The idea of sleep training your little one can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. When given the correct tools, along with exercising consistency, sleep training can a breeze to get through. Does this mean there will not be any tears? No. As a matter of fact, both you and your little one may shed some tears. In fact, I don’t believe there is any sleep training out there that has a “no tears” method and am always skeptical of sleep consultants who promote them.
In the past two-plus years of Moore Sleep, I have received thousands of questions about sleep training from tired parents just like you!
Following is a compilation of the ones that are most commonly asked:
Q: Is there one method that works better than another?
A: Any method works as long as there is consistency behind the method. You may have Family A who picks a direct method and Family B selects a gentle method. If Family B is more consistent with their gentle method, they will see greater results than Family A. I always advise parents to pick a method they feel they can be the MOST consistent with when 3:00 am rolls around and their little one is awake.
Q: Is Cry It Out the only method?
A: No! There are four methods I recommend for sleep training, ranging from gentle to direct. While they vary in the length of time it takes to implement them, they all work if consistency is maintained.
Q: Should I start sleep training at naptime? At nighttime? Or both at the same time?
A: I recommend starting at night when the drive to sleep is much higher, then transitioning into naps the next day. For consistency, I recommend sleep training for both night and naps at the same time. Additionally, you will want to use the same method for both naps and night sleep. So that work and childcare do not get in the way, parents often choose to start on a Friday night and carry on into the weekend.
Q: What is the best age to start sleep training and why?
A: 16-weeks adjusted age*. We want to start training once circadian rhythms (the internal clock inside of us that help our body know when we should be alert and when we should be sleepy) come in to play. Circadian rhythms do not fully develop until 4-months of age. These rhythms create sleep waves that cause melatonin to increase and our body temperature to decrease, signaling our body that sleepy time is coming. Since circadian rhythms are not in place for newborns (4-months and younger) it is hard for them to have organized sleep. Waiting until these rhythms are more developed makes it easier to help baby ride the sleep wave.
You can start to establish a healthy sleep foundation for your newborn before 16-weeks. I recommend my newborn course or guide to help with this. (LINK THOSE HERE)
*Adjusted age = your baby's actual age in weeks since the date of birth subtracted by the number of weeks your baby was preterm. Example - If baby was born at 37 weeks (3 weeks early), they are 16-weeks adjusted age once they reach 19 weeks from their actual DOB.
Q: Where should my baby be sleeping when we sleep train?
A: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room-sharing for the first six months of life, ideally the first year. We want baby to be a in a dark room with white noise. They should be placed alone, on their backs in their crib or bassinet.
Q: Does sleep training mean sleeping through the night?
A: It depends on the age! Some babies do continue to wake for feedings through the age of 10-months, and that is OK! It’s not until they reach this age that is realistic to think your little one should be able to sleep through the night – meaning they are clocking 11 - 12 hours of sleep at a time.
Q: How long does it take for sleep training to come together?
A: Depending on the method your family picks, expect to work hard for one to two weeks. And know that nights come together much quicker than naps. Naps can take up to three weeks to establish because the drive to sleep is not as high during the daytime.
Consistency and the correct schedule are key to making it all come together quickly.