Sleep training babies… does it really work? Yes! I know because I did it with both my babies, Kate and Oliver. And I did it while exclusively breastfeeding and without doing “cry it out”.
Can you train a baby to sleep 12 hours a night? Baby Oliver just turned 4 months old and he is now sleeping sound as a pound, 12-13 hours per night, every night. Scroll down for my Top 5 Tips for Sleep Training Babies.
Sleep Training Babies: How I Got Oliver to Sleep 12 Hours at 4 Months
In this video, I tell you how I sleep-trained Kate and Oliver.
Top 5 Tips for Sleep Training Babies
In brief, here are my top 5 tips for sleep training babies to sleep 12 hours per night… watch the video above for more details.
Sleep Training Babies Tip # 1: Double Diapers at Night
If you use disposable diapers, you can skip past this one… We use cloth diapers and I found that double diapers or adding an insert helped my babies sleep through the night.
Babies wake up in the night when they are wet and cold. We do cloth diapers so I double- or triple-diaper them, and/or use microfiber inserts to make sure they can sleep through the night. The only reason you need to change them is if they poop at night, which rarely happens.
Hemp inserts on Amazon – this is the one I bought
Sleep Training Babies Tip # 2: Keep Them Warm
Babies wake up when they are cold. Make sure they are bundled nice and warm with footie pajamas or sleep sacks. One time Oliver kept waking up to nurse and I finally realized he was cold. The next night I bundled him up and he slept straight through.
Sleep Training Babies Tip # 3: Make Sure They Are Well Fed
In the book, The Baby Sleep Solution: A Proven Program to Teach Your Baby to Sleep Twelve Hours a Night, Suzy Giordano teaches how hunger keeps babies awake at night.
Following Suzy's methods, I explain in the video how to make sure your baby gets enough breast milk (or formula) during the day so that he or she can sleep through the night.
Sleep Training Babies Tip #4: Make Sure They Are Well Rested
Sleep begets sleep. It seems anti-intuitive but the more babies sleep, the more they will sleep. I first learned this when Kate was a baby when I read the book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth.
It makes sense when you think about it. When you're overtired, you produce adrenaline which makes you wired and keeps you awake.
In the video above, I explain more about how to help your baby get well-rested during the day so that he or she can go down easier and sleep better at night.
Sleep Training Babies Tip # 5: Establish a Routine
Babies like routines. Routines make them feel secure because they know what to expect. I always resisted sleep routines because I thought we had to spend hours bathing, reading, rocking, etc. But the reality is, a routine can be as simple as a 5 minute thing. Our routine is changing diapers, getting jammies on, saying “night night” to everyone, reading a story or two, and then putting on music.
We used this music player every night with both babies.
Sleep Training Babies: Q & A
At what age can I start sleep training my baby?
You can sleep train your baby at any time. It's easiest the younger they are, which is why I chose to do it when my babies were around 4 months old.
Biologically, babies can sleep 12 hours a night after 12 weeks. Babies' stomachs are big enough at 6 weeks to start sleeping 6 hour stretches. They can sleep 12 hours at 12 weeks. My babies did it around 16 weeks, but you can start as early as 12 weeks.
Can I do this if I'm breast feeding?
YES! I breastfed Kate and I am breastfeeding Oliver exclusively. You don't need to schedule feedings — you can breast feed on demand. Just make sure they get enough breast milk during the 12 hours they are awake.
Can I do this if I'm co-sleeping?
YES! If it doesn't bother you to sleep with your baby if he or she is a noisy sleeper, go for it! I'm a light sleeper so I sleep better in my own bed. (Of course, our daughter who is 7 still sleeps with us…)
Do I have to do Cry It Out?
NO! Sleep training babies does not have to involve “Cry It Out”. I did do cry it out (they cried for only 5-10 minutes as they learned to self-soothe).
However, you don't have to do cry it out. Sleep training does NOT mean you have to do cry it out. I have 5 tricks that will help you get your baby to sleep 12 hours at night. Cry It Out is not for everyone. Again, Oliver and Kate never cried more than 15-20 minutes TOTAL (with me soothing them every 5-10 minutes).
But if you don't want to do this, it's fine. You can still train your baby to sleep 12 hours per night. You can simply soothe your baby to sleep by breastfeeding, rocking or singing them to sleep.
I personally preferred to help my children learn to self-soothe… kind of like a mother hen pecking the baby chicks on the head to get them to learn to peck for food. It takes a little getting used to but they learn quickly, and they are much happier and more confident in my experience. But again, it's totally up to you. No parenting style is right or wrong. You have to do what works for you!
Sleep Training Babies: Resources
I highly recommend both of these books (affiliate links):
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth
Also, this is the music player/projector we use that worked like a charm for both of our babies: Munchkin Nursery Projector and Sound System
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