Babies usually don’t start to fall into a regular sleep pattern until sometime between three and six months of age. Parents can help this process along and ensure their baby becomes a good nighttime sleeper through sleep training.
What is infant sleep training?
Baby sleep training involves various techniques that condition your baby towards better, more parent-friendly sleep habits, such as sleeping through the night or teaching your baby to fall asleep on their own.
When should you start sleep training your baby?
Experts have differing views about when is the best time to start sleep training your baby. Some say you’ll have the most success if you wait until around 6 months of age. Others see no harm in doing it much earlier. However, we would advise against it for newborns, and suggest that parents wait until a baby is at least two or three months old before utilizing these techniques. Trying to push a newborn into a more parent-friendly sleep schedule may be convenient for you, but it’s generally not a good idea to rush a child’s development or fight against what nature has designed them to do.
Baby Sleep Training Techniques
Here are some sleep training techniques that will help your baby become a better sleeper:
Sleep-cycle sleep training
When a baby is born, they don’t know the difference between day and night. They are on a round-the-clock sleep/wake cycle that is dictated by what their stomach will hold, which means a feeding every three to four hours.
Yet even at this tender age, you can begin training you baby towards a more normal sleep cycle through the way in which you care for her. When your baby wakes up for nighttime feedings, you need to keep these sessions as subdued as possible. Don’t turn up the lights, don’t play with your baby when he wakes in the night, and put hem back down as soon as possible. Also keep late-night diaper changes low-key.
During the daytime, don’t let your baby take excessively long naps, especially in the late afternoon. And when you rouse them during the day, do so in a chipper voice and then play with him for a few minutes before you go on to other things. By doing this, you begin teaching your baby that nighttime is for sleeping and daytime is for play, which will help her fall into a more normal sleep cycle. Even when she wakes at night for a feeding, she’ll fall back asleep sooner.