When your baby is still young enough and not sleeping regularly, it can be incredibly stressful and difficult to deal with it.
Regardless of how much you love your baby, having multiple sleepless nights in a row for both you and your baby can put a strain on the situation, and it can be difficult to focus and stay relaxed.
Sleep training has been a step in every parent’s life and while it may seem like it’s never going to work, it will eventually!
You just need to be patient and follow the advice of your doctors to know what will work best for your baby.
The biggest issue when it comes to sleep training though is working out when you should start sleep training.
If you want to start sleep training but are worried your baby isn’t ready or is too young, then you have come to the right place! Read on to find out when the best time to start sleep training is!
When Should You Start Sleep Training Your Baby?
It is a bit cliche to say “it’s different for every baby” but this is actually the truth! Some babies will be ready to be sleep trained a lot earlier than others, and this is just something that needs to be accepted.
However, there are some guidelines for the best time to start sleep training your baby that can be applied to all babies.
The recommended time to start sleep training your baby for the first time is at around four months old.
It is around this age that babies can learn to self-soothe and in some cases, they won’t need night feedings either.
When these things apply to your baby, that is usually the best time for you to start sleep training. If you feel like your baby isn’t ready for this though, that is fine!
You can wait a couple of weeks if you feel more comfortable. Some babies aren’t ready until they are about 6 months old, so you do have some time if they aren’t ready at four months.
Sleep Training Techniques
If your baby is ready for sleep training, it’s always helpful to have some sleep training techniques under your belt for when the time comes.
There are a few different techniques out there that you can use, but we’ve included some of the most popular and effective ones here for you to look into.
Cry It Out (CIO)
This is the most popular and well-known technique that parents use when they are trying to sleep-train their babies.
The cry-it-out method involves putting your baby to sleep while they are tired but still awake to train them to put themselves to sleep (find the best baby sleep clothes here).
More often than not, your baby will cry while they are trying to put themselves to sleep, but you need to remain strong and avoid going to soothe them.
This method can be quite hard for a lot of parents, but for those who can stick to it and soldier through, it is actually very effective.
To make this method either, make sure you put your baby in a clean diaper and bedclothes, make sure they have eaten, and make sure they are safe in their cribs.
Pick Up, Put Down
If you’d rather try a different technique to the Cry It Out method, then you can try this technique, but it will require a lot of patience! Though it does require patience, lots of parents actually find this technique to be a lot easier overall.
For this technique, you need to pick them up and provide them with some physical contact when they cry or fuss, and then put them back down.
Don’t hold on to them for too long though, the idea is you just pick them up for a couple of seconds and then put them back down!
You will have to do this every time they cry or fuss, so you will need to be patient if you try it.
The Chair Method
This method involves a chair, lots of patience, and time! What you need to do is put your baby in their crib when they feel sleepy or drowsy and then sit in a chair next to them. When they fall asleep, you then leave the room.
If they start crying or fussing, return to the chair and repeat the process. Every couple of nights, move the chair further away from the crib until you end up out of the room!
How Long Does Sleep Training Take?
How long sleep training takes depends largely on the methods and techniques you use, as well as your baby. In general, though, sleep training takes anywhere from 3 to 4 nights to a couple of weeks.
If you have been sleeping training your baby for over two weeks and there seems to be no sign of change or improvement, it’s in your best interest to speak with your baby’s doctor.
It’s not always a bad thing if you do need to consult with the doctor though, it could just be you need to change your plan and method up a bit!
Is Sleep Training Safe?
Lots of new parents worry that sleep training isn’t safe, but there has been lots of research into sleep training and as long as your baby is old enough and ready for it, there are no proven psychological or physical damages that will come from it.
It is always important that you trust your instincts and your baby’s doctors when it comes to sleep training, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice if you need it!
Sleep training your baby is no easy task and it will require a lot of time and patience, but overall, it will be incredibly beneficial to both you and your baby.
When your baby can go to sleep unaided, it means you can get more sleep and you can look after them better!
Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for help if you need it too!