What is Sleep Training?
Sleep training is the process of helping a baby learn to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.
Some babies do this quickly and easily. But many others have trouble settling down to sleep or they have trouble getting back to sleep when they've wakened – and they need help along the way. This Lib Guide will explain three main approaches to sleep training: Cry It Out, No Cry, and Fading Methods.
When To Start?
It is recommended that you start sleep training when your baby is between 4 and 6 months old. By about 4 months, babies have typically started to develop a regular sleep-wake cycle and dropped most of their night feedings. These are signs they may be ready to start sleep training. Many babies this age are also developmentally able to sleep for long stretches at night.
Of course, every baby is different: Some may not be ready for sleep training until they're a bit older. Some babies sleep seven hours or longer at an early age, while others won't until much later. If you're not sure whether your baby is ready for sleep training, ask his doctor.
Preparing For Sleep Training
Introduce a bedtime routine. You can start when your baby is as young as 6 weeks. A routine can include a warm bath, a book, and a lullaby before putting your child to bed. (For more ideas look at bedtime routines article in the link section.)
Pick a consistent bedtime. A good bedtime is between 7 and 8 o'clock, so your baby isn't overtired and fighting sleep.
Follow a predictable daytime schedule. Try to get your baby up around the same time every morning, and feed him and put him down for naps at about the same times during the day. This predictability helps him relax and feel secure, and a relaxed baby settles down to sleep more easily.
Make sure your baby doesn't have a medical condition that could affect her sleep. An underlying condition, such as sleep apnea needs to be addressed by your baby's doctor before you consider a sleep training program.