Now that you have that little bundle all to yourself, you might be living through the pain of sleepless nights with your newborn. Not to worry, we have good news! Once you get past the newborn phase, you might be able to start sleep training your baby.
As new parents, you may be left wondering: What is sleep training for babies? What are sleep training methods? And, is our baby old enough? First, let’s explain sleep training. In a nutshell, it’s teaching your baby to drift off to sleep with very little help from you. In addition, sleep training can also teach your little one to fall back asleep should they wake up overnight from a wet diaper, a lost pacifier, or a loud noise.
Sound dreamy? We thought so, too. Here are some tips and baby sleep training methods to help you learn how to put baby to sleep and get you that much closer to a restful night.
When do babies start sleeping through the night?
Once you’ve created a bedtime routine for your little one and they reach 4-6 months in age, most experts agree that you can start sleep training your baby. This is when your little one can sleep 6 to 8 hours through the night without needing a feed. While it can sometimes be challenging to predict which sleep training method will work for your family, here are a few to consider.
The Cry It Out Method
Otherwise known as the CIO Method, this option is great if you want to learn how to get your baby to sleep without needing to be held. It starts with going through their regular bedtime routine, placing your baby in their crib while awake, and quietly leaving the room. Once that has happened, you won’t go back in until the next morning or until your little one needs to eat. You simply let baby cry it out, self-soothe, and fall asleep on their own.
The Ferber Method (Check and Console)
Ferber Method sleep training requires a bit more waiting. First, begin with your baby’s regular bedtime routine, then leave the room. Once your baby starts to cry, wait 1 minute to check on and console them with a gentle back rub or whisper, “I’m right here. Everything is ok.” (Don’t pick them up or rock them, because this will interfere with them falling asleep on their own.) Once they are consoled, quietly leave the room. This is considered 1 interval. Increase the amount of time you check on your child by 5 minutes with each interval. The time intervals should increase over the next few days as your baby beings to self-soothe and drift off to sleep.
The Sitback Method
The Sitback Method is significantly different from the Ferber Method and the Cry It Out Method because it requires a bit more restraint from parents. Essentially, it teaches parents how to get baby back to sleep in a crib without disturbing their sleep routine. First, go through your baby’s bedtime routine. Instead of leaving the room when you put them down, sit in a chair next to the bed. Once baby falls asleep, you can leave. But every time baby wakes up, sit back in your chair next to the crib without picking them up or rocking them. Every few nights, increase the distance of the chair from the crib until you’re out of the room.
- Create a bedtime routine.
- Know when your baby is tired with basic sleep cues like yawning and eye rubbing.
- Put your little one down while they’re awake but clearly tired.
- Delay response time. There’s no need to rush into their room, and this might delay your infant sleep training.
There is no one right way to sleep train your baby. Remember, every baby is different, and what works for one might not work for another. And keep in mind, there are always going to be those common sleep struggles that happen occasionally. The best thing to do is to stay patient, stick with it, and don’t be afraid to ask your pediatrician for advice. Eventually, everyone in your household will be sleeping like babies.