When a baby is born there are no regulated sleep schedules, routines and cycles whatsoever in place. Newborn babies sleep most of the time, both day and night, and aren’t concerned at all about bedtime. However, it is very important that sleep habits are implemented as they grow up so they are able to get all the hours of rest they need for their development, and additionally providing them in the long term with the tools they need to sleep autonomously.
Beyond “training” per se, sleep training is a process that teaches a child to sleep and we prefer to refer to it as “teaching a baby to sleep”. In other words, sleep training could be defined as a process to help a baby or child acquire the ability to sleep independently and manage sleep cycles autonomously.
Why is baby sleep training important?
Some babies fall asleep easily and quickly. However, many others find it hard to fall asleep or go back to sleep after waking up at night. If you think about it, we adults also wake up every so often at night, but the difference is that while we know how to link sleep cycles and go back to sleep on our own, a baby doesn’t. In order for our babies to learn to be autonomous, it is important that we help them from birth to tell between day and night and thus gradually adjust their sleep routines.
Why do babies find it hard to sleep through the night?
While it is normal for babies not to sleep through the night during their first months, one of the main reasons why older babies are unable to fall asleep or wake up several times is the need for negative aids developed during the first months of their lives.
Sleep can be aided by any object, activity or person on which or whom the baby has come to be directly reliant to fall asleep. Generally, babies learn to fall asleep using a given method through which they create their own habits. Eventually, those habits no longer work for them and that is when they no longer get healthy rest.
Sleep-training your little one involves identifying aids implemented almost unconsciously and gradually replacing them with positive aids or actions your little one can control without any outside help.
At what age should sleep training begin?
Baby sleep training should advisably begin when babies are 4 to 6 months old. Babies normally begin to develop a regular sleep-wake cycle at this age. Additionally, if their weight is right, they should gradually stop night feeds to start sleeping through the night.