When Is the Right Time to Sleep Train Your Baby?

When is the right time to sleep train your baby?

If you’re all too familiar with feeling completely exhausted, you need sleep training in your life. Sleep training can help your little one finally learn how to self-soothe to fall asleep and stay asleep. Sleep training was a complete game-changer for my family, which launched my passion for helping other families achieve better sleep schedules too. Today, I’m sharing how to know when it’s the right time to sleep train your baby! 

When Is the Right Time to Sleep Train Your Baby?

The short answer is that every baby is different, but most of the time, babies are ready around 4 months. As your baby grows and develops, you may start to notice their sleep patterns starting to appear. Around the 4-month mark, babies start to show signs of readiness for sleep training. This is when they’re able to typically go longer without eating and have developed the ability to learn how to self-soothe. 

There are SO many factors to sleep training. If you missed the 4-month mark, don’t worry- it’s never too late to start! Each child is different, and you know your child best. Deciding when is the right time to sleep train your baby depends on their readiness, and also yours (it’s hard work!). But first, let’s dive into what sleep training actually is. 

Sleep Training: How to Finally Get Your Sleep Back

The answer to your sleepless nights is sleep training- it’s life-changing for tired families! Sleep training helps to teach your baby self-soothing skills to fall asleep independently. This helps them fall back to sleep when overnight wakeups occur without needing you to wake up through the night and get them back to bed. There are so many benefits of sleep training– it helps them to develop positive sleep habits that they will carry with them throughout their whole life! 

Sleep training isn’t just leaving your baby alone to cry for hours. There are tons of different sleep training methods to choose from based on both you and your baby’s needs. Whether you opt for the Ferber method, pick-up-put-down method, or somewhere in between- there are so many ways to sleep train while accommodating your child’s unique needs! 

The best part about sleep training is how beneficial it is for the WHOLE family. Teaching your little one sleep skills will help them so much in life, as well as helping you. When you’re tired, parenting feels so much more difficult to practice patience, enjoy the small moments, and be able to give your child all of you. Sleep training buys you back sleep and time to have more moments to yourself and feel energized. When it’s the right time to sleep train your baby, you will be so thankful that you did it. When you’re well-rested, you feel like a completely different person! 

How to Tell When It’s The Right Time to Sleep Train Your Baby

Whether you have a 4-month-old who you want to get on schedule or a toddler who fights bedtime like it’s their job, every family’s sleep training journey will look different. Parents are essential to sleep training- so it’s key to wait until YOU are ready. Sleep training isn’t for the weak! It requires 100% commitment, so make sure to hold off until you’re able to go all in. 

As challenging as sleep training can be, it’s worth every second of hard work! Having a well-rested, happy child makes parenthood significantly easier. When your little one is ready to start sleep training, there are a variety of methods that you can choose from. If you waited to start, that’s okay- there’s still time to get your child on track. If you’re feeling tired, totally stressed out, and ready to take the next step, it may be the right time to sleep train your baby! 

Sleep Training Methods 

Just like the right time to sleep train your baby will look different for everyone, sleep training methods aren’t a one-size-fits-all deal. Every child is different, and there are a variety of methods to choose from so you can tailor your sleep training to your unique family:

Ferber method

The Ferber method has a few slight variations, but the gist of it remains the same. Follow your bedtime routine, put your baby down in their crib awake, and then go in to check on them at predetermined intervals. Keep the check-ins short and sweet, and resist picking up or feeding them. Say something brief like “Mommy loves you, it’s time for bed now” and leave the room again. Increase the time in between intervals until you get to 15 minutes, and continue doing so until they fall asleep. 

Pick-up-put-down method

The PUPD method involves putting your baby down in their crib while they’re still awake and leaving right away. Wait and listen to see if they cry, and if they do, set a timer for a minute or so to see if they’re able to self-soothe. If they continue to cry, go back into their room and pick them up, soothe them until they stop crying, and try again. Repeat until they’re asleep and increase the time increments each night to help teach self-soothing skills. 

Extinction/cry-it-out method

The extinction method follows the same routine as the Ferber method, but instead of going in to soothe them, you don’t go back into their room. Eventually, they will fall asleep. This method can be controversial, but it’s important to know what sleep training method works best for you and your baby. 

Chair method

The chair method is a bit of a more hands-on sleep training method and can be challenging for parents because of the extra discipline it requires. Follow your bedtime routine, put your baby in their crib, and sit in a chair next to their crib. They may cry, but it’s important not to pick them up and soothe them, but you can provide comforting words. Each night, move the chair back a little bit further away until you’re at the bedroom door and eventually out of the room. 

Shush/pat to sleep method

Follow your normal bedtime routine and lay your baby down in their crib. Shush and pat them as they fall asleep. This helps to teach them how to fall asleep without being held or rocked, but it still offers some soothing since they know you’re there with them. If they start to cry, you can pick them up and shush/pat them while holding them, and then place them back in their crib once they’re calm. 

Fading method 

Follow your normal bedtime routine and soothe your baby to sleep however you normally do (rocking, feeding, etc.). Each night, soothe them for less and less time until you don’t have to soothe them to sleep at all. This method is one of the more challenging options because of how time-consuming it can be. It also doesn’t teach your baby to self-soothe as effectively as some of the other methods, which can lead to middle-of-the-night wakeups. However, it is one of the more gentle options, and if you’re not ready to let go of soothing your child to sleep yet, this may be the method for you.

How to Sleep Train Your Baby with Success

When you decide it’s the right time to sleep train your baby, there are ways to make it feel easier! Here are some tips to effectively sleep train your baby so that you don’t have to keep repeating the same process again and again. Stay strong mama- sleep training is possible! 

Be 100% committed 

Sleep training is no walk in the park. It’s going to be a tough period- but once your baby is sleep-trained, bedtime will feel SO much easier. It takes a lot of work, but it’s completely worth it! If you’re in the midst of a big change, now may not be the best time to dive into sleep training. Finding the right time to sleep train your baby means waiting until you’re ready to be all in to see more success in the long run. 

Stay consistent 

Consistency is KEY. If you’re inconsistent, your baby will become confused. This will make it so much harder for them to establish positive sleeping habits and develop the ability to self-soothe. Whatever process you choose for sleep training, stick with it for naps as well. Even when it feels like it’s not working- don’t give up! This is why it’s so important to wait until YOU are ready to give it your all so that you can stay consistent and sleep train them much more quickly. 

Wean nighttime feedings 

Nighttime feedings can make sleep training a challenge. If possible, wean nighttime feedings to make the process of sleep training easier for you. Although it’s harder, it’s not impossible. I have a whole post dedicated to night feeding during sleep training

Create an optimal sleeping environment 

There are SO many baby sleeping products to help make your baby’s room more suitable for sleep. If your little one is older, there are also lots of toddler sleeping products that can help them fall asleep without requiring as much soothing. 

Follow a bedtime routine 

Again, consistency is key here! Establishing a bedtime routine has so many benefits– it will help your baby develop positive sleep habits and make bedtime feel much easier for everyone. Keep a consistent bedtime routine to help your little one adapt to their sleep training more easily. If your child is older, there are lots of bedtime activities for toddlers to help eliminate bedtime battles

If you’ve tried all of these tips and still can’t get your little one to sleep through the night, I’m here to help! I offer one-on-one sleep support to help families just like you FINALLY crack the code to sleep training. You deserve to feel well-rested! 

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