HOW do you sleep train your baby? You hear about sleep training and how some parents’ lives
have changed through sleep training but HOW?
You read on google about this method and that method and you find as much positive
information as negative, you’re left confused and have no idea where to start or whether you
even should! I hear you, it’s a minefield…
So I’m going to put it to you simply and share with you HOW to sleep train a baby or young child
for that matter…
The reason it’s all so confusing out there is because, put simply, there is no single or simple
answer to sleep training. What works wonders in one case will make things worse in another
case even in the same family under the same routine!
So it’s no wonder it’s a minefield, right? I’ve worked with parents who breezed it with four
children and then came unstuck with their fifth, completely scratching their heads as to why,
when they’ve raised four babies already?
It’s about the unique child and when you know what’s going to suit them, it all becomes
First and foremost, you’ve got to be in the right mindset for sleep training. As the parent or
caregiver, you have to be ready and want to sleep train your child.
You can’t do it because someone else told you to or you feel you ‘should’ it has to be because
you can see the benefits it will have on your little one and for you and you’re ready to be ‘all in’
and commit to helping your little one sleep.
Why is this important? Because otherwise you’ll quit at the first hurdle or you’ll second guess
every step of the plan. You’ll doubt yourself or your sleep consultant and without even realising
it, you’ll self sabotage!
That’s right. One tough night and you’ll decide it’s not working and can’t work for you and you’ll
self sabotage rather than dig in deeper and conquer the challenges. So your mindset is the first
thing to address when you begin sleep training your little one.
Next, you need a plan. Trying this thing then that thing will just lead to confusion and worse sleep
so you need to decide what the best approach is for your little one and for you and get really clear on how to implement that approach with all the people who will be caring for your child, on
For example, if your little one is super alert, they may just be more stimulated and agitated by
your attempts to soothe and reassure and might respond better to less fuss and interaction.
Whereas a little one who relies heavily on you doing something to or for him in order to get to
sleep, will need you to very gradually ‘wean’ them off that thing while still being very present and
hands on in the process.
In my book, The Sleep Nanny System, I talk about my fade out approach and my regulated
responding technique - one of these will certainly suit your child but it will need some
customisation as every little one and every scenario is unique.
Equip yourself with the knowhow so that you can implement your plan with confidence.
In deciding on the best approach to take or at least to begin with (because the approach can
sometimes change and evolve) two key things you need to consider are…
1. How does your little one fall to sleep? Are there any particular associations with things that
send them off to sleep?
2. How much sleep are they getting overall? Is it enough and is it timed right for them? Being
awake for too long between sleeps can lead to overtiredness as well as not getting enough sleep
and being over tired is often the cause of poor night sleep.
There is ALWAYS work to be done on one if not both of these things.
When you sleep train your baby or child, you must be clear in the messages you are sending
A clear and reliable message that they can depend upon. If your baby thinks that you might feed
them or you might not or you might take them into your bed with you or you might not…it’s
confusing and they don’t know what to do.
Keep your message clear even if they send you a bunch of mixed messages! You’re the one
leading the way here and your baby needs you to do that.