What Age Should I Start Sleep Training?

Newborn babies do not sleep through the night.  They have legitimate and essential night time needs that need to be catered for.  If they cry out in the night, you should always go and check on them.

However, after your baby reaches a certain age, you should begin to think about reducing the amount of night-time demands that you instantly rush to satisfy.

 

After reaching the four month mark, most babies are physically prepared to sleep through the entire night. They don’t really need middle of the night feeding anymore and most have acquired the ability to comfort themselves back to sleep if they do wake up. Therefore, if baby is still waking up frequently throughout the night it’s probably because you are still jumping out of bed at her first cry, to give her a feed and a cuddle. She’s learned that every time she cries, her favourite person and her favourite meal are by her side in seconds. Many babies are obviously not going to give this arrangement up too easily!

 

At this stage, you have a decision to make which will be based on your situation, your lifestyle, work schedule and sanity. Either option is perfectly fine but it’s essential that you stick to your decision. Otherwise you may confuse baby and lead her to test you frequently to try and figure out what game you’re playing. To help you decide, here are the pros and cons of each:

 

 

Options

Pros

Cons

1.  You can keep getting up with every call for a few more weeks or months

 

You can’t spoil your baby or set irreversible patterns at this stage. 

Your baby may possibly start sleeping through the night of her own accord.

Continued tiredness for you which can increase your stress-levels and lower your general well-being.  Happy babies need happy parents.

2.  You can start to use the technique I will discuss next which will gradually but firmly ease baby into an all-night sleeping pattern.

Works for nearly all babies over 4 months.

More sleep for you and your baby.

Less traumatic than suddenly ceasing to respond to her cries all together.

Can still be uncomfortable for parents used to immediately running to the rescue after every cry.

 

 

If you decide you are eager to end the sleepless nights you can begin to safely employ the techniques I will now discuss.

 

 

Be warned however, babies who were born early, are ill or are only able to eat a small amount at a single feeding, may still have legitimate night-time feeding needs. In these cases you may want to leave an extra few weeks or months before trying the following technique. If you are in any doubt, first check with your health care professional.

Leave a Reply