Infant Sleep Training Tips That Will Have Everyone Sleeping Through The Night!

Have a baby who won’t sleep? You’re in the right place! Sleep is such an important part of a child’s growth and development and even for you as a parent. How can you be expected to parent effectively if you’re barely hanging on? The first time a baby sleeps through the night has to be one of the best, most exciting milestones as a parent and it’s a huge game-changer within the household as a whole. So if you’re ready to get more sleep, here are 10 helpful sleep training tips from a mom of two.

Choose a method that works for you

Before we get into any other tip on this list, you first and foremost need to be choosing a method that works best for YOUR family. What works for our family or your friend’s family might not work best for you. And that’s totally okay!

There are a lot of various methods out there so I guarantee there’s a method out there that’s perfect for your needs. For example, the Ferber Method is a great one for fast results and minimal crying while the Pick Up, Put Down Method can be helpful for younger babies. There are many solutions out there so if you need a full breakdown, you can check out our full post on sleep training methods.

Decide on an end goal

What is the goal of sleep training for you? Are you sleep training to break a bed-sharing habit? Do you want your child to be able to put themselves to sleep? Are you wanting them to sleep longer stretches? Are you weaning from night feedings? There are a lot of reasons why parents might choose to sleep train so before starting, decide what your goal is. That way you can better choose a method and a routine that will work best for your family.

Set realistic expectations

This goes along with the goal setting. You have to make sure every goal you set is realistic. If you’re going into sleep training with a 2 week old expecting them to sleep through the night 12 hours within a week, you’re probably going to be left feeling very disappointed.

Related: Baby Sleep Training 101: Which Sleep Training Method Is Right For You?

It’s important to do some research on early childhood development so you understand your baby’s brain and what they are and are not developmentally able to do at various ages. If you need to, you can reach out to your pediatrician or even a sleep consultant to come up with a good game plan for achieving your sleep goals.

Understand what ‘sleeping through the night’ means

You constantly hear parents talking about how they want their baby to sleep through the night. Well here’s a little reality check: no one sleeps through the night. Yes, you heard that correctly. No one actually sleeps through the night.

We sleep in cycles and even adults wake up at some point during the night. The difference is that you know how to put yourself back to sleep even if it’s subconsciously. So most times, you probably don’t even realize you’re transitioning from one cycle to another. Babies, on the other hand, aren’t born with these skills so they have a harder time putting themselves back to sleep and continuing into the next cycle without fully waking.

So if your baby is still waking at night, know that it’s 100% normal and very developmentally appropriate. And don’t feel discouraged if it takes time for them to learn how to put themselves back to sleep.

Be consistent

Regardless of your chosen sleep training method, it’s important to be very consistent with it. If you’re only following through 75% of the time, then the new habits and routines aren’t going to stick as quickly, if at all. So rather than it taking a week to sleep train your baby, it could take multiple weeks. Humans need consistency in order to build new habits.

Promote good, healthy sleep habits from day 1

This is a big one. No, you don’t have to sleep train from day one (and you shouldn’t bother anyway), promoting good sleep habits from the get go is really important. For us, this means always putting our kids to bed on their backs, avoiding sleep products like swings and rockers, only using safe sleep spaces, trying not to consistently rock them to sleep, etc. There isn’t necessarily anything “wrong” with rocking your baby to sleep or allowing them to sleep in other spaces. BUT these kinds of habits can be really tough to break as they get older. So really it’s just something to keep in mind so you can possibly try to avoid them.

Related: A First-Time Mom’s Guide To Safe Sleep Guidelines

Always put baby to sleep awake, but drowsy

Putting baby to sleep when they’re still awake as opposed to waiting until they’re asleep in your arms, gives them the opportunity to learn how to self-soothe and put themselves to sleep on their own. This is a really important skill to teach which is why so many parents opt to sleep train their babies.

Pay attention to signs of sleepiness

This is a big one. You need to pay attention to signs of sleepiness in order to create an effective routine/schedule. I know that sounds like common sense, but I’ve seen many parents try to force routines and random schedules on their babies that they’ve found online and it’s just not going to work if it doesn’t pertain to your baby.

So, for example, if the schedule you’ve found on Google says to put your baby to sleep every 2 hours, but your baby gets tired at the 1.5-hour mark, then you’ll end up with an overtired baby who is refusing to nap. On the flip side, if they don’t get tired until maybe the 3-hour mark, then you’ll be trying to force a baby to sleep when they’re just not tired. So always pay attention to your child’s sleepiness cues and base your routines and schedules off that.

Have a healthy bedtime routine

I’m big on healthy, consistent bed time routines. We tend to start routines from day one and as our babies get older, they turn into schedules. Generally, our bedtime routines consist of cuddles, fresh jammies, a diaper change (pull up for our oldest), teeth brushing, books, etc. Our youngest (12 months old) goes to bed at 6:30pm and our oldest (4 years old) goes to bed whenever I do on the nights my husband works and on his off nights, she’s in bed at around 7 o’clock or so. With summer, the exact time varies but the routine itself is the same. This really just helps calm their bodies and eases them into bedtime.

Be patient

Sleep training takes time regardless of which method you choose or how old they are when you start. Because of this, it’s going to require some patience. If it only takes a couple of days, great! If it takes two weeks, that’s also completely fine and normal. The big thing is staying consistent and being patient during the process.

Did you sleep train your little ones? What advice would you give a new mom?

About Keating

Hey there! I'm so happy to have you here I'm Keating and I'm the Founder & Editor of Mainely Keating. I’m a Maine mom to two beautiful little girls, a wife of almost 8 years, a Behavioral Health Professional, graduate student, lobster roll connoisseur, and a Joanna Gaines wannabe.

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