All too often, when one member of the family doesn't sleep, no one sleeps. A child wakes his parents up every hour and, in the process, also wakes his older brother, younger sister, and grandparents in from out of town. Parents have to go to work, kids have to go to school, and everyone is exhausted. As a result, you find yourself on the computer frantically searching, "What is the Kim West sleep training method?" or "cry it out" or "no-tears sleep training", hoping for a more restful night ahead.
Although there's no real one-size-fits-all solution, doing what you think is best for your child and your family probably won't steer your wrong.
Kim West, aka The Sleep Lady, is the author of a couple of books on the subject of sleep training including Good Night, Sleep Tight: The Sleep Lady's Gentle Guide to Helping Your Baby Go to Sleep and Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook. According to The Sleep Lady website, West developed her method while trying to coax her two daughters to sleep when they were babies. The foundation of the method is getting parents to pick up on each child's individual instinctive cues about when and how to sleep, which West claims will result in the child building positive sleeping habits and routines from a very young age.
The first thing to know about West's sleep training method is that it rejects the techniques associated with cry-it-out methods, as she told Parents. Instead, West developed a technique she called the "Sleep Lady Shuffle." As she explained to Parents, her "Shuffle" technique for sleep training essentially involves putting your baby to sleep in their own crib and gently soothing him to sleep while you sit close by. Each night, you move farther away until Baby is able to drift off to sleep without any help, encouragement, or direct comforting from his parents.
West's method relies on parents making sleep a top priority and diminishing - until completely eliminated - night nursing, according to Babble. That's not always easy, as Berger wrote. And West herself acknowledged to Parents that the prioritization of Baby's sleep schedule kept her at home quite a bit.
To up your chances of success with West's method — and better, more restful sleep for all — prepare before implementing the method. West advised client Maura Rhodes to put her son in his own room, away from the older sibling who was often roused by the baby in the middle of the night, as Rhodes wrote for Parenting. By separating the baby that's not sleeping through the night from his siblings, you can focus on sleep training while also ensuring your other kiddos are well-rested.
Additionally, according to Parents, making sure you have at least three weeks to implement West's sleep training program is imperative, because while bumps in the road won't doom you, they do tend to set your progress back a few steps. West's method relies on incremental steps and consistency, so if you're unable to keep up with things because, say, you're on vacation, your baby might need to go back a few steps to get back on track. That's OK, in fact, according to Baby Center, things might get a little bit worse before they get better as your baby adjusts to new routines and bedtime behaviors.
As West told Rhodes, your job is to teach your baby how to get himself to sleep, not simply make sure he's conked out. Hang in there, Mama.