Waking up every few hours to feed your newborn is a rite of passage for every parent. And coping with sleep deprivation is very real and common. By now, you may have gone down the rabbit hole of research for baby sleep training methods.
There’s the Cry It Out method (also known as extinction sleep training), where you let your baby cry until they fall asleep. Another option would be the Ferber Sleep Method, which involves letting your little one cry for a few minutes before checking in to soothe them. And finally, the Sitback Method requires parents to sit in a chair next to their sweetie’s bed. Each one requires putting baby to sleep while they’re tired but awake.
While not all babies will sleep train the same way, we’ve organized baby sleep training tips by age and explained the possible results you can expect in each stage of their first year of life.
Sleep Training Newborns to 3 Months Old
From the first day your newborn enters the world, it’s naptime! Most experts will agree that during the first 2 and 1/2 months of life, your newborn can sleep a total of 18-20 hours a day, usually in 2-4 hour chunks, and will only wake when they are hungry. However, once your baby approaches 3 months of age, you can start practicing your chosen sleep training method. But note, this is just practice. Your tiny human will need time, growth, and development to master a healthy sleep rhythm.
Sleep Training 4 Month Olds to 6 Months Old
By now, your little one might have transitioned to eating more during the day and eating less at night. (If not, that’s okay too! Every baby is different.) Thus, longer stretches of nighttime sleep will begin to happen. This is the exact moment in time when you can start sleep training, otherwise known as sleep learning. And once your little nugget reaches 6 months of age, that’s when babies can self soothe. And, self-soothing can lead to fewer midnight cuddles and extra Zzzs for exhausted parents. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to learn about your baby’s sleep cycle for even better results later down the road.
Sleep Training 6 Month Olds to 9 Months Old
Congratulations! By now, your entire house might be resting easy, and one of the sleep training methods you have chosen is working. You can still expect nighttime feeds (otherwise known as dream feeds) during this phase in life. However, if you’re still struggling to get your little to sleep through the night, don’t worry. Every baby learns at their own pace. Or, it might be time to switch your chosen baby sleep training method. For example, if you preferred the Ferber Method, maybe switch to the Sitback method or Extinction Method. Not every baby is going to respond the same way to your method of choice. Be patient and stick with it.
Sleep training 9 Month Olds to 1 years old
At this point in sleep training, midnight feeds may have come to a stop and your consistent baby sleep training methods have made it easier for your kiddo to fall asleep on their own. But, if you’re experiencing a sleep regression, you aren’t alone. Your little darling is learning all kinds of new things, and it’s super exciting for them. All of the excitement may even keep them up a bit longer at night. Sleep regressions most commonly happen between 8 and 9 months of age, and continue on and off until your baby reaches toddlerhood.
Remember, your little one is entirely new to this whole wide world—including A.M and P.M. Give it time and you’ll do great! As always, reach out to your pediatrician for even more guidance on sleep training.