This post is part of an editorial series, “Sweet Sleep,” brought to you by the Fort Worth Moms Blog. We hope these pieces provide you with helpful information, encouragement, and insight as your navigate your family’s sleep journey.
I’ll start by saying, that I am no sleep training expert. I’m just a mom who has done a crazy amount of research and reading on sleep training babies and who now, after implementing sleep training methods, has two kids who sleep very well. My three and a half year old still takes a two or three hour nap everyday and sleeps 12 hours almost every night. My eight week old, who just a week after sleep training at three weeks old, sleeps six to eight hours straight a night and takes three two-hour naps everyday. I know there are a lot of factors at play here, but I truly believe that finding a sleep training method that works for both you AND your baby, creating and implementing a nap and bedtime routine, and sticking to the training method you choose can make all the difference in your baby’s sleeping success. I’m excited to share some of these sleep training tips, favorite baby and toddler sleep training books, newborn must-have sleep training items, and the secret sauce for successful sleep training with you!
Tips & Tidbits for Sleep Training Babies
- Find a sleep training method. There are SO MANY sleep training methods out there. It’s important that you find what works for your personality. Personally, I’m an E.A.S.Y. gal. I like to have structure and a schedule, but I like to keep it loose and well, easy. If you’re interested in learning more about the E.A.S.Y. sleep training method, check out the baby whisperer book listed below!
- It’s OKAY to wake a sleeping baby. Yes, I wake my sleeping baby. Now, pick your jaw up off the floor and hear me out. For those babies that will sleep . . . and sleep . . . and sleep during the day, they can easily get their days and nights confused by sleeping the day away. So, it’s okay to set a nap time limit and actually WAKE UP your baby to help create good day sleeping habits . . . which trickles into good night sleeping habits.
- Create a nap and bed time routine to signify that it’s time to sleep. The routines don’t have to be extravagant. Do what works for you. The nap time routine can be short and sweet . . . think something like change baby’s diaper, hold them close while rubbing their head, putting them in a swaddle . . . lay them down to sleep. While the bed time routine is a little longer with maybe a bath and/or lotion and/or essential oils and massage . . . followed by new diaper, pj’s, bedtime feed, swaddle, and laying them down to sleep. Again, whatever works for you . . . just get that routine set.
- Set a bed time. Choose a time that works for your baby and family . . . and then STICK TO IT as best you can. Bedtime is 7:30 p.m. in these parts. That doesn’t mean starting bedtime routine at 7:30 p.m. No, that means the kids’ heads are on their pillows ready to doze off to sleep at 7:30 p.m.
- BONUS TIP :: For babies going through a sleep regression . . . try putting baby down 45 minutes early. I found this piece of advice somewhere on the world wide web during a late night breakdown from lack of sleep thanks to the four-month sleep regression phase. I was desperate . . . and skeptical of an earlier bedtime since baby was fighting sleep so hard . . . but again, desperate . . . so the next night I laid baby down 45 minutes before our set bedtime. He went down without a fuss and slept most of the night! It was a miracle! I did it again the next few nights and then slowly transitioned back to our regular bedtime routine. Whenever another sleep regression hit, I’d do the same thing and it worked each time.
Favorite Sleep Training Books
- The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems by Tracy Hogg
- The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep by Dr. Harvey Karp
Must-Have Sleep Items for Babies
- A good sound machine.
- A sturdy swaddle.
- Paci (optional) – Read Dr. Harvey Karp’s book above if you’re wondering why the paci is on this must-haves list.
- Baby Shusher :: Tired parents rejoice! The Baby Shusher literally does just that . . . shhhh’s . . . for you! When my baby starts fussing at night, I just pop the shusher on. Eight times out of 10, he quickly just falls right back asleep. It’s AWESOME!
- Lavender essential oil spray :: We spray a lavender essential oil linen spray on our kiddos’ pillows at night just to help signify that it’s time to relax . . . it’s bedtime. My three year old sprays it himself on his pillow now as part of our bedtime routine. The smell of the lavender every night at bedtime helps train the brain that it’s time to sleep.
The Secret Sauce
Ah, the moment I’m sure you’ve been waiting for. Are you ready? The secret sauce for successful sleep training is: CONSISTENCY. Yes, that pesky “c” word will make or break your sleep training. I’ll leave you with this last nugget of advice: Don’t create bad habits when the sleep training gets hard — and it will, at some point or another, be hard. Whenever you think of breaking the sleep training pattern that you’ve been working so tirelessly at (even if it’s “just this once “), think, “Is this something I want to be doing every night a week from now? A month from now? Six months from now?” Stay strong. Think of the future. Think of the bigger sleep picture. BE CONSISTENT.
Comment below with your must-know sleep training tips!
Great advice! I didn’t know shushers were a thing, and it would have been soooo helpful for my youngest who sometimes needed just that.