5 strategies to sleep train your baby without using cry it out

Sleep training your baby doesn’t mean you have to let them cry it out. On the contrary, sleep training actually means preparing their sleep environment, following an age-appropriate routine and teaching them to self-soothe.

Setting your baby up for success before getting to the self-settling stage means that crying will be minimised and teaching your baby to self-settle doesn’t mean you can’t be right there in the room with them.

Start a consistent nightly routine.

Babies love a routine as they love to know what’s coming next. A consistent bedtime routine helps to prepare your little one for sleep, meaning your baby will be relaxed when you put them down in the cot.

Babies need help winding down in the evening to help them transition from being awake to being asleep. You can do this by dimming the lights all over the house, playing lullabies, and taking a relaxing bath with your baby. After the bath be sure to offer a full feed so your baby has a full tummy and can sleep longer stretches overnight.

Make sure that the feed is not the last thing you do before putting your baby in their cot so your baby is not tempted feeding to sleep and needing this feed for sleep. You can offer the feed in a dimly lit room and read some bedtime stories after or brush your baby’s teeth. Then sing some lullabies, do cuddles and put your baby down in the cot when they’re calm but still fully awake.

Create a sleep-friendly environment

Your baby’s sleep environment plays a big part in successfully sleep training your little one so ensure it’s spot on. I recommend playing continuous low/rumbly white noise at about 60 decibels. This helps to drown out any distracting outside noises and means your baby will not startle awake at sudden loud noises.

I also recommend using a sleeping bag for all sleep as this is what’s safest and can’t be kicked off like a blanket so your baby will be snug and warm all night long and putting on the sleeping bag serves as a great sleep cue.

Make sure the temperature in your little one’s room is between 18-20 degrees as a room that is too hot can cause overheating which increases the risk for SIDS and a room that is too cold will result in your baby waking up crying.

It is also important that your baby’s sleep space and room is not cluttered. Not only is this for safety but it also helps them to settle to sleep easier as there aren’t any distractions around.

Further a completely dark room is crucial as this helps your baby to settle to sleep easier and ensures your little one stays asleep for longer as any light signals to your baby’s brain that it’s time to wake up.

Make sure your baby is getting enough daytime sleep

Sufficient day time sleep is important for your baby to sleep through the night as enough naps during the day means your baby is not overtired at bedtime. Being overtired means that your little one will be a lot harder to settle to sleep and will be more likely to wake up frequently overnight and early in the morning. So how much sleep does bub need during the day?

  • Newborn: 6 hours

  • 3 Months: 4.5 hours

  • 4 -5 Months: 3.5 hours

  • 6-7 Months: 3 hours

  • 8-12 Months: 2.5 hours

Please note this is a guide only as every baby is different.

Ensure your baby gets enough calories during the day

Feeding your baby enough during the day helps to maximise sleep overnight as your baby is less likely to wake up hungry. It’s best to follow a consistent feeding routine to ensure your little one has full feeds at every feed and doesn’t turn into a snacker. If you feel that your baby is feeding to much overnight, you can always gradually reduce this by either reducing the volume given at night or reducing time at the breast. Then simply add more milk (or time at breast) during the day to help your baby meet most of their calorie needs during the day.

Once your little one is showing signs of readiness you can also introduce solids (not before 4 months and not after 6 months of age) as solids help stabilise blood sugar levels which sustains them during the day and night.

Be sure to offer a variety of protein, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables with every meal to further maximise sleep overnight.

Teach your baby to fall asleep on their own

This is the part that most parents know as sleep training when in fact all of the above fits under the umbrella of sleep training. Teaching your baby to self-soothe is just the final piece of the puzzle and will ensure that your baby can go back to sleep without your help and will sleep longer stretches as a result.

To start off with, I always recommend to avoid rocking, holding or feeding your baby to sleep but to put your baby in the cot calm but fully awake. From there you can then teach your baby to self-soothe by gradually removing your assistance. So you can still sit by your baby’s cot and use your voice to soothe your baby.

Use touch at intervals and pick up your baby at intervals if necessary. Every day do a little bit less until you can just sit next to the cot while your baby falls asleep. From there you can move further and further away from the cot until you’re outside the room.

Take away

So you see there are a lot of ways to gently sleep train your baby that don’t involve letting them cry it out and babies can learn how to sleep through the night, even while you are nearby.

Want someone in your corner to cheer you on and hold you accountable throughout the sleep training process? Book in for a free 15 min chat now and find out how I can help you to get your baby sleeping through the night.

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