Do you dread the thought of sleep training? Most moms do! These sleep training tips for newborns will get you started on the path to teaching your baby how to fall asleep without your help.
At what age should I start sleep training my baby?
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Each baby is unique, so the answer to this question is... it depends. But there are some general guidelines you can follow.
Before official training begins, start laying down the groundwork when your baby is about six weeks old. Follow a consistent bedtime routine every night. This will get your baby in the right cycle for sleeping and waking. The baby’s body will begin to recognize the routine as a signal to fall asleep.
Four to five months is the age most pediatricians and sleep training gurus recommend to start sleep training. At this point, babies require fewer night feedings and have adjusted to a more regular sleep-wake cycle.
Before you start, it’s wise to get the go-ahead from your baby’s personal pediatrician. You want to make sure there are no medical issues that could interfere with your baby’s sleep.
Don’t overlook your own need to be ready for sleep training. Sure, you're not the one learning how to fall asleep, but you will be the teacher. Your schedule and your partner need to be ready for the job.
- Check Your Calendar - It might not be the best time to start sleep training if you have upcoming events, trips, or other possible disruptions in your schedule. Make sure the timing is right for all involved.
- Do Your Research - There are different sleep training methods. Choosing the right one for your baby requires thorough research.
- Work Together - Sleep training will only succeed when both parents are on the same page.
How do I make sleep training easier?
Start Out With a Bedtime Routine
Establishing a routine for your newborn will make sleep training easier later on. Your baby’s brain will begin to recognize sleep is coming as the routine becomes more familiar. This signal to sleep will prepare your baby’s body and brain for snoozing, making it easier for your baby to fall asleep.
Here are some tips for coming up with an appropriate bedtime routine:
- Choose calm activities that your baby enjoys.
- Choose activities you will be able to repeat night after night.
- If anyone else will be putting your baby down for the night make sure they know and follow the routine.
You will soon see that an established bedtime routine will make the transition to sleep training much easier.
There are many different sleep training methods. Remember, do your research and choose what works best for your situation.
Once you choose a method, stay consistent. Learning something new isn’t easy, and consistency is key in teaching your little one how to fall asleep.
How do I get my baby to sleep longer at night?
Getting enough sleep can be a challenge for new moms. The following tips can help your baby sleep longer at night, giving you more hours of shut-eye.
Get Your Baby to Bed Early
Your baby won’t necessarily wake up earlier in the morning if she goes to bed early at night. Getting to bed sooner rather than later might actually help your baby sleep longer.
If your baby gets overtired from staying up too late, she will probably have trouble falling and staying asleep. Aim to have your baby in bed between 6:30 PM and 7:00 PM to help her sleep longer.
Contrast Night and Day
Help your baby associate darkness with sleeping and light with the morning. Allow sunshine to light up the room during the day and make sure to keep the bedroom dark at night.
Feed Right Before Bed
As your newborn grows, she will gradually require less frequent feedings, something you will really appreciate at night! Feed your baby right before your own bedtime to get the most hours of sleep before feeding again.
And if your baby does wake up in the middle of the night, don’t go straight for the bottle or boob. First, wait a few moments to see if she will fall asleep again. If not, try singing or rocking your baby. If none of these work, baby is probably in need of a meal.
Don’t wait until fully asleep
Try putting your baby down when she is getting drowsy, rather than fully asleep. It will help her learn how to fall asleep on her own.
In addition, she won’t be confused by the change in her surroundings. Falling asleep in your arms and then waking up in her bed might make your baby upset and keep her from drifting off again.
Sleep training can be a challenge, but don’t let it scare you. Following a schedule and basic guidelines make it much easier for you and your precious newborn.