Arriving at the sleep training stage with your baby or toddler can be a tough transition, but the end result is sure to be well worth it. Here are five tips for starting sleep training in order to make the process as smooth and successful as possible:
1. Start Early
If your baby is about 4-6 months old, this may be the ideal time to start sleep training. At this age babies usually have established a healthy sleeping schedule and are more capable of longer stretches of sleep. There are, however, benefits to starting even earlier. Introducing gentle sleep methods as early as possible can help your baby learn healthy sleeping habits from the very beginning.
2. Create Consistent Routines
Before bedtime create a consistent routine that will help your baby relax and prepare for sleep. This may include a bath, some calming music, or a massage. Doing the same activities each night will help signal to your baby that it’s time for sleep. The more consistent the routine, the easier it will be for your baby to learn the sleep training process.
3. Give Plenty of Cuddles
Though you are trying to teach your baby to sleep on their own, it is still important to give them plenty of cuddles during the day. When you pick up your baby at night, be sure to give them lots of loving and reassurance that they are safe and secure. When you make this connection during the day, it will be easier for your baby to settle in for sleep at night.
4. Establish a Bedtime Routine
Create a routine that your baby follows each night before bed. This will help create a sense of calm and will help your baby understand that it is time for bed. Things to include in the routine could be reading a book, singing a lullaby, or having some quiet playtime before lights out. For older toddlers, a bedtime routine could help provide structure and stability in their lives.
5. Be Patient
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and very few babies master sleep training after just one night. Be patient and consistent, and if you find that your baby is not responding to the sleep training methods you are implementing then it may be best to consult with a professional for further advice. It may take some trial and error, but eventually you will find what works for both you and your little one.