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Sleep Training Your Baby

Get your little one to snooze like a champion with this advice.
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Babies are supposed to sleep for 12 to 14 hours a day—question is, why must they be so wide-awake at night? Here’s some sanity-saving advice from moms who got their little ones to snooze like champions.

Give your child a little time. Another mom in the playgroup may brag about her baby sleeping through the night at five weeks, but for most kids, it doesn’t happen until the four-month mark, says parenting educator Elizabeth Pantley, co-author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night. "Attempting to regulate a newborn’s sleep cycle before it’s biologically possible makes for an unhappy baby and a frustrated parent," she adds.

Teach your child that bed is a comforting place. "Let the baby spend some time during the day in the crib, while you read, talk, sing, play," Pantley suggests. "If he responds positively and becomes interested in watching a mobile or playing with a toy, stand or sit quietly nearby and watch. Do this a few times a day for a week or so and a baby will come to know his crib as a welcoming, safe, and comfortable haven. When he wakes there during the night, he’ll find it easier to go back to sleep."

Crying it out is not a must. Some sleep methods call for letting kids cry it out after you’ve put them to sleep, but Pantley’s not for that. "The baby will eventually stop crying and sleep," says Pantley, "but that doesn’t mean he has learned skills for how to fall asleep." She suggests a little patience—and step-by-step adjustments. "If a baby has been falling asleep in your arms and you suddenly decide to put him in the crib awake, of course he will cry—it’s confusing!" she says. "You might at first keep your hands on him, patting and rubbing and gently shushing him to help him get settled. Work your way toward sitting there without physical contact, then move your chair away from the crib, and finally, sit outside the doorway." It may take weeks, but keep up the baby steps and you’ll get there.

Cut back on help. If you’ve been rocking baby back to sleep when she wakes in the middle of the night, says Pantley, "the next step is to begin reducing that. As a parent becomes less involved in the falling-asleep process, over time the baby will begin to doze off without assistance."

Do what works for your family. You’ll get plenty of advice (sought and unsought) about how to solve sleep dilemmas. Try the techniques that make sense to you," encourages Pantley: "It reduces stress if parents follow their hearts and do what they think is best for them and their baby."

An article from the HUGGIES® Brand

  • Rated 0 out of 5 by 563reviewers.
    Rated 0 out of 5 by All our kids get moved to the crib from the co-sleeper bassinet fairly quickly. Only one of our kids was a Pacifier kid, but my sister and I had a rule--never get out of bed to give them back the passy. It has worked for us. My oldest loved to have the passy to fall asleep, but was never overly attached to it (so when the time came to ditch the passy--no problems) Plus, The babies learn to self-soothe, and we are not endlessly getting up in the middle of the night. September 11, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by WE TRIED TE PACK'N PLAY CRIB FIRST THEN MOVED HIM TO HIS NURSERY CRIB. ONE STEP AT A TIME WORKS BEST... September 10, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by My baby girl is 9 months old (today!) and she still wants to nurse when she wakes in the middle of the night. She doesn't always necessarily eat a bunch, and mostly goes back to sleep fairly quickly these days. Im at a loss on whether to keep letting her do this or to try with a binky & then eventually without the binky too. *Sigh* I guess we will see how it goes! September 9, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by My baby dont go to sleep on her...she is hard to put to sleep August 28, 2014
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