Baby Sleep Training Basics and Methods

Another frustrating night? Struggling to get your baby on a regular sleep schedule? Are you feeling exhausted? You’re not alone. In-fact, 75% of babies will experience difficulty with their sleep. But the good thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way. As a parent, you want to do everything you can to help your baby get the best sleep possible, including providing a safe sleeping environment, establishing consistent bedtime routines, and helping your baby develop good sleep habits. Read on to learn about the importance of sleep for babies, what is sleep training and how to choose the methods that might be best for you and your baby.

Why Is Sleep Important for Babies and Parents?

Sleep plays a crucial role in your baby’s growth and development. Sleep can also help with your baby’s mood, behavior and even reduce their risk of obesity in later childhood. Once your baby starts sleeping better at night, so will you. Just imagine how much better a parent you could be if you are not constantly sleep deprived. You could be more loving and attentive to your baby, your partner and others in your life. You could drive more safely on the road and you could even perform better at work.

What Is Sleep Training?

Sleep Training or Sleep Coaching is the process of teaching your little one good sleep habits so that they can self-soothe to fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up happy in the morning. It contains various scientifically proven elements, from establishing a bedtime routine and an ideal sleep environment to multiple behavioral methods to help your baby self-soothe.

Don’t miss these must-watch sleep tips from a pediatric sleep consultant

When to Start Sleep Training

Some elements of Sleep Training, such as establishing a bedtime routine and creating an ideal sleep environment could be implemented as soon as you bring your child home from the hospital. As of 3-4 months of age, your baby would develop 2 crucial abilities: 1) Going for more than a few hours without feedings, 2) Learning how to self-soothe. This timing is the opening of the window for behavioral sleep training which is simply teaching your baby to fall asleep without you present.

How to Start Sleep Training

Tackling these 5 sleep fundamentals can help you get an almost immediate improvement in your baby’s sleep schedule. While most of these fundamentals can be implemented from day-1, some are relevant only as of 3-4 months of age. Here are the 5 fundamentals:

Sleep Training and Naps

Naptime can also play a role in sleep training because your baby’s daytime naps can have an impact on the quality of his nighttime sleep. It’s a good idea to create a routine around naps as well. Here are a few things to keep in mind about your baby’s naps:

  • In the first few months, you’ll become familiar with what times your baby typically wants a nap because your little one will get drowsy or possibly a little fussy as he tires. If you notice these signs, let your baby nap.

  • Allow your little one to nap for as long as he wants unless he has a hard time falling asleep at night. If you find that your baby doesn’t sleep well at night, but takes long naps in the daytime, talk to your baby’s healthcare provider about waking him up a bit earlier during a nap so he’s more tired at night.

  • Keep things bright during the day while your baby is awake.

  • Be sure to use awake intervals to schedule your baby’s sleep so that your little one gets enough sleep during the day and is ready for bedtime. Remember that as your baby gets older, he’ll need less sleep.

Sleep training for naps can be quite difficult, and that’s why the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers App specifically addresses nap training in our expertly curated mini-courses, to guide you step-by-step to sleep success.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

The amount of sleep needed can differ from baby to baby and from age to age. Although your baby’s sleep requirements are unique, typically, the amount of sleep your baby needs will slowly decrease as she gets older.

Letting your baby sleep according to her own biological sleep rhythms is probably more important than targeting specific sleep amounts. You’ll notice that there will be times throughout the day in which your baby is a little drowsy. Let your baby snooze a bit during these times, and the quality of her sleep will be better.

  • Newborns (0-3 months). Recommended to sleep between 14-17 hours per day, but 11-19 hours per day may also be appropriate. A newborn doesn't know the difference between day and night and will probably sleep for shorter intervals - about 2 to 3 hours at a time - for the first few weeks, because they’ll need to be fed and changed.

  • 4-month-old babies. From about 4 months to 11 months of age, most babies are recommended to sleep between 12-15 hours per day, but 10-18 hours may be appropriate.

  • 12-month-old babies. From 12 months to 24 months of age, babies are recommended to sleep 11-14 hours per day, but 9-16 hours per day may be appropriate.

When it comes to sleep training, don’t be hard on yourself if things aren’t always perfect. There will be times when your baby finds it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. What you can do is try to be consistent and create routines. Changing sleeping times and habits is a gradual process, so be patient with your baby and with yourself. Make sure your baby is in a clean diaper before putting her to bed to help her get the best sleep. To unlock special Lumi by Pampers discounts, download the Pampers Club app.