You may find that feeling like the walking dead has finally gotten to the point where something needs to be done. Or you are one step ahead and already looking for information on how to sleep train a baby well before yours is born.
Either way, I personally feel that this is a vital piece of information to be aware of, and inside of this post, I will be giving you 5 sleep training methods you can start with.
Before we get into the good part, it’s first and foremost important for you to know exactly what sleep training is. As well as why you need to use these methods versus all the other information available in the market.
- 1 What is sleep training?
- 2 When to start sleep training your baby
- 3 How to choose the right sleep training method for your baby
- 4 5 Sleep training methods that you can start using now
- 5 Tips for how to sleep train a baby
- 6 Conclusion
What is sleep training?
Sleep training is simply a process that is used for helping your baby to sleep. Some babies can end up falling asleep very easily while others will remain awake throughout the night or day for hours on end.
There are usually only a number of things that will occasionally cause your baby to wake up1 at night. Once you get to know what they are or essentially learn what they are, it then becomes a lot easier to provide a solution and fix the problem.
Sleep training is designed to help you to find those problems and then teach your baby to sleep through a solution that you identify will best solve the problem.
By establishing a routine, you will then be able to ensure that your baby gets the sufficient amount of sleep needed for healthy growth whilst you and your partner enjoy having a good night’s sleep once again.
But it’s not always as easy as just starting the training and applying the strategies for every person’s circumstance. It’s important for you to first identify whether this type of training would even be of use to you. So in the next section, I will be breaking down exactly how you can do that.
When to start sleep training your baby
Like with most things that are related around your baby there are precautions that you must take in order for you to be sure that sleep training methods are an appropriate solution.
For example, a few things that you will need to consider first are the following:
5 Sleep training methods to try now
As you may already know there are several methods for sleep training a baby. I will be sharing 5 of the most common methods in this post too.
But as you can understand, not every method will be suited for every baby. So it is important for you to know which one will be the best for you and then set out on putting it into action to see how it works out for you.
Either way, you will need to consider whether you are happy with the different methods available to you before making a selection on one.
At this specific time the most important thing is for your baby to get as much sleep as possible. No need to stress over training or schedules here.
Although this is still very early for any type of formal training. It is still a good time to start implementing some basic sleep routines and healthy sleeping habits for your baby.
here you can start to introduce some formal training techniques such as the pick up, put down method, which means your baby can start to fall asleep on their own and learn how to self soothe.
Is your baby old enough?
Age is a big area to consider before deciding to sleep train your baby. A lot of the methods are specifically designed for babies that are 6 months or older. As it currently stands I believe there is 1 method that can be used on a baby that is younger than 6 months old.
That method is the ‘pickup, put down’ method and is only suited for babies that are in between 3 to 6 months of age.
Make sure your baby is fit & well
Often as parents, we can easily put everything down to the most common problems known to usually occur. Such as a wet diaper or hungriness, overtiredness and so on.
In some cases, you will find that using the sleep training method is not the answer to the problem but instead there is an underlying health problem that is causing your baby to wake up.
If this is the case then no amount of sleep training will fix the problem and if you find this to be the problem, then I seriously advise you to consult with a professional for what actions to take next.
Now that you are aware of the different areas that you may need to consider before applying the sleep training method. It’s time to get into preparing for sleep training your baby so that you can be sure to make the right choices if you do.
How to prepare for baby sleep training
I’m a strong believer in the saying that says ‘preparation determines the outcome’ and if you think about it, it totally makes sense. If you do not prepare correctly, then you will have bad foundations and every up ahead will be set up for complete failure.
It’s important to have yourself the right set of tools and information to make sure that everything is smooth sailing for you and your baby. There are a few things that you may need in order to prepare properly for sleep training your baby.
In the next part of this post, I’ll be taking you through a few of my favorite training methods that usually get the job done. Make sure to read on, as I’ve also got a special service that I recommend for some extra help that may sound like something you need.
I recommend you start by following these guidelines:
- Introduce a bedtime routine is you already (this should include a few things that you do with your baby every day before bed such as bedtime stories, bah time, lullaby and so on)
- Use a consistent bedtime for your baby (7 to 8 o’clock is best recommended)
- Follow a predictable daytime schedule (Try to get nap times in at the same time each day & ensure that you wake your baby around the same times each day too)
How to choose the right sleep training method for your baby
You will find that every sleep training method has different levels of intensity. Some are going to sit with you fine whilst others will be something you will not even consider worthy of testing.
Its down to you to decide (preferably with a partner if possible) what method will be the best for your circumstance. Whilst I can provide you with the information and the tools needed, ultimately the decision will be down to you.
Because only you know yourself and your baby better than anyone else, so the decision must be yours. I found that a lot of other parents in the community online have said that they just used a basic trial and error approach.
This sounds very ethical to me as if you test something and it doesn’t seem to work out, then you can change it.
But how long should you wait before you try a new method?
Well, there is no set amount of time, according to thebump.com, experts recommend that you try out a method for at least 7 to 14 days before moving onto a new method
The aim of the game is to select a training method that you feel will best solve the problem and keep you most comfortable at the same time. By doing so, you will ensure that you give it the best possible chance of seeing it through to till the end.
Now you know how to choose a sleep training method. It’s now time for you to learn about what sleep training methods there are available to you and your baby.
5 Sleep training methods that you can start using now
In the following section below I will be sharing 5 different sleep training methods with you. None of them are in order of superiority but instead just listed out as 5 available options that can be used for you to help your baby to sleep.
Whilst this is not an in-depth tutorial on how each of them works, I instead aim to give you a good understanding of each of the methods so you are able to then pair this information with a recommended guide at the end of this post.
To give you an idea of the 5 methods we will be discussing today, I have listed them out below for you to see first:
- Pick up, put down method
- Chair method
- No tears/no cry method
- Cry it out method
- Ferber method
None of these methods are in order of priority but instead presented as various options for you to choose from. Depending on your personal preference and circumstance will depend on which method you feel is best for you.
To give you a better understanding of each method, we will now go through each of them in detail to see whether these methods may be a potential option for you.
Pick up, put down method
Age range: 3 – 6 Months
This method is one that can be started early on in your baby’s life. From as young as 3 months of age, you can start to try out this technique. It involves remaining present whilst you assist your baby to sleep.
An example of this would be to shush, pat their tummy or apply pressure to calm and reassure your baby.
Another option would be to let your baby fuss for a short while before picking them up and then putting them back down (awake) before they sleep. The main focus around this method is to help relax and calm your baby so that they can easily go back off to sleep.
You should remain present throughout this process at all times but attempt to remain out of sight.
Age range: 6 Months plus
This method is also known as the sleep lady shuffle or the gradual withdrawal. This method involves sitting in a chair each night next to your baby’s crib, to begin with.
Each night you will move the chair further and further away from the baby’s crib whilst shushing and soothing them when they cry to get them back to sleep.
You can also pick your baby up during this time if you feel there is a need to do so. Whilst it is not highly recommended, you can also pat your baby to relax them too in order to place them back in the crib.
This method is supposed to be a great strategy for helping toddlers to sleep but I would recommend you test this in order to see for yourself.
No tears/no cry method
Age range: 6 months plus
This method was created by a lady named Elizabeth Pantley and involves subtly shifting your baby’s sleep habits.
A few steps to follow when using this method include:
- Find a soothing bedtime routine and stick to it. This could be a bath time than reading a book than a feed right before bed.
- Establish an early bedtime routine for your baby. Do not attempt to keep your baby up in order to make them overtired as this will only backfire. An overtired baby will find it more difficult to get to sleep rather than just putting your baby off at the time they are ready to go to sleep.
- Create a comfortable sleep environment for your baby, such as a dark room, quiet surroundings and a soothing sound such as white noise.
- Do not respond to every sound that your baby makes, instead learn to understand the difference between a real cry and a whimper. You can stand just outside the door to monitor these noises too.
- If your baby is under 4 months, then you may want to consider swaddling them when using this method. Whilst this is not essential it is definitely a valid option for you to utilize when using the no tears method.
Cry it out method
Age range: 6 Months Plus
This method is one that may scare away a few parents when trying to apply methods form sleep training.
This method involves leaving your baby in the crib to fall asleep on their own. Now whilst there is a common misconception that this means you leave your baby to cry until they fall asleep, this method is quite the opposite.
Instead, this involves leaving your baby to soothe themselves to sleep and if they happen to cry for a short period of time.
Heres a step by step on the cry it out method:
- Put baby to sleep in crib whilst still awake but sleepy
- Kiss baby goodnight and leave the room
- If baby cries then leave them for a short amount of time (10 -15 mins) before going in. Do not pick your baby up after but instead just offer comforting noises and pat baby to stop crying and then leave again to allow them to fall back to sleep.
- If crying continues then leave it a little longer before going back into the room. Keep repeating the process leaving a larger gap in the time it takes you to go back into the room each time. (this should help train baby to soothe themselves to sleep)
According to Ferber, it could take around 3 to 7 nights for your baby to start falling to sleep on their own. If you still see no progress after that, then you may want to consider testing a different method.
Age range: 6 Months Plus
This method is also known as graduated extinction sleep training. This method involves you putting your baby down to sleep even if crying and then returning to check on them on a timed intervale such as every 10 or 15 minutes etc.
You do not pick your baby up during these routine checks but instead, verbally soothe them or pat them softly, so they once again become relaxed.
Gradually you will need to increase intervals until your baby is sleeping through the night. I recommend testing this method
So there you have 5 methods that you can start to implement from today to start sleep training your baby. But if you don’t feel confident in just getting started with these methods on your own right away, then you may want to continue reading into the next section where I discuss where you could find some help.
Is it better to get professional help for this?
Maybe its time to get some help with this matter. The hard part is knowing where to start. A great place I recommend is the sleep training guide that is designed for helping tired mommies and daddies sleep train their baby.
With it, you’ll also get free access to a professional sleep trainer and her team that will give you a little extra support with your baby.
I’ve already written a review of my experience with this product that you can check out here.
Tips for how to sleep train a baby
Things may pop up
You may find that teething, illness or vaccinations come along that change your routine. Even when this happens it is important to attempt to restore your routine as soon as possible.
It is recommended that you go no longer than around 48 hours after any extreme change before trying to restore times back to where they were in the training routine.
Make changes if need be
Remember that babies are all different, so it’s never a one size fits all situation. Instead, make sure to make any relevant changes when needed in order to meet your priorities and circumstance.
Use the information gathered her more as a template rather than an absolute necessary method in order to get the best results possible.
See it through
Just because things might not work out 1 night does not mean that it’s not going to work. The aim of the game is to have a long term plan. So if you find that things are not working then continue trying for at least 1 week to get enough feedback as to whether the method is working or not.
From reading this post you should be able to gather actionable steps on how to sleep train your baby. Inside you will find tips and strategies with valuable resources for helping you to finally get your baby to sleep through the night.
Whilst these methods have worked for many others, every baby is different in their own way, so it is important for you to test what works for you and make changes to suit your circumstances where needed.