Sleep Training Prep:
5 Smart Steps Before You Start
Many expectant parents prepare themselves for those initial sleepless nights when taking care of a newborn. At a certain point, however, it’s not unusual to start questioning whether your little one is just acting their age or if they need professional baby sleep help.
Disclosure: We were compensated for this post.
That’s when most moms and dads start to think about preparing for sleep training.
Before you jump into any type of sleep training sessions online or in-person, it’s crucial to ensure you’ve laid the groundwork for a successful sleep training experience.
From creating a cozy sleep environment for babies to planning a sleep schedule, there are five trusted tips you need to consider when you’re doing sleep training prep.
1. Is it Time to Start Sleep Training?
“What age is best to start sleep training?”
This is a common question that parents worldwide ask themselves when they’re hoping to create better sleep habits for their babies.
While Dr. Noah Schwartz, a pediatrician with the Cleveland Clinic, believes parents should wait to try any sleep training methods until their baby is at least four months old, this isn’t an exact science.
As a part of your sleep training prep, it’s always a good idea to speak with your baby’s doctor first. This way, they can examine your child for any health issues causing disruptions to their baby sleep patterns. If no such problems exist, your pediatrician can give you the all-clear to start the sleep training process.
2. Decide On One of the Proven Sleep Training Methods
Whether you’re searching for non-CIO sleep training methods or you’re interested in teaching your baby to self-soothe, there are plenty of different sleep training methods you can try.
It’s essential to consider what type of baby sleep help you’re looking to provide your baby. No matter what kind of approach you’re looking for, there’s sure to be an option that appeals to your family, such as:
Extinction Sleep Training, a.k.a. The Cry It Out Method
After parents put their little one to bed, the baby is left to cry in their crib until falling asleep. Many parents tout this method as an ideal option for teaching your baby to self-soothe.
Similar to extinction sleep training, parents leave their babies to fall asleep in a crib with minimal intervention. Compared to the cry it out method, however, you can re-enter your baby’s room to gently let them know they’re okay (without picking them up.) You’ll gradually increase the amount of time you wait to go back to their room.
Parents will go back into their baby’s room and quickly pick them and comfort them before putting them back in their crib. They’ll repeat this process until they fall to sleep. This is a popular non-CIO sleep training method.
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3. Sleep Training Prep 101: Create a Relaxing Sleep Environment
While cutesy mobiles and nursery decor are popular options on any baby shower registry, they aren’t always conducive to figuring out how to put a baby to sleep.
Did you know that studies have shown having the right temperature, sounds, and lights has been proven to influence a person’s ability to fall asleep positively? Sleeping for babies is no different.
If you want to create the right sleep environment for your little one, consider what types of things might make them more relaxed and comfortable? For example, blackout curtains are an optimal solution in any nursery.
White noise machines are another good option. Studies have shown that 80% of babies who listen to white noise at bedtime fall asleep in less than five minutes.
4. Nail Down Your Infant Sleep Routines
When it comes to becoming a successful infant sleep trainer, consistency is key. Not just with how you put your baby to bed, however, but also with everything you do leading up to that moment.
For this reason, when you’re preparing for sleep training, developing a good bedtime routine goes hand in hand with building quality sleep habits.
By starting this process weeks to months before you begin the sleep training process, you can ensure your baby is already used to how their nighttime routine will go. Choose steps that work for your family and stick to them.
Some good additions to anytime bedtime routine include:
- Giving your baby a bath
- Putting on pajamas
- Reading a book
- Telling stories
- Nursing or drinking a bottle
- Singing a song
- Saying prayers
- Listen to lullabies
- Swaddle your baby
- Put on lotion
5. Have a Certified Sleep Consultant on Speed Dial
As you’re trying to figure out how to put baby to sleep, you’re bound to come up with a long list of different questions.
- Is there a bad time to start sleep training?
- How do I get my baby to self-soothe?
- Can I sleep train at 3 months?
- How long should you let a baby cry themselves to sleep?
- How do I deal with separation anxiety and sleep training?
The list goes on and on.
While you’re sure to find some answers online and from friends, it never hurts to have a sleep expert on your side. For that reason, it’s always a great idea to hire a respected sleep consultant, such as the team at MamaNatal, to help you with your sleep training prep.
While providing quality infant care and teaching your little one to form good sleep habits can feel like an overwhelming experience, it’s not one you have to struggle with on your own.
Take the necessary steps to begin preparing for sleep training before the moment actually arrives and find a trusted sleep expert who can guarantee a smooth transition into the quiet, sleepy nights you’ve been dreaming of.