When you become a parent, sleep is a precious commodity. You love your baby more than anything, but after a month or two of sleepwalking into the nursery, you'd give practically anything to enjoy something as close to a good night's sleep as possible. Most babies eventually find their way into a normal sleep schedule, but some weary parents may choose to step in and help their babes get their faster. If you think your baby could use a little help learning to sleep through the night, you may be wondering when to start sleep training.
Sleep training isn't for everyone, but according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there are safe and effective ways to help your baby get a good night's sleep. According to Baby Center, sleep training is the process of helping your baby learn how to fall asleep on his own and stay asleep. But is there an ideal time to start teaching your baby how to sleep? The experts seem to think so. As Baby Center mentioned, most experts recommend beginning sleep training between 4 and 6 months. Additionally, the Baby Sleep Site noted that many babies experience a fussy period around 4 months, which can make getting them to sleep an impossible task. But once you've made it through this sleep regression, you'll find yourself in the sleep training sweet spot for most babies because they are old enough to sleep for longer stretches of time, but young enough to undo any of their bad sleep habits, as further noted by the Baby Sleep Site. During this window, as Mother Magazine pointed out, babies are also begin to show signs of self-soothing, such as sucking on fingers.
But what happens if you miss this window? The Baby Sleep Site recommended 11 to 16 months as the next best time to try the sleep training process, as they'll experience another sleep regression between 8 and 10 months. So by 11 months, things should be back to "normal."
If you decide that sleep training is right for your family, be sure to work closely with your doctor to determine the safest and most effective methods to use. But don't get rid of your coffee pot just yet, once your baby starts teething, you might find yourself right back at square one.