The newborn phase can often seem like a blur. I remember feeling so so sleep deprived it felt like torture and when the four-month sleep regression hit I just wanted to cry all day I was so exhausted. That's when I called on a sleep consultant (who knew that was even a thing!) and we began sleep training to get some sanity back in our house.

What is sleep training -

Sleep training teaches your baby to self-soothe and to sleep for longer stretches then eventually through the night, helping to establish a healthy sleep routine and give your little one and your whole family a better night's sleep. 

When is the best time to start -

The general consensus seems to be that the best time to start sleep training is between four to six months old when babies are old enough to learn to self-settle and will need fewer feeds during the night. Note that before this age there is no harm in introducing a wind-down routine at bedtime to help encourage restful deep sleep but sleep training is not recommended before four months of age.

There are different methods of sleep training, each with its own set of pros and cons and it's important to find the right one for your family. Sleep training is.

What are the most popular Sleep Training Methods?

The first method of sleep training is the "Gradual Withdrawal" or "Camping Out" method. This method involves gradually reducing the amount of time you spend in the room with your little one at bedtime until you are no longer in the room when they fall asleep. This can be a nice gentle method for both bub and parents.

The "No-Cry" method is another popular method of sleep training. This method involves teaching your baby to sleep through the night without crying. This is done by creating a consistent bedtime routine, providing a soothing environment, and using techniques such as rocking, singing or nursing your baby to sleep. This method is very gentle but it may take longer for your baby to learn to sleep independently without comfort from you.

The "Pick-Up/Put-Down" method is another way of sleep training that involves putting your baby down in the crib when they are drowsy but still awake. If your baby cries, you pick them up and comfort them, but then put them back in the crib when they are calm. This method can be helpful for babies who are more resistant to sleep training, but it can be time-consuming. (this is the method we chose but it won't be right for every family, so go with what works best for you and your baby.)

Ultimately, the best way to sleep train your baby is the one that feels right for you and your baby. It's important to remember that every baby is different, and what works for one baby may not work for another. Be open to trying different methods and be patient, as it can take time for your baby to learn to sleep independently.

Contact a qualified sleep consultant to help you decide what is right for you and your family and help figure out what may cause your little ones' sleepless nights.

There is also the option of a residential sleep school if you feel you need in-person help and support. No one should ever underestimate the toll that sleep deprivation take takes on a mother and sleep school can be a great option in terms of the level of support they provide. You and your baby will stay at the sleep school Be aware there may be waiting lists and depending on whether you go to a public or private sleep school it may be a little more pricey than a sleep consultant.

The fact is there are so many different ways to sleep train, each with its own set of pros and cons.

It's important to research and understand the methods and try the one that feels right for you and your family. Whichever method you choose remember to be patient and persistent, as it can take time for your baby to learn to sleep independently.

Let us know in the comments what method has worked well for you.

January 23, 2023 — Ruth Quinn

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