Sleep Training 101

Let’s talk sleep training! First, what is it? Sleep training is any method used to teach a child how to sleep independently. Let’s dive into some basics. Then, we’ll chat about methods.

The Basics

When is the right time to sleep train?

First, consider your baby’s age! Are they 4 months adjusted or older? Then, yes this could be the right time to sleep train.

Next consider your own schedule and timeline. If you have upcoming trips planned, houseguests visiting or any important late night events you need to be at then hold off. We want 2-3 uninterrupted weeks to focus on establishing new sleep habits. 

Lastly, consider your own level of readiness. Are you truly ready to create and stick to a sleep training plan? It’s totally ok if the answer is no! It’s important to recognize that! If you try and then aren’t consistent it will only be more confusing for your little one. Begin when you are 100% committed to following through. 

Do I have to sleep train?

Nope! Surprised, aren’t you? Not every baby needs sleep training but if your little one is over 4 months old and is waking 3 or more times a night, always needing you to get back to sleep then sleep training will be helpful.

Will sleep training alone fix my child’s sleep?

Also, nope! There are a lot of pieces of the sleep puzzle and if we don’t address all of them, sleep won’t improve as much as it could. Environment, routine, and schedule must be addressed as well. In fact, I recommend addressing those pieces before even beginning formal sleep training. 

Your baby should be at least 4 months old adjusted before sleep training.

The Sleep Training Methods

Unlike most Pediatric Sleep Consultants, I am trained in a multitude of sleep training methods (more than I am even discussing below). I categorize the methods based on the level of parent involvement

No method is better or worse than another. Choose the method that you feel best matches your parenting philosophy and your child’s temperament! They all work as long as you are consistent- this is key!

No Parent Involvement: Sometimes called extinction or cry it out. This is when you say goodnight to your little one and don’t see them until the morning. 

Moderate Parent Involvement: Sometimes called timed-checks, intervals, pop-ins, or Ferber. With this method parents check in on baby at a set amount of time. The intervals can increase over the course of a week or stay the same. 

High Parent Involvement: AKA chair method or camping out. Parents stay in the room while the child falls asleep and return to the room for all wakings. Over the course of 2 to 3 weeks they gradually move further and further away from the child and fade their support. 

So those are the basics! In my practice, I most commonly use a moderate parent involvement method. If you need help navigating through sleep training methods or all of the pieces to the puzzle, I’d love to chat with you. Book an Intro Call here

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