When is the best time to teach your baby to sleep or “sleep train”?

Awake babyWhen is the best time to sleep train?

I have heard many people say that their baby will grow out of their bad sleep habits. The bad news is that they won’t.

When is the best time to teach your baby to sleep or “sleep train”?

So when is the best time to sleep train? Weissbluth says not before 4 months, but what is his definition of “sleep training”? Sleep training isn’t necessarily ‘crying it out”. There are many different techniques to suit different children and parents.

I think it possible to start sleep training your baby from day 1 with 2 simple steps:

1. Using the EASY schedule so that you feed them when they wake up, not before they go to sleep.

2. Putting them down awake one time per day, the first morning nap when its easiest for them to fall asleep. So they know what that feels like and have experience and confidence in soothing themselves down.

Beyond this you do whatever works for you and your family.

What if you’ve been doing that and you are at the point that you need to teach your baby to sleep or “sleep train”?  When is the best time?

I think 3 – 4 months is a great time to teach your baby to sleep. In that period it is rare to have any of the following:
1. Teething
2. Rolling
Both of which can stop or disrupt sleep training.  Also, at 4 months they “wake up” and come out of the “fourth trimester” and have a greater awareness of their world and more interest in their mom.

When is sleep training more challenging?

When separation anxiety sets in around 8 – 11 months. Imagine that you’ve been nursing or rocking your baby to sleep for 9 months and now have to stop doing that. That would be a big change for them, and on top of that they get separation anxiety. Also there are many developmental changes associated with movement that occur. Lots going on for a child in this time period.  However, that is not to say that sleep training will be traumatic or impossible at 8 -11 months.  Not at all.  My point is that if you are having challenges at 3 -4 months, don’t delay your plan to implement changes because you think your baby will grow out of these frequent night wakings or bad nappings.  The sooner you address bad habits, the better your child and you will sleep.

Food for thought.