Ray-Zee

Not all parents want to separate their beds or rooms as soon as their little one arrives. Some even share the room or the bed until the baby is at least a year old. Some parents decide on co-sleep with the baby, circumstantially or by choice. If you are a new parent and choosing to co-sleep with your baby, be sure to check the co-sleeping guideline and checklist to keep your baby safe.

Sleep Training: Can you really sleep-train while co-sleeping?

 

Not all parents want to separate their beds or rooms as soon as their little one arrives. Some even share the room or the bed until the baby is at least a year old. Some parents decide on co-sleep with the baby, circumstantially or by choice. If you are a new parent and choosing to co-sleep with your baby, be sure to check the co-sleeping guideline and checklist to keep your baby safe. Research shows that co-sleeping decreases the risk of SIDS by up to 50 percent. You should go through all the co-sleeping guidelines, if you haven’t already, for a safer co-sleeping experience.

sleep training
Photo by Kevin Liang on Unsplash

The success rate of co-sleep training highly depends on the age of the baby. Mostly, the perfect time to sleep train your baby is 6 months or older. After the six-month mark, most babies are fine without a night-time feeding session or with just minimum feed (bottle or breast).

Like I always mention in most of my posts that your mom instinct will tell you exactly when your baby is ready for sleep training and doesn’t need frequent feeding sessions during the night. It might be during the 6th month or even as late as a year old.

Sleep training by definition

By definition, sleep training or sleep teaching means to train your baby to sleep on their own without any help, and throughout the night. The goal is to train your baby to fall back to sleep after waking up during the night. Sleep training for the baby who co-sleeps with you is just a little trickier than independent sleep training, but it’s achievable. The key here is lots of patience and consistency with the right strategy in action.

The basics of sleep training, whether independent or co-sleeping depend on the bedtime routine. Therefore, plan and set a bedtime routine with your baby. The routine should be easy to follow and keep up with. You can easily choose whatever suits your family’s setting the most.

Remember, that the key is to be consistent when following that routine.  “Babies learn from repetition,” says Barbara Howard, MD, a pediatrician specializing in child behavior and development at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, in Baltimore.

Every family has its own kind of routine. While some prefer to give a bath to their baby before bedtime followed by a change of clothes and a story time. Others might just prefer just an easy clean-up and a story time. No matter what routine you choose or create, the focus should be on following it consistently. once the routine is set in place, here’s how you will incorporate sleep training:

 

Co-Sleeping Training Guide:

 

co-sleep training guide

 

Co-Sleep training guide explained!

One of the main reasons your baby can’t fall asleep on its own is because the baby is in the habit of falling to sleep while being physically connected to you. This might be through nursing, rocking, patting, or cuddling. If your baby breastfeeds right before sleeping then try to pick the baby up as soon as the feeding is done.

Put the baby in the crib (if you share the room) or on the bed with you where the baby sleeps when the baby is awake but drowsy. The baby will probably start crying due to separation anxiety.

Wait for a couple of minutes and let the baby settle on its own. I would suggest you wait for at least 2 to 5 minutes before you pick the baby up to comfort. You should put the baby back in the crib or to the bed awake but drowsy. Technically, you might be repeating the same pickup and put down cycle multiple times during the night.

The first time I was training my 9 months old baby who used to co-sleep with me in my bed, It took me a decent 3 hours just to make him sleep the first time after endless crying and throwing up included. And my baby was up again in just an hour crying and then the cycle was repeated all over again.

Whenever your baby cries in the middle of the night, try to shush the baby by patting on the belly or with a soothing sound. Do not offer your breasts or bottle to feed. This way you will be weaning the baby off middle-of-the-night feedings. Your baby might go overboard crying, or throw up, or practically beg you in baby language to not sleep train but don’t give up. Follow your baby’s cues and your instinct when sleep training.

 

Sleep training essentials

Sleep training whether co- or independent can become very stressful for babies.

  • To keep your baby from getting overstimulated because of crying when sleep training, you can feed your baby once or twice during the night when it becomes utterly necessary.
  • You don’t have to follow everything black and white. Do what you think will be best for your baby at that moment. We all know that a mom knows her baby best.
  • The first few nights will be a nightmare but be patient. Later on, the baby will start to learn through repetition and will settle down.
  • It is going to be an extra mile for moms who share their beds with babies. The lack of complete disconnection physical can be challenging for both baby and mama.
  • Co-Sleep training might take much longer than normal sleep training with an independent baby would take.
  • Weaning the baby off of night feeds might speed up the sleeping process. Delay your response time when your baby wakes up for feedings during the night to wean the baby.

 

When to Call a Doctor

Never hesitate to consult your doctor, if you have any concerns about the baby. Usually, it takes up to 2 weeks for most babies to pick up the beat. If your baby doesn’t respond well to the training then you can ask your pediatrician what you can do.

Throwing up while crying is generally not a health concern. But if your baby throws up multiple times a night or 3-4 nights continuously, it’s advisable to seek help from a pediatrician.