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Q&A: How to sleep train?

I want to try sleep training with my baby. How exactly should I go about it?

Re: I want to try sleep training with my baby. How exactly should I go about it?

The Bump Expert

The goal is to have your child fall asleep independently in his or her crib, but how you get to that point is up to you.

You can practice the tougher way, putting your child to bed and checking on them periodically. Check as frequently as you wish -- there's no magic number of how long to wait. Within three to five nights, you're bound to see a dramatic improvement in the bedtime routine.

That's the quick and dirty approach, but some parents can't tolerate it and take a slower approach. For three nights, you can sit next to the crib until your baby falls asleep, then three nights across the room, then in the doorway, and then in the hallway. Both methods bring you to the same place; it's just about how quickly you want to do it.

When you check on your baby, it's better do it consistently, rather than waiting until they really crank up the tears. If you wait until then, you're reinforcing and showing them that if they scream really loud, you'll come. When you check in, just reassure them quietly and then leave -- "It's night night time, I love you, see you in the morning." You don't have to leave them alone forever -- it's too painful for everyone, and I'd worry about the baby too much. You don't need to worry about sleep training in the middle of the night -- you can always respond when they cry in the night. The majority of babies will naturally start sleeping through the night within two to three weeks of starting sleep training.

Dr. Jodi Mindell, PhD, is the author of Sleeping Through The Night: How Infants, Toddlers and Their Parents Can Get a Good Night's Sleep, and the Associate Director of the Sleep Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Paula Kashtan


My 10 week old (almost 11 weeks) stopped napping altogether!!!! I tried every sleep crutch such as the swing, pacifier, wearing him, etc. everything worked for a few days, but only ever gave him a. 30 min nap. Then they stopped working altogether as he became more and more exhausted each day with the short naps. Finally none of them worked to even get him to fall asleep. I started sleep training by putting him down drowsy and staying close to his bed and telling him "sleepy, sleep" and shushing him. It works well for the morning naps, but by afternoon he's more tired and he does end up crying sometimes. Ten I pick him up and put him down when he's calm. Even my backup solution of taking him for a ride in the car doesn't work anymore. He only falls asleep for 30 mins and wakes up grumpy. Am I doing the right thing, even if he does cry a little? I'm out of options. He would be awake all the time if I didn't.

HBmom7 |


My child is 7 weeks is that too early to sleep train

alainasmommy12 |