My name is Mica. I am a certified sleep consultant and founder of Rested Mama, Happy Baby. I help families on their journey to establish healthy sleep habits and get the whole family sleeping again! If you’re reading this, you’re likely trying to figure out what options you have to get better nights. Maybe you’re doing research because you just don’t know yet what you feel is right for your child. The fog of sleep deprivation can really take a toll on families and our mental capacity, but I hope this blog gives you the guidance you need to make the right choice for your family.
When you are trying to decide whether your child is ready to sleep train, let’s define what sleep training is. Sleep training is the act of working with your child to help them independently fall asleep without the assistance of sleep props they cannot control. When you look at it from that perspective, as long as you have approval from your pediatrician to drop feedings naturally, this can honestly apply to any age. Yes, contrary to what you read online, you CAN sleep train your newborn, but not in the same way that you sleep train an infant or a toddler. So when you read the many articles about sleep training, you’re going to see that sleep training is really most appropriate for infants (past the newborn stage), but they are referring to ‘formal sleep training’ which is a method where you start removing the sleep prop you may have in place over a course of 2-3 weeks.
When you work with a newborn, it’s about starting with healthy habits upfront, utilizing no-cry, gentle solutions that help lay the foundation for good sleep. This is not the industry “sleep training” that most people identify with, and it’s good to know the difference.
4 Signs Your Child is Ready to Sleep Train
Okay, so the first sign is AGE. When a child is developmentally aligned to around 3-4 months of age, and of healthy weight gain, they are able to be sleep trained in the ‘formal sense of sleep training.’ Children over this age can thrive in a boot camp of 10 days, versus a newborn who will take a few weeks of practice and encouragement.
2. Longer Stretches Between Feedings:
Second, once your child has the ability to have longer times between feeds, they have the capacity for sleep training. This is because, usually sleep training allows for a child to connect and consolidate sleep, meaning they sleep more, and will need the time between feedings to enjoy their sleep!
3. A Sleep Problem:
The third sign is that you feel like there is a sleep problem you want to fix. Sometimes the overwhelming amount of information out there makes it feel like we HAVE to sleep train. At the end of the day, you must have a problem to fix. Yes, I am a pediatric sleep coach who says not all babies need to be sleep trained. If you didn’t lay any sleep associations during their newborn years, or your child is really unphased by sleep association, or you are managing just fine, then there is no need to change anything. Sleep training has to be right for you, and your baby!
4. You are Ready:
The last indicator is you are ready to make the commitment, time, and plan to see it through. Sleep training is not a one-night shot where you try various methods. Trying to sleep train in this way is a recipe for failure. Making sure you are able to commit the time and effort is also an indicator that your child and YOU are ready to sleep train.
Rested Mama, Happy Baby Founder
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