How to Sleep Train Your Baby
As a parent there are many unknown answers to questions like when do babies start tummy time or how to sleep train your baby. The idea of sleep training your baby can feel like a mystery, especially if you haven’t had a full night’s rest since your little one arrived. Even if you desperately want sweet dreams for both your baby and yourself, it can be challenging to see the light through your sleepless haze.
In truth, infant sleep training is rarely easy at first—and with the volume of information, opinions, and suggestions being thrown at you, it can be difficult to know where to begin.
Fortunately, we’re here to help. Read on for our 3-step guide on how to sleep train baby and give both of you the peaceful night’s rest you’ve been longing for.
Step #1: Decide When to Start
When should you start to sleep train your baby? Every baby is different when it comes to a baby sleep training method, but most research concludes that you should wait to sleep train your baby until they’re at least four months old.1
This is because by four months, most babies:
- Need fewer nighttime feedings
- Are learning to self-soothe
- Are beginning to develop their circadian rhythm (the natural process by which our bodies regulate cycles of sleeping and waking)
By six to nine months, your trained baby may even begin falling asleep on their own.
Still, some young babies naturally take longer to reach this stage, so don’t fret if sleep training doesn’t work out right away.
Step #2: Understand the Goal
Before beginning to sleep train your baby, it can be helpful to understand what you’re trying to accomplish.
Sleep training is the process in which a baby learns how to fall asleep on their own without being rocked or soothed by a parent. Some babies adapt to this process naturally, while some need a little more time or take to certain methods better than others.
For some parents, sleep training can feel as unknown as a monster under the bed. However, research shows that sleep training can improve the quality of your baby’s sleep without causing any adverse effects.2 It also provides multiple health benefits for parents and caregivers, including:
- Better mood
- Reduced depression
- Lessened fatigue
- Improved quality of nighttime sleep
Though it may be intimidating at the start, in the long term, sleep training can be tremendously helpful for both you and your bundle of joy.
Step #3: Choose Your Method
Once you have decided to begin sleep training, choose one of the several baby sleep training methods to help you to stay consistent. When choosing a method, keep in mind that different parents prefer different methods or find that a combination of several methods suits them the best.
Below, we’ve listed several of the most popular sleep training methods to help you get started.
In this method, you sit in a chair next to the crib after laying your baby down for sleep.3 You can then leave the room, but return to the chair if they wake and start to fuss. However, you do not console the baby—you simply sit in the chair and stay until they are asleep again. Each night, you gradually move the chair further from the crib until you’re out of the room completely.
This method is said to help your baby slowly adapt to falling asleep without you there. However, it can require patience and often takes the longest out of all the methods.
Pick Up, Put Down
In this approach, you put your little one down to sleep, but return if they start to fuss or cry. You can pick up, pat, or soothe your baby, but once they settle, put them down and leave the room.
While this method also requires time and patience, it’s preferred by parents who aren’t comfortable letting baby cry, even when they’re sitting nearby.
Check and Console
Also known as the Ferber method, this approach is sometimes combined with the Pick Up, Put Down method. Here, you lay baby down to sleep, but return at set times to check in on them and reassure them without picking them up.
To teach your baby to self-soothe, you gradually increase the time between check-ins until you’re going the whole night without a check-in.
Cry It Out
The Cry It Out technique involves putting your baby down to sleep once they’re drowsy, then leaving and allowing them to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own, even if they fuss or cry. This method is perhaps the most stressful for parents, and understandably so.
However, it may also be the fastest method of sleep training, requiring as little as a few days for your baby to adapt.
Better Sleep for You and Baby with Monica + Andy
When sleep training your baby, help them drift off even faster by dressing them in the coziest sleepwear possible. Our GOTS certified organic cotton baby pajamas and wearable sleep bags provide babies with soothing, cloud-like softness, so they can snuggle up to a good night’s rest.
And when you’re ready for some extra help, jump into Monica + Andy’s parent community for more opportunities to learn and grow. With classes covering everything from Infant Sleep to Naptime, raising a happy, healthy baby is no longer a mystery.
- Fry, Alexa. "Sleep Training." Sleep Foundation. Updated 24 June 2021,Shttps://www.sleepfoundation.org/baby-sleep/sleep-training
- Korownyk, Christina, and Adrienne J Lindblad. “Infant sleep training: rest easy?.”Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadienvol. 64,1 (2018): 41.
- "When and How to Sleep Train Your Baby."Cleveland Clinic. 3 May, 2021,https://health.clevelandclinic.org/when-and-how-to-sleep-train-your-baby/