Sleep deprivation is one of the most frequent things parents complain about ーand we are sure that at least 99% of all parents may be sleep deprived to some degree. That’s why we have found the most common sleep training methods used that will help your little one sleep through the night, so you will get some much-deserved rest too!

Recommended hour of sleep per age

First of all, you should know that babies have different hours of sleep depending on their age.

Newborns up to three months sleep approximately 18 hours a day. This means that this will be the time where you sleep less ーand not because you are staying out late! The good news is that between four and six months of age, most babies are capable of sleeping “through the night”, which generally means up to 8 to 12 full hours. That’s when you will be able to sleep more and feel well-rested in the morning.

Pediatricians recommend that parents begin implementing sleeping habits for their babies at around four months, giving them a chance to develop a more regular sleeping pattern. Keep in mind that every baby has their unique developmental timetable. The best way to know if your baby is ready to form sleeping habits is to observe how they react to the sleep training. If they don’t seem ready, slow down and try again in a few weeks.

Sleep training methods

Here are some methods you may want to try out. We have enlisted some pros and cons. Remember that no single approach works with all babies all the time (or even all the time with the same baby!). If one “sleep training method” isn’t working for your family, just drop it and take time to find and foster a method that works for you!

Scheduled awakenings

This technique is based on altering your baby’s sleep habits by waking them at specific times. Here’s how it works:

  1. For one week, keep track of the times your baby wakes up each night. Then, try to beat them to the punch. If they wake at 12 and 4 AM, go in and wake them at 11:45 and 3:45 AM and continue doing what you normally do.
  2. Day by day, extend the waking times in 15-minute increments—back to 12 and 4 AM, then to 12:15 and 4:15 AM, and so on. Your baby should stop waking on their own and instead wait for you since you’ve become their new alarm clock.
  3. Eventually, phase out the waking altogether and your baby will be sleeping through the night!

PROS:

  • This method is great for babies that tend to have predictable waking times during the night. 
  • As parents, you will feel more in control, since you are in charge of when your baby wakes up.

CONS:

  • You may have a hard time bringing yourself to wake your baby (especially when they look so cute sleeping!).
  • The method can take a while 一up to three or four weeks.
  • Some experts argue that a baby’s waking schedule is too varied for this method to be effective.

The Sleep Lady Method

The Sleep Lady Method was created by Kim West, a licensed clinical social worker with more than 21 years of experience in child and family therapy. Since babies are not born with the knowledge of how to put themselves to sleep, parents have the responsibility to teach them. This sleep training coaches the baby about good sleeping habits and provides verbal and physical encouragement along the way. This method allows babies to learn how to soothe themselves in a safe environment with the knowledge that mom and dad are right there if they need them.

This method starts with creating a routine to show the baby that it’s time to sleep. After doing this routine, put your little one in their crib while they’re still awake, to teach them to fall asleep alone. Then, you must place a chair next to the crib and, at an interval that you will determine, you’ll move the chair away from the crib, until you exit the room. If your baby cries, you should not pick them up but calm them while they remain in the crib. On the other hand, you shouldn’t move the chair away just yet.

PROS:

  • It is a flexible method that allows babies to feel your support since you stay with them if they need you.

CONS:

  • It can take longer than other techniques, because of its gentle nature.
  • If you are busy and can’t stay a lot of time with your little one, maybe you can try another method. 

The most important thing is to discover a sleep training method that works for your family. Once you find it, it’s essential to stick with it! At the same time, be prepared to change your approach as your little one grows. The key is to always be open to new options and to follow your intuition; you will eventually find a method that will work for you and your baby!

Continue learning about this topic in How to get your baby to sleep through the night Part II.