Our goal going forward will always be that your child only falls asleep independently, without help from you or anything else.
Must read and review tips prior to starting ’s nighttime training:
- 48-Hour “House Arrest”: This means no outings of any kind for any reason and no car seats, strollers, or carriers of any kind, and no walks or trips in the car for the first 48 hours of sleep training. Do not begin to sleep train if you are unable to stay home completely for the first 2-3 days of the training program. You are unlikely to be successful unless you are home for the first 2-3 days of training.
- Sleeping Training Begins at Night, Nap Training Begins the Very Next Day: The Baby Sleep Trainer method is designed to help you quickly sleep train your child with the least amount of tears possible, but only if you follow the guidelines exactly as outlined. Not doing naps at the same time as night training is not a good idea. So remember, start training at bedtime, start nap training immediately the next day, and stay 100% at home for the first 2-3 days of the process.
- Talk to Your Pediatrician: Ask your pediatrician the following questions prior to starting sleep training…
- How many night feedings does need overnight?
- (If choosing not to roomshare prior to 12 months) Is it okay for me and to sleep in separate bedrooms?
- (If uses a paci but is unable to easily find it and insert it 100% independently) Is it okay for to not use a pacifier going forward?
- What should I do if rolls to their belly during sleep? Should I roll them back over, and if so, how many times in a row should I continue to roll them over?
- Rule of the Pacifier: Only sleep train with a pacifier if is easily able to reach out, grasp it, and put it back in their mouth. If cannot easily do that, do not use a pacifier. Feel free to use the pacifier throughout the day, but stop its use within 30 minutes of all naps and night sleep. And if you do decide to allow to keep pacifier during sleep training, under no circumstances are you to return it to as wakes throughout the night. If you are having to do that, that means you should NOT allow to use a pacifier while sleeps. (Sleep training without a paci under 12 months of age can only occur with pediatrician permission)
Now to begin the training:
Step 1) Pick ’s bedtime – Most children prefer a bedtime sometime between 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm. Know that while most families wish they could simply pick a bedtime that works best for their own circumstances and lifestyle, most often it’s wise to set bedtime as close to 7 pm as possible. Unless your circumstances truly do not permit you to do so, aim to put your child down earlier rather than later each night.
Step 2) Understand the 1 to 10 wakefulness scale – A 1 is the most awake and alert you’ve ever seen , 5 is the first sign of sleepiness gives you when you know is ready to go to sleep (like a big yawn or rubbing eyes), and 10 is the most deeply asleep you’ve ever seen .
Step 3) Bedtime Routine & Final Feeding – If is still nursing or taking a bottle, aim to start last feeding no more than 30-40 minutes prior to bedtime, make sure this feeding is the very first part of entire bedtime routine, and that it takes places in a very well-lit room with some music or other ambient noise present. If you do things like baths, reading, or singing during ’s bedtime routine, make sure these only occur after final feeding During feeding, ensure remains 100% fully awake (with eyes open), or between a 1 to 3 on the wakefulness scale. While many children fall asleep while feeding, you simply must ensure your child remains fully awake. Watch closely while is eating and if it looks like may become even slightly drowsy, stop the feeding and help become more alert. If becomes sleepy or drowsy whatsoever during the feeding, sleep training will be very challenging and will require more time (and possibly more tears). If is having an extremely difficult time staying awake during last feeding, it’s possible bedtime is too late.
If is no longer nursing or bottle feeding, proceed with nighttime routine like normal, ensuring that no matter what remains fully awake throughout the entire process.
Step 4) Putting to bed – Once is completely done with bedtime routine, it’s time to put to bed. Follow the next instructions very carefully:
- Walk into ’s room, close the door, turn on the white noise, and make sure the curtains are drawn.
- Set a five-minute timer on your phone and place it in your back pocket. During this five-minute period your goal will be for to go from a 1 to a 5 on the 1 to 10 wakefulness scale. Remember to avoid any movements that you know will make drowsy. Your goal should be to help become calm and relaxed, not sleepy or drowsy. This can often be accomplished by holding your child very still or by walking gently around the room. If at some point before the five minutes are up you notice that yawns, rubs eyes, or rubs face into your shoulder, give a kiss, tell them you love , put down and leave the room.
- If does not get to 5 on the 1 to 10 scale within the five minutes, that’s fine, put down in crib once your timer goes off and leave the room.
Step 5) Checks & Pauses – At some point after leaving, either right away or within a few minutes, will start crying and protesting because is frustrated that you are not helping fall asleep. Start a timer. Checks should be at least 10, but not longer than 15, minutes apart. If 10 minutes is simply too long and you won’t be able to sleep train unless you’re able to check-in more frequently, then pick a number as close to 10 as possible, and stick with that. Do not start with shorter check-in intervals and “work up” to 10 to 15 minutes. Pick a number from the start and stick to it.
If cries for the full length of check-in interval go into room (making sure not to introduce light from the hallway) and check on . If is unable to sit or stand independently, you may touch during your check-in, but don’t pick up. You can touch face, give a kiss, and you should always tell that you love and that it’s time to go to sleep. Regardless of whether or not is calming down, do NOT stay longer than 30 seconds and unless something is physically wrong or there is an emergency do NOT pick up.
If is able to get self up to a sitting or standing position, do NOT touch during your check-in. Instead, walk in and stay about 2-3 feet away from the crib, talk to , tell you love , and leave the room after 30 seconds. If you touch but don’t pick up, things will go from bad to A LOT worse very quickly.
On a related note, do not allow the intensity of your child’s cry to determine when you do a check. This is an important and vital part of the Baby Sleep Trainer method – check-in only during established check-in intervals. If you suspect at any time that something is wrong or that there is an emergency, you should physically check on immediately.
At some point within one of the first few intervals you will notice that pauses their crying. This is not just them catching their breath, but a pause in crying that is 3 seconds or longer. Once has first pause, that is a great sign! This pause means it is literally only a matter of time until falls asleep. When you notice that break in crying, reset your timer to zero. You are only to check on if has been crying non-stop for the full length of check-in interval. Remember that checks occurring soon after a pause in ’s crying can delay falling asleep by a very long time.
NOTE: If you find that you have checked on for about an hour straight and is still not asleep, that is because your checks are too distracting for and as long as you continue checking in, will remain awake. If is still awake after an hour’s worth of checks, stop checking in on , allow as much time as needs to fall asleep on own, and resume checks the next time wakes up as long as it’s before 4:00 AM.
Step 6) When has fallen asleep and woken up again before 4:00 am – Believe it or not, at some point after you put down for bedtime, will fall asleep on own. At some point later in the night, will wake again. When has woken up, immediately start your timer and do a check on ONLY after has cried non-stop for a full length of interval. Make sure to restart the timer if takes a break in crying for 3 seconds or longer. Every time wakes up before 4:00 am, do checks in exactly this manner.
Step 7) After 4:00 am – From 4:00 am until, ideally, no earlier than 6:30 am you should not do any in person checks on and you should instead watch closely through monitor and allow to work through wakings independently. If is awake prior to, or right at 6:30 am, get up, feed , and keep [him/her] up until first scheduled nap time. If is still asleep at 6:30 am, do not allow to sleep in past 7:00 am. If must be awake prior to 6:30 am, adjust your times accordingly.
For children who still need night feedings…
Step 8) Night Feedings – If your pediatrician advises you to maintain a night feeding, I would strongly urge you to feed the first time they wake after 1:00 am. In almost every case, and contrary to popular belief, wakings prior to 1:00 am are typically not due to hunger. As long as your doctor says it’s okay, feed the first time they wake after 1:00 am. If wakes prior to 1:00 am and is still awake AT 1:00 am, wait until falls asleep (while doing checks) and then feed the next time wakes. Ideally it’s better if you avoid feeding after a lengthy period of crying. If falls asleep during the night feed, that is just fine. Put back down asleep and resume your checks the next time wakes.
If the FIRST time wakes to eat is after 4:00 am, feed and put back down. This is an exception to the “no in-person checks” during 4 and 6:30 am.
If for whatever reason your doctor advises you to maintain two feedings, feed the first time wakes after 10:00 pm, and the first time wakes after 1:00 am as long as your doctor approves those times.