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How to Sleep Train Your Baby?

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Do you often find your child having a disturbed sleep? Do they require a soft rock for you for them to get their infant sleep? Does the child wake you suddenly in the middle of the night for a feed or a cuddle? If the answer to all is a strong yes, then baby sleep training is quite important. But then how do parents sleep-train their toddlers?

If the little one is at least 4 months old and they find it difficult to have their baby sleep, you must train the baby into their bedtime routine. By this age, according to sleep specialists, a child should be able to fall asleep independently.

Sleep training is usually accomplished faster by most parents with not many tears needed. To help you out we at Parenthood bliss make sure to provide every information needed by the parents to help train their baby into good sleep habits. To know more, continue reading the article below:

What do you mean by sleep training?

Sleep training a baby is perhaps a teaching given to the child to fall asleep independently. This means you could put down your toddler when awake into the bed as they drift off without any help from you, like being rocked, swayed, cuddled, nursed, or shushed.

Sleep training a baby also teaches them to fall back to sleep without inevitably waking up overnight as sleep-waking is a normal part of the child’s sleep cycle. 

What Isn't Sleep Training for a Child?

The parents need to understand that sleep training and night weaning don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. Perhaps, you need not worry or not feed the baby when needed, you are allowed to feed them even twice during the night, provided you consult your pediatrician to know the appropriate time to fully drop the baby off.

Therefore, sleep training your baby isn’t necessarily as harsh as it may sound. As you might have understood it was to leave the room while shutting the nursery door leaving the baby crying all night long. You may choose to adjust the crying to let them help comfort themselves before you reach out to the baby and offer them a soothing song or a comforting rub on their back.

When can you start the sleep training method for your baby?

According to a health provider, you may start sleep training your baby as they turn 4 to 6 months of age. This is the best age for babies as they are old enough to sleep for straight 6 to 8 hours without needing you to feed them or comfort them back to sleep.

5 Sleep Training Methods

There are not one but many ways to start sleep training the child. However, parents also have noticed that adding or mixing between the sleep methods helps them put down their baby to sleep. You may find what works best for you from the sleep training methods below:

1. Cry it out (CIO)

This Cry it out Method of sleep training is called the “extinction” method as it involves training your baby by putting them down to the bed and letting them cry until they fall asleep.

To do so, you must first make it a point that the baby is well-fed and has a safe environment to sleep tight. Once that’s in place you may put them down to sleep and not go back into the room until it’s time to wake up in the morning. Keep checks on them and be around so you’re aware of their doing as well to be on the safer end without letting them go totally.  

We understand it might sound a bit harsh to the baby as it is perhaps harder on you as well as the little one. But know that, with consistency, the baby will learn to sleep on their own within three to four nights.

2. The Ferber method

The Ferber method, unlike the CIO, is a method of “graduated extinction” or in other words a “check-and-console,” method that allows you to let the baby cry for a set period until you check on them.  Remember that these timed intervals get longer by a few minutes each interval until the baby falls asleep.

These intervals would then be increased gradually, reducing your presence, and letting the baby independently settle in. Soon enough, with these comfort check-ins, the baby will learn to self-soothe and sleep.

3. Chair method

This sleep training method works best for an older baby as it will be comfortable for you too. You’ll require a chair placed beside the baby’s crib till they fall asleep also without you picking them up. Each time move the chair farther away until you’re near the door.

This will help teach your baby to fall asleep without you being around. It is also important to understand that this habit might work for some babies while others might lead to more tears. It is also important for parents to spend time with them to understand the whole cycle.

4. Bedtime fading method

Do you find your baby wailing away when you understand the time to start sleeping? This might be because they aren’t as yet ready to sleep at the desired bedtime. Therefore, this bedtime fading method helps modify their circadian rhythm to get into the required bedtime. Here’s how:

  • Look for sleep cues in the baby. These could be them rubbing their eyes, yawning, turning away from the lights or sound, fussiness, etc.
  • As they seem to be falling asleep, make sure they are in bed for their sleep.
  • This will help them sleep through the night faster. However, if they cry more, take them out for some time and start again.
  • Gradually, move the bedtime 15 minutes earlier and repeat the process.

It may also be described as a strategic gradual decrease in the parent’s presence in the baby’s room.

5. Pick up put down method

The pick-up-put-down method involves you going through the baby’s normal bedtime routine and putting her down to bed when they are drowsy but awake. If the child wakes up and cries, wait for a few minutes to let her settle on her own. If the child fails to, you may go and soothe/calm the baby back into the crib or bassinet.

This pick-up put-down method might just take more time for the baby to adapt as compared to the other sleep training methods. So, being patient is the key to success in this method.

Can This Sleep Training Technique Be Used for Naps Too?

Yes! This sleep train method that helps the baby sleeping through the night can be used for the toddler for their naps too. Just in case you are trying the cry it out method or Ferber sleep train method, keep in mind that due to their 30 minutes of crying, a good portion of the nap could get wasted. So set a limit on crying lower or try another method when the baby is ready for sleep.

How much time does sleep training take?

According to many parents, the sleep training takes up to 3 to 4 nights in case you follow the Ferber or cry it out method. But for the others, like the bedtime fading, the chair method and pick up put down would take longer and might not work for most babies. So, it is important for parents to choose what method works best for them by the information given above.

However, be consistent with your sleep training for two full weeks, giving the method time to work.

Here are some pointers that work like cookies to help the baby(s) sleep

Irrespective of what method you choose, here are a few sleep training tips that can help and ensure a smoother transition of the child into their sleep training:

  • Have an established bedtime routine

Follow a 30-45 minute sleep routine for the baby to help them transition. In case the child sleeps with feeds, make it a point to schedule that feed before the baby shower or books. This will help ensure you’re able to put the child to bed while she’s still awake.

  • Time strategically

Do not bend the baby’s sleep routine or start with sleep training, especially when there’s a recent disruption. These disruptions could be anything, from a move, a new nanny, an ear infection, or travel. Wait until things settle and then attempt the sleep training.

  • Keep an eye on when the baby’s tired

Parents must watch for sleep cues like yawning, eye rubbing, or crankiness in their toddler that might happen to take place at the same time every night. This is important as putting the baby to sleep when sleepy is important and not when overtired as it may take more time to settle down.

  • Make sure the baby is awake when you put them down

This is because if you put the baby down to sleep when they are already asleep it does no justice to the sleep training as the whole purpose is to make sure the baby learns to sleep on their own.

  • Give them time to self soothe

This means you need not rush to the baby’s room at the first whimper. They tend to make a lot of noise while they sleep, therefore, responding to every noise might just wake them up

When is it necessary to call the doctor?

Parents must never hesitate to check in with their health care for guidance to put the baby to bed and when must you start with the sleep training itself. It is also important for you to get in touch with the doctor if the training hasn’t taken any shape even after two weeks.

Also when the baby doesn’t fall back asleep, the child cries leading to vomiting 3-4 times in a row, if the baby takes more time, etc, talk to the pediatrician.

That’s all about sleep training for a baby! However, to help you further we have a list of the top picks of the best sound machines that would help you keep an ear on the little one in the middle of the night. All you need to do is, click, and explore!

To Conclude

Sleep train your baby involves tears for both the baby and the parents, especially when they cry out loud in need of falling asleep amidst your comfort. But, how hard or harsh it may turn into, sleep training is a must for the toddler to learn self-soothing and not cry when you leave the room. To help parents out, we have curated all the information above for you to read and understand that benefits both for a peaceful sleep.

How to Sleep Train Your Baby FAQs:

1) At what age is it safe to let the babies cry it out as a part of their sleep training method?

You could let the baby cry it out as a part of their sleep training method when they are about 5 to 6 months old. By this age, the babies can sleep in the night without needing to be fed.

2) What are the ways to sleep train the baby without crying?

The crying it out method may seem like an emotional episode. You may use the following methods if you are feel the same:
  • Have your regular nap schedule
  • Make it a point to put the baby to bed early, by around 6:30 or 7 o'clock
  • Keep any changes slow and not sudden
  • Find a soothing bedtime routine
  • Develop keywords and sleep signals to help indicate that it's time for sleep.
  • 3) When is the right time to start sleep training a baby?

    According to the Sleep Foundation, the right time to begin sleep training for a baby is around 4 to 6 months old. This is when the baby is fit to sleep at a stretch of 6 to 8 hours without any soothing needed at your end.


    Reviewed By:

    Nimrat Sidhu - Pediatration

    Nimrat Sidhu - Pediatration

    Dr. Nimrat S Sidhu is a practicing pediatrician for about 5 years now and holds an MD pediatrics degree. She was the topper of her batch, has always had a keen interest in her core medical field, and is specially trained for neonatal resuscitation.

    She has published multiple research papers on pediatrics and is interested in topics like Neonatal care, skincare, baby growth, vaccination, growth, and development.

    On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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