With the right sleep training method in play, you can easily train your baby just in a few days. It may involve some tears, but you can achieve it faster than most parents think.

Sleep Training Methods That Actually Work!

The essence of sleep training methods is to train or teach your baby to learn how to fall and stay asleep through the night.

With the right sleep training method in play, you can easily train your baby just in a few days. It may involve some tears, but you can achieve it faster than most parents think. A question parents ask often is when is the right time to start the training and exactly how are they supposed to do it??? Here’s what you need to do.


sleep training
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

The answer to this question lies in the fact that babies go through several mental growth spurts. At 4 to 6 months your baby might be ready to be sleep trained. As at this age babies are biologically able to sleep through the night without the need to feed.

Many sleep coaches also believe that 9 months is a sweet spot for sleep training as the babies can go through the night without feed and are at a good understanding regarding the routines.

But you need to keep in mind that sleep training and night weaning are two different things. Your baby might get sleep trained but still wakes up at night for a bottle or breast or even a little cuddle.


Definition of Sleep Training

By definition, sleep training is about teaching your baby to fall asleep without any help from you. To accomplish that, you have to put your baby in the crib awake. The baby has to fall asleep on its own without being cuddled, nursed, rocked, swayed, or shushed. Your baby should be able to fall back to sleep when she wakes up overnight.

These methods will train your baby to sleep independently in their cribs or beds and will require lots of patience and consistency. If you wish to seek methods to sleep train your baby while co-sleeping please read Sleep Training – Top Co-Sleep Training Methods


1. Ferber Method is also known as Cry It out with Gradual Extinction Method

The Cry It Out sleep training method was originally conceived in Dr.Emmett Holt’s 1895 book The Care and the Feeding of Children. Later, Dr. Richard Ferber developed a form of the Cry It Out method, now known as Cry It Out with the Gradual Extinction Method or Ferber Method.

The original Cry It Out method is indeed a controversial one. Most new-age experts don’t agree on the full extinction method. Ferber method focuses on the Cry It Out method with gradual extinction to leave the baby for a small period of time before picking up the baby to provide comfort.

This method is much harder on the parent than on the baby. The key to success with the Ferber method is to be consistent. You will have to follow these steps to put the Ferber method training in action:

1 Step: Put the baby to bed when the baby is awake but slightly sleepy

2 Step: Give a good night kiss and leave the room

3 Step: Wait for at least 5-6 minutes before entering the room when your baby cries

4 Step: Don’t pick up the baby rather try to comfort the baby with pats or soothing sounds like a lullaby

5 Step: leave the room again even if the baby starts to cry again

6 Step: Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 by increasing the intervals slightly.

sleep training ferber

Things to keep in mind:

Know that the first few nights will be difficult. As you might have to check on the baby multiple times through the night. The only thing which will get you through is consistency. Yes, the baby will cry, but preventing the baby from crying will hinder the sleep training. Some amount of crying is inevitable if you are 100% about training your baby to sleep on its own.

Usually, it takes a week for the baby to adapt to the training routine. If you notice that your baby is not getting settled even after a week, then you should postpone the training for a couple of weeks and then try again or try another method.


2. Cry It Out with full Extinction:

This infamous and most controversial sleep training method requires you to put the baby to bed until morning. This method is for babies older than 6 months as they don’t need to have night-time feeds biologically.

Although the method is rigorous in its ways, you don’t have to follow everything in black and white. Your mother instinct will tell you what to do. If you feel that you can follow this method by tweaking it here and there, I say, you can clearly do it.

If you feel like you would like to keep up with the night-time feeds and console the baby when the crying goes overboard, you can do it as per your own instinct.

Things to keep in mind:

You will experience a lot of crying, especially the first couple of nights but then the crying will decrease with every additional passing night. You should be able to see some improvements by the thirds or fourth night. If the baby is still struggling by the fourth night, it’s time to postpone or change the method as the baby is not emotionally ready for it.


3. Pick up, Put down Method:

This method works best for babies who are younger than 7 months. This technique would require you to stay in the room after you put the baby to bed awake but drowsy. As the baby cries, you should pick the baby up to comfort her and then put the baby back in the bed when the baby is calm.

You may use techniques like patting on the tummy, singing a lullaby, shushing the baby to calm them down.

Things to keep in mind:

This method emphasizes calming the baby and lets the baby fall asleep as you put them to bed. This method may work magic with babies younger than 7 months but it requires a lot of patience on your end as it may take a while to fully sleep train the baby.


4. Chair Method:

The chair method requires a lot of patience and discipline from the parents’ end. This sleep training method is a lot similar to the other methods. You have to put your baby in bed and then sit in a chair right next to the crib rather than leaving the room.

You may leave the room as the baby falls asleep. But you will have to come back and sit in the chair again every time the baby wakes up.

Things to keep in mind:

The key to this method is that you have to gradually move your chair away from the crib until you’re out of the room.

Be ready to witness some major crying. As the baby might get overstimulated by your presence in the room and gets confused as to why you are not comforting her. This overstimulation may also lead to the point when the baby can’t calm themselves down hence causing more stress.

This method can be frustrating and hard to be consistent with. So, be ready mentally and physically before you opt for this method.


5. Bed-time Fading Method:

This sleep training method focuses on revising the circadian rhythm of your baby to make her body ready for sleep at your desired time. Some sleep experts believe that moving the bedtime has to be followed with strict commitment and consistency.

It is very easy to get inconsistent with this method which results in a messier and late bedtime. If you can take the promise to not cheat with this technique, here’s how you may achieve it:

1 Step: Notice your baby’s sleep cues.

2 Step: When your baby seems drowsy, put her to bed

3 Step: If your baby doesn’t fall asleep once in bed and cries. Then pick her up and try again in 15 minutes and continue till the baby falls asleep

4 Step: After your baby adapts to sleep when put in bed, it’s time to move the bedtime 10 mins earlier. Repeat till you reach your desired bed-time.

Things to keep in mind:

A notebook might come in handy for you to keep a track of the time you have moved. Plus, this technique would work better if you decrease your presence gradually from the room as you put your baby to bed.


Sleep training tips

Some parents take sleep training as a “one and done” business. Please be sure that it doesn’t work that way. Treat sleep training like a lifestyle change and live up to that change. The following tips will help you adapt to the transition more smoothly with the method you choose:

  1. Bed-time Routine: It is a must to set a routine just before putting the baby to bed. It may be reading a book, a bath, nursing (breast or bottle), or even a combination of everything.
  2. Pay attention to sleeping cues: The baby will show you signs when they are tired like yawning, fussiness, turning away from light, etc)
  3. Always put the baby to bed awake: The very core of the sleep training techniques is to let the baby sleep on their own.
  4. Trust your instincts: As a parent, you will know the perfect time to start sleep training. Trust your instinct and roll with it.
  5. Manage the response time: Yes it will be difficult to listen to your baby cry! But you don’t have to rush to pick your baby up as soon as you hear the baby make a fussy sound. Delaying your response time will teach your baby to self soothe.

When to Call a Doctor

Parenting is not an easy job to excel. Therefore you should never hesitate in asking for guidance from a medical professional.

Ask your doctor for advice if your baby doesn’t respond positively to any sleep training method after you have strictly followed it for at least 2 weeks.

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

Best of Luck!

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