Guest Blogger – Trista Cave – Cave Babies. Infant and Child Sleep Coach, Educator
It is a questions I get a lot… when is the right age to start sleep training? There is no “perfect age” to make changes for your family, the perfect time is when you are READY. Every family and every baby and every toddler is so different but here are few questions to ask yourself if this is a good time or not to work on your child’s sleep:
Is your baby waking frequently through the night? We need to be quite realistic here. A baby who is 3 months old and waking two times for a feed is quite reasonable. However, a baby who is 8 months old waking every hour or two can likely benefit from some changes. Remember, our bodies need sleep! Our children are no different.
Are you dragging your feet during the day? Your baby needs more sleep than you, so if you are tired from interrupted sleep and significant night wakings, then good chances your babe won’t feel his best during the day either. Even working at reducing bedtime battles or early mornings can make a great positive impact on you and your family.
Are naps short or non-existent? Daytime sleep plays a significant role in night sleep, so if you are struggling with naps during the day, there is a good chance that your night sleep is affected. Consistent and good quality naps are important for your child’s health and development (as well as mom’s much deserved break!). Sleep training is not just about “sleeping through the night”.
Are your habits no longer working? All of a sudden, your baby can’t be rocked off to sleep. What??? Or maybe feeding off to sleep used to work like a charm and now it’s just stimulation? Noooooo! You might find this a perfect time to sleep train so you are not simply introducing another sleep association. Learning to sleep independently is a great skill that can improve your sleep. But don’t be alarmed if falling asleep without a prop doesn’t solve all your sleep woes… this is a very small portion of your babies’ sleep routines.
Finally, you need ask yourself if you are ready. Are you ready for change? Are you ready to really commit to a new routine and build a new foundation? Sleep training is a lot of work (although the rewards are substantial!) and requires patience, love, commitment and caffeine!
Only you know what is best for your family!
Sleep Coach, Educator and Child Nutritionist