For the past nine months, your little peanut has lived in 98 degrees of warmth and comfort in the womb. They have no idea how to tell the difference between A.M or P.M, and daylight is a new concept for them. In fact, because they are completely new to the world, a newborn baby crying at night is expected. They’re hungry and they don’t know what to do.
When it comes to new parents putting baby to sleep, everyone is in for a few long nights. Successfully applying the methods that will help baby sleep soundly won’t happen instantly. It takes time and patience. In the 3 a.m. Club, we know it can be exhausting and frustrating all at once because we’ve been there. That's why we've gathered a few helpful baby sleep training tips.
First, what is sleep training for babies?
Essentially, sleep training is a broad term. It refers to a few methods designed to help babies learn how to fall asleep and self-soothe once your wee one reaches 4 to 6 months in age.
There’s the Cry It Out method (also known as extinction sleep training) where you let your baby cry until they fall asleep. Another optioned would be the Ferber Sleep Method that involves letting your little one cry for a few minutes before checking in to soothe them. And finally the Sitback Method that requires parents to sit in a chair next to your sweetie’s bed. Each one requires putting baby to sleep while they’re tired but awake. Eventually (and after following the steps of your chosen sleep training method), your little one will drift off to sleep without being rocked, cuddled, nursed, or hushed. Plus, sleep training will teach your baby to fall back asleep should something wake them at night, like a wet diaper or a lost pacifier.
Next, tips on how to make a baby go to sleep.
Many experts will agree that a bedtime routine is crucial to help your baby sleep. You can start to introduce a routine as young as 6 weeks old. Creating a solid foundation using a sleep schedule and sleep cues will help set your cutie up for a restful night. But keep in mind, it’s only an introduction. Sleep training newborns isn’t quite the same as sleep training a baby who is 4 to 6 months old. Newborns are expected to wake up every few hours to eat. A baby who is 4 months or older might be able to last up to 6 to 8 hours without needing to eat, giving them a better chance to sleep through the night.
And finally—tips on sleep training for naps.
Sleep training for naps starts with your little one being active in between naps. Show them books or practice tummy time. If they’ve mastered tummy time, start showing them how to sit up. This might not seem active to you, but this takes a lot of energy for tiny humans. Once they start yawning and eye rubbing, get them comfy with a full belly and clean diaper. After that, set the mood with simple sleep cues. And finally, stay consistent by creating a sleep schedule. It provides your peanut with a reassuring routine that can ease anxiety and help create a happy little dreamer.
Above all else, remember that it’s called infant sleep training for a reason—with training being the key word. If your little one doesn’t catch on right away, be patient and stick with it. And always feel free to reach out to your pediatrician. You and your doctor know your baby best.