Sleep Training

Written by Christa Gatewood
Bookmark and Share

Teaching a baby to sleep through the night is known as sleep training. This can be a challenging process especially for new parents. Newborn babies up to two or three months old cannot be taught to sleep through the night because they are not mature enough. At around three months old, however, sleep training can begin.

Methods of Sleep Training

Different experts champion different methods of sleep training. Most, however, agree that it is best to put a child into the crib while awake yet drowsy. This helps a baby learn to fall asleep alone. Parents should try to calm fussy babies first with a soft vocal reassurance. If crying persists, they should try a pat on the back. If that is still no good, parents may hold and rock the child, but they should always put the baby back in the crib awake. This may be a long process on the first night, but it should improve over time.

When a baby wakes up in the middle of the night, it is usually for a feeding. One way to help a baby sleep through the night is to eliminate the nighttime feeding. This can be done by comforting instead of feeding the baby upon waking in the middle of the night. If the baby is nursing, having the non-nursing parent comfort the child may help as the baby will not expect to nurse. The parent can sleep in the baby's room for a few nights and soothe the child with a soft voice or gentle pat. Not giving the baby a bottle will teach him/her not to expect it.

Although babies may learn to sleep through the night initially, sleep training does not always stick. Most infants will regress once in a while and begin waking in the night once more. When this happens, sleep training can begin again. This can be trying for parents and may lead to adult sleeplessness. Employing the use of a sleep machine for the parents is a good idea to get the most out of the pockets of time available for sleep.


Bookmark and Share