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Effective sleep training tips for babies: A guide for exhausted parents

Effective sleep training tips for babies: A guide for exhausted parents

Are you feeling exhausted and desperate for some sleep? It can be challenging when you’re exhausted all the time. But don’t worry; in this article, I’m going to show you some effective sleep training tips that will have your baby sleeping through the night in as little as a week.

In This Article

What Is Sleep Training?

Sleep training is the process of helping your baby learn to sleep through the night on its own. This can be done in many ways but usually involves some form of sleep training methods. If your baby does wake in the night, they learn how to self-soothe and fall back asleep.

When To Start Sleep Training?

Babies are not ready to be sleep trained until they are at least 4-6 months old. Six months seems to be an excellent time to start sleep training your baby, but you can sleep train as early as four months and as late as nine months if your baby needs a little more time.

Not only does your baby need to be ready for sleep training, but so do you! When you think it’s time to start sleep training your baby, make sure you have at least a week of a flexible schedule so that you can be consistent at sleep training.

A good rule of thumb is that once your baby is sleep trained, ensure they don’t have more than three consistent past bedtime nights in a row. So if your baby has gone to bed past their original bedtime for the past three nights, then on the fourth night, ensure you get your baby to sleep at their regular time.

How Do I Prepare For Sleep Training?

If you’re sleep training with the help of a sleep coach or sleep consultant, they will most likely have you fill out a sleep diary for a few days before starting sleep training. This will help them understand your baby’s sleep habits and develop a sleep training plan tailored to your baby.

sleep training baby

If you’re not working with a sleep coach, you can still fill out a sleep diary to help you understand your baby’s sleep habits. You can find sleep diaries online or in parenting books. Now that you know what sleep training is and when to start, let’s cover some ways you can peacefully sleep train your baby.

Before you start sleep training make sure your baby is not sick or teething. If they are it can make sleep training more difficult. It would be best to wait until they are healthy and pain-free!

1. Get Your Baby On A Regular Schedule 

The first step to sleep training is getting your baby on a regular sleep schedule. This means putting them down for naps at the same time every day and putting them to bed at the same time every night. A consistent sleep schedule will help train your baby’s body to know when it’s time to sleep.

2. Avoid Too Much Stimulation At Night

You want to avoid anything that will overstimulate your baby at nighttime. This means no TV, no phones, no tablets, noisy toys, and bright lights in the hours leading up to bedtime. Instead, opt for calm activities like reading books, taking a bath, rocking, or quiet playtime.

3. Determine Your Baby’s Awake Window

Awake windows are when your baby is awake from one nap to another. It’s important to understand your baby’s awake window times to help avoid an overly tired baby; on the other hand, If the awake windows are too short, it can result in your baby not being tired or only taking a quick nap.

To help get your baby to sleep through the night, you need to find the balance between being tired enough to fall asleep easily but not too tired that they become overtired.

Here is the recommended awake window times for your baby’s age.

Baby’s awake Window Range

  • 0-4 Weeks 35-60 minutes
  • 4-12 Weeks 60-90 minutes
  • 3-4 Months 75-120 minutes
  • 5-7 Months 2-3 hours 7-10 Months 2.5-3.5 hours
  • 1 1-14 Months 3-4 hours
  • 14-24 Months 4-6 hours

You know your baby best, so watch them to see if your baby is getting a good quality nap; if they seem cranky and show signs of being tied, try and shorten the awake window and if they are alert and happy, lengthen their awake window.

You know that you have the right amount of awake and sleep windows when it’s not a battle and your baby is sleeping well.

4. Get into an Eat, Play, Sleep Routine

sleep training

Eating, playing, and sleeping are an all-important part of your baby’s day. You want to create a routine that includes all three so your baby knows when it’s time to sleep.

A typical eat, play, sleep routine would look like this:

Eat: Your baby eats every 2-3 hours during the day.

Play: After your baby eats, they have some playtime. This could be tummy time, reading books, or playing with toys.

Sleep: Put your baby down for a nap after they play.

This helps lay the foundation for becoming an independent sleeper since your baby is not being fed in order to fall asleep. Remember that how you put your baby to bed is how they expect to be put back to bed if they wake at night.

5. Still Sleeping

Babies rocked to sleep or fed to fall asleep will expect the same method if they awake in the middle of the night. So to help get your baby to sleep independently, lay them down in the crib before they are completely asleep or if your baby falls asleep in a baby swing. Turn off the swing so your baby can get used to sleeping with no motion.

This will help them fall asleep if woken up at night much quicker since they are used to falling asleep while laying still. We will cover more about how to get your baby to sleep independently later on in this video.

6. Create a Calming Environment for Sleep

You want your baby’s sleep environment to be calm, dark, and quiet. This means using blackout curtains and white noise machines and keeping the room at a comfortable temperature. This will help create an environment that promotes sleep and makes it easier for your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep.

7. Be consistent

Consistency is key when sleep training your baby. You want to be consistent with the sleep schedule, naps, bedtime routine, and sleep environment. This will help your baby know what to expect and make it easier to sleep through the night.

How To Get Your Baby To Sleep On Their Own

Now that you understand the basics of sleep training let’s dive into how to get your baby to sleep on their own.

We recommend two sleep training methods; both are gentle and effective ways to help your baby sleep through the night.

The first method is called the Chair Method.

The chair method is where you lay your baby in their crib and sit in a chair next to their crib until your baby falls asleep. Then each night, you move your chair closer and closer to the door until your chair is outside your baby’s bedroom door. If your baby wakes in the middle of the night, you sit in the same spot the chair is currently in.

The second method we suggest using is called the

Pickup and Put Down method

sleep training

At first, there may be some tears, so after you set your baby into bed, set the timer for 5 minutes and then go back in to help settle your baby by picking them up to help calm them. Then place your baby back in their crib and set your timer for 10 minutes; if your baby is still crying go back in and comfort, and then keep extending the time a little at a time.

As mentioned before, to help your baby become independent sleepers, they must be laid down in their bed awake or at least drowsy. So if your baby does wake at night, you can use one of the methods mentioned above to help your baby sleep independently. Eventually, your baby will sleep through the night, and if they do wake up, they will quickly fall back asleep.

Conclusion

Sleep training does not happen overnight. It can take a few days or weeks for your baby to learn how to sleep through the night. So be patient and know that it will happen as long as you are consistent with the sleep training methods.

If you are interested in learning more gentle and positive parenting tips and want to connect with other moms. Come and join my Facebook parenting group called Gentle Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers.