As a dedicated baby sleep consultant, I’m passionate about routine being the cornerstone for developing long lasting sleep habits and associations. With over two decades of experience, I’ve assisted thousands of newborns, babies, toddlers, and their parents in achieving a full night sleep.
As your baby transitions from newborn to the baby stage, from month 4, traditional sleep training techniques become more applicable. However, the Sleeping Baby Routine method remains holistic, addressing every aspect of your baby’s daily routine to support an effective sleep training plan. Without proper attention to calorie intake, sleep/naps structure, and settling associations, the effectiveness of sleep training is unlikely and certainly not long term. Restructuring your baby’s routine might even eliminate the need for traditional settling and sleep training methods.
How to start your sleep training plan? Let’s set the scene….
1. Evaluate Your Baby’s Routine:
Ensure the routine aligns with your baby’s age and developmental stage. Many babies linger in a newborn routine, impacting wake windows and naps. Recognising the shift in nap patterns from month 5 is crucial for providing the right amount and duration of sleep.
2. Assess Milk or Food Intake:
A successful settling and sleep plan hinges on addressing hunger. Contrary to popular belief, food and hunger directly impact sleep. A common issue here is delayed weaning having a huge impact on a baby’s ability to sleep.
Did you know.. babies are ready to wean between the age of 4-6 months and not as commonly advised to wait until 6 months to start a weaning plan.
3. Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Routine:
Create a relaxing environment with lavender-infused baths, dimmed lights, and calming massages. Allowing time for your baby to wind down before sleep is crucial. Introducing a comforter, like a soft blanket or toy, helps associate bedtime with comfort. Once attached to the comforter, it becomes a consistent sleep companion, effective from 5 months onward.
5. Sleep Environment:
Ensure the room temperature is optimal, maintaining a range of 19-22 degrees overnight. For infants up to month 4-5, utilise a swaddle and blanket over a vest and baby gro. Beyond this stage, consider a vest, baby gro, and a 2-2.5 tog sleeping bag.
6. Your Settling Plan:
With the groundwork laid, it’s time to implement a baby sleep training plan. Consider factors such as your infant’s age, parental reactions, phase out reliance on rocking or feeding to sleep, co-sleeping, and the use of sleep tools like dummies or white noise. Remember, less is more in settling and sleep; a clear and consistent approach is key. Simplifying the bedtime settling routine conveys a clear message that bedtime is approaching.
Self-settling is crucial for quality sleep. Aim to put your child down awake and calm to avoid disruptions during the transfer or shortly after. Confidence in self-settling on sleep initiation correlates with overnight settling ability.
Wait and Rescue Stage:
After putting your child down, exit the room even if faced with immediate crying. Wait for 5 minutes, then re-enter to calm without picking up. Implement a 10-20 second settling ritual consistently. Repeat this process 3-5 times, waiting 6-7 minutes between attempts. After 3-5 attempts pick up your child to calm without rocking or swaying, simply holding until calm for no longer than 2 minutes before repeating the cycle.
With my assistance families on my 5 Day Support Package rarely require a second round of wait and rescue. Remember, the goal is to calm, not to assist in falling asleep. Gradually extend the time before intervening, adding a minute at a time up to 7 minutes. If cries are intermittent, wait longer, allowing your child time to self-settle.
Initially, you could expect as many as 10 interventions or the settling plan could work immediately, regardless with consistent application, improvements should manifest within 24-72 hours. Understand that resistance is natural when altering settling patterns; patience and consistency is key. Any baby or toddler sleep training plan should be implemented on the back of routine changes, and of course there are alternative approaches for different personalities and circumstances.
Note that this baby sleep training method is not suitable for newborns, the 7 pm to 7 am Sleeping Baby Routine ( suitable from birth to weaning ) is NOT sleep training; it’s a comprehensive approach that ensures your newborn’s needs are met during daylight hours, creating optimal conditions for nighttime sleep. Sleep happens naturally as part of a daily routine to support digestion and growth.
For a personalised plan of action please visit my baby sleep consultancy page.
Sleep is but a phone call away!
You may find interesting my Toddler Sleep Training post.