When is the best time to sleep train?
As with many big decisions in life, there are times that are ideal and times that are less so.
So today, I’d like to offer some tips to answer the question, “when is the best time to sleep train my baby”?
This is based on baby being medically well and at least 6 months old.
Are you going to be around?
Firstly, while it can be a bit boring, it’s really helpful, and much less stressful, if you can spend more time at home while you show your little one how to sleep independently. Because it’s easier all round! I usually recommend that at least one parent is home for two weeks while you sleep train. Undoubtedly, life is busy, however carving out some time can make all the difference.
I don’t advise parents to start sleep training within two to three weeks of travelling, as this can be disruptive to any progress. And that includes nights or weekends away.
When is the best time to sleep train my baby?
The best chance for a quick and effective solution to your baby’s sleep issues is to implement the changes when they’re healthy and thriving. So if baby’s dealing with reflux or colic, you’ll want to get that remedied before you start sleep training.
There’s going to be some fussing and protest in the first few nights. And we want to make sure it’s only due to the change in their routine, not because of actual discomfort. So if they’re healthy, it’s much easier to pinpoint the reasons for their fussing.
Is your partner on board to sleep train?
If you’re raising your baby with a partner, then it’s important that both of you are committed to the process.
Because this can be a challenging process for the first couple of nights. And if your partner doesn’t think it’s a good idea, there’s going to be a point where they persuade you to use whatever “sleep prop” you usually use to get your baby to sleep.
So before you get started, make sure you and your partner have both signed on and can rely on one another for support.
Can you stand a couple of nights without a lot of sleep?
Changing sleep habits for our little ones isn’t generally met with a lot of enthusiasm for the first night or two. So nobody’s likely to get a lot of rest for the first 48 hours.
So if you have an important meeting or a major event coming up in the next few days and you need to be in peak condition, you might want to wait until next weekend to get things underway.
Are the symptoms of sleep deprivation starting to show?
Are you starting to feel depressed, moody, forgetful, unmotivated, clumsy, or unfocused? Is your sex drive starting to wane? And have you noticed an increased appetite and carbohydrate cravings?
These are all symptoms of sleep deprivation and they’re no laughing matter. Society tends to make light of the whole, “exhausted new parent” persona.
But the more we learn about the health effects of sleep deprivation, the less of a joke it becomes. So if you’re sleep-deprived or feel like you’re on the verge, now’s the time to take some action.
Is their nursery ready?
Exceptions can be made in certain situations, but I really do find that putting baby into their own room is the best way to help them learn to sleep independently. But remember this should only happen from 6 months old, as per safe sleep guidelines. There are a few decorating guidelines to help baby get the hang of this thing as quickly as possible.
Their room should be as dark as you can possibly get it. So put up some blackout blinds, or tape up some bin bags over the windows. It’s not pretty but 100% darkness will really help with daytime naps.
Get rid of any mobiles, crib aquariums, or light-emitting devices that claim to help baby sleep because I can assure you, they don’t!
An ideal nursery is boring! And baby should recognise it as a place to do nothing but sleep. So try to keep their toys and teddies in another room.
Don’t wait for the “perfect” moment to sleep train
Finally, now might not be the ideal time to take the initiative to help your baby sleep through the night. Getting started and having to stop because of some bad planning is likely going to cause some confusion and minimise your success.
But remember, there’s always going to be something that isn’t exactly ideal. Teething, crawling, rolling over, and other developmental milestones, shouldn’t impede baby’s ability to sleep through the night. And they’re not going to stop popping up until your little one’s about ready to leave school!
So now that you know all that, if you feel like the time is right and you’re ready to get started, then let’s get going!
So if you’re ready to get started, Slumber School has everything you need to get started, from preparations to step by step instructions, as well as weekly Q&As on Instagram! Or you can find out more about working with me 1-1.
I know it’s a big decision, (It certainly was for me when I first made it with my son). But, on the up side, the outcome is almost indescribably wonderful for the whole family. And I’m ready when you are.