Sleep Training Schedule
Saying that getting enough sleep after you have a baby is a challenge is an understatement. Sleep training can help both you and your baby get enough sleep each night. For more sleep tips, try Sleep Connection to get more ideas and products that can help you sleep.
What does sleep training mean?
Sleep training refers to teaching your baby how and when to fall asleep. Sleep training is a way to get your baby to sleep through the night, once they can get through a night without needing to be fed.
Is it too early to start sleep training?
Because newborns need to be fed every couple of hours, you can’t expect to get a full night’s sleep in the first couple of months. During this time, no one follows a sleep schedule. You may get more sleep in one afternoon than you get all night.
Once you no longer have to feed your baby in the middle of the night, you can start establishing a sleep schedule. Do not attempt to sleep train a baby that is younger than four months old or still needs to be fed in the middle of the night.
Why try sleep training?
There are many benefits of sleep training. The main benefit is that you, your baby, and the rest of your family can eventually sleep through the night.
What if I don’t sleep train?
Even if you don’t sleep train, your child will eventually learn to sleep through the night on their own. If you are not comfortable with sleep training or you think you don’t need to sleep train, that is perfectly fine. It is not necessary to sleep train.
When should I start sleep training?
It is hard to say when to begin a sleep training schedule. There is no “right” time to start sleep training. Sleep training is important as it is to keep a workout log. You can start sleep training your baby at any time, even if they are older than one year.
Talk to your pediatrician if you are hesitant about beginning a sleep schedule. If your baby was slow to gain weight or was born premature, they may not be ready to begin sleep training.
Sleep training methods
One method of sleep training is referred to as gentle sleep training. With this method, you still soothe your baby when they cry.
The no-tears or no-crying sleep training method refers to gradually shifting your baby’s natural sleeping habits.
With the Weissbluth sleep training method, you set up a routine before bedtime that usually involves a bath and reading a book. Then lay your baby down to sleep, leave your baby alone in their room, and don’t come back until the morning. While this sounds harsh at first, it can help teach your baby to fall asleep on their own.
The cry-it-out sleep training method involves letting your baby self-soothe. This means not interfering with your baby while they are trying to fall asleep. The extinction method (leaving your baby alone until the morning) falls under this method once your baby can sleep through the night.
The Ferber method of sleep training involves checking on your baby in intervals. The time in between checks increases gradually over time. During the checks, you can verbally soothe your baby, but you don’t pick them up.
Similar to the Ferber method is the pick-up-put-down method. To start using this method, check on your baby in intervals. Using this method, you can pick your baby up and comfort them during the checks.
The sleep lady shuffle method, or gradual withdrawal method, refers to remaining close to your baby’s crib at first. Then each night, you move a little bit further away than the night before. Eventually, you will no longer be in the room.
How long does it take to sleep train successfully?
There is no set time of completion for sleep training. Each baby has unique sleeping habits and attachment to caretakers. It takes at least a week to sleep train a baby, but it may take longer.
Stick with the schedule and method you have chosen, and eventually you will get there. Even if you don’t think it is working, it may just take time to start seeing progress. If the method you chose doesn’t feel right, switch to a different method of sleep training or combine it with another method.
Types of sleep schedules
There are many different types of sleep schedules you can stick to. Most children do better following a biphasic sleep schedule, or a siesta sleep schedule, meaning they sleep more than one time per day.
If you are overwhelmed by the many different sleep schedules, don’t stress. There are sleep schedule calculators that can create a plan for you.
When making a sleep schedule for your baby, take into account things like teething, getting sick, vacations or short trips away from home and other shifts in routine. When these kinds of things happen, you may lose progress. Don’t fret! You can get back on track and start making progress again.
Can I modify sleep training methods?
Yes! It is a great idea to modify sleep training methods to suit your baby’s needs. It is also recommended to try different methods until you find one that works for your baby.
Try each method for a week before you switch. Just because your baby is still not sleeping like you hoped, doesn’t mean the method isn’t working.
Don’t stick with a sleep training method that you are not comfortable with. You know your baby’s needs best, and if you feel that a particular method would not be best, don’t try it. Only try sleep training once your baby is old enough to self-soothe and talk to your pediatrician if you have any concerns.
It can seem impossible for new parents to get a good night’s sleep at times. Fortunately, there are products you can buy to help you get better sleep. For example, you can try using a white noise machine in the nursery to provide steady sound throughout the night. There are plenty of other products that can help you and your baby sleep as well.
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