What is sleep training?
Sleep training is the process to help your baby learn to fall asleep on their own and sleeping through the night.
Some babies are very easy and they learn to fall asleep on their own without any help, thus meaning no training is needed. However, many other babies have trouble to settle down or when they wake up during the night to fall right back to sleep. These are the babies that need baby sleep training.
When can you start with sleep training for babies?
Newborn to 3 months:
Do not try to force a sleeping schedule on a newborn. Your newborn baby will need feeding every few hours, so it’s absolutely normal for him to sleep for just a couple of hours. When he wakes up, feed and comfort him.
The best advice with a new born baby is that you must try to sleep when he does to diminish sleep deprivation. This is sometimes impossible to do; I remember with my child, I just couldn’t sleep.
I was so worried. When your baby is around 6 weeks old, you can try to strengthen your child’s rhythms by setting up a normal bedtime habit. Schedule a routine, for instance, give him a warm bath, read a story to him, feed him and then put him into bed.
This must happen about the same time every night in that order. In the morning, try to wake your baby the same time every morning and putting him down for naps at the same time each day. You will need to keep adjusting the routine schedule as your baby grows older.
4 – 6 months and beyond:
Around the age of 3 months your baby should start to develop a regular sleep / wake pattern and dropped the night feedings. Well most of them anyway! Experts say that baby sleep training can begin somewhere between 4 to 5 months because then babies are capable of sleeping through the night for 8 to 12 hours.
Before starting sleep training, make sure your baby does not have any medical conditions like colic or reflux, as this will make the process hard and nearly impossible at this age.
Be patient and be flexible. Monitor your baby’s moods and see how he reacts to the new schedule. If he is very resistant, stop the training and start again in a few weeks. Sleep training a baby can be a very daunting task for you and the baby.
There are 2 very successful sleep training methods that you might want to try, but do remember to try them one by one. Not every method will work for every child. Remember, your child is unique and what worked for other moms may not work with your child.
The Ferber method:
The “cry-it out” approach: The Ferber sleep training method basically states that you can teach your child to sooth himself to sleep at around 3 to 5 months. You should follow a loving, warm bedtime routine and put your baby in bed while he is still awake.
You should leave him (even if he cries) for a certain amount of time. You must tell your child that you will checkup on him in say 3 minutes, when he is still awake when you return, give him a kiss and leave the room again. Every day you must try to leave him for longer periods.
Parents are trained to pat and comfort the baby after each predetermined period of time but not to pick up the baby or to feed him. After a week of regularly increasing the waiting time, most babies will learn to fall asleep on their own.
Baby sleep training: No tears method:
- Persuade your baby to eat enough during daytime.
- Begin a regular nap schedule.
- Put your baby to bed at around 7 pm. Do not let him get overtired as it will be so much harder for him to fall sleep.
- Make changes slowly and gradually. When your baby is used to go to bed at 9 pm, you would want to reduce the time little by little; say 10 minutes earlier each day.
- Have a good bedtime routine you and your child enjoy. For example, a warm bath, then reading a story, then maybe a sleeping song and then bed at the same time every night unless you are doing the above point.
- Create a relaxed sleeping atmosphere: Some babies like the room dark and quiet and some will find relaxing soft music soothing. You know your baby the best, so create a relaxed environment that you know your baby will enjoy and make bed time easier.
- Don’t react on every noise your child makes. Your child will play by himself or will just cry a sleepy whimper. You must distinguish a real cry from just not wanting to go to bed.
If these 2 methods do not work for you, you may want to read baby sleep training books. These sleep training baby books can help you with more in-depth methods moms have used for centuries.
The 4 books I recommend:
Below is a baby sleep chart which you can use as an estimate of how long your baby needs to sleep as he grows.
So there you have it, everything you need to know about baby sleep training. I hope you find this article useful and that you and your baby will get more sleep with these sleep training for babies.
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