived at least one round of training!
2 Do Some Laundry
What's louder than a shower and hairdryer? Laundry! You're a parent, so you probably have piles of laundry that you need to do that have been sitting there for days. Use sleep training as an opportunity to catch up. The sound of the washer filling and running combined with your dryer tossing around all those sleep sacks and footie pjs with zippers will certainly help drown out the sounds. When it comes time to fold, stay in the laundry room to take advantage of the noise, or pop in your earbuds and listen to a podcast.
1 If All Else Fails, Huddle In Your Closet With A Pillow Around Your Ears
Yes, this is a desperate measure, but sometimes you just can't handle the crying (ask any parent of a colicky baby!). If it's driving you insane and you're not coping, before giving up on the training entirely, find a closet or bathroom you can sit in with a pillow around your head and do whatever you can to last through the crying as long as you can before going in to soothe the baby. If you decide that you just can't do it, it's okay, maybe it's just not the time for sleep training yet. Give yourself one last tough love speech as you sit there trying to muffle the sound before giving up, though.