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The Cheater’s Guide to Baby Sleep Training

I am anti-cheater 99.9% of the time, but when it comes to baby sleep training, that little .1% cheater takes over.

That’s when I throw out the shoulda woulda couldas and wrap myself in a 35-foot roll of cheats like this guy.

I mean, we’re talking sleep here.  Without sleep, we humans quickly degenerate into drooling zombies. So I guess, in this case, my anti-zombie policy is a little stronger than my anti-cheating policy.

My goal here is to help you train your baby to sleep well for you, consistently, and as soon as possible.

It’s a worthy cause.  Does the ends (sleeping peacefully) justify the means (using sample schedules)?

HECK YEAH.

How to Rock Out a Newborn Schedule

A sample schedule and some basic suggestions on how to get started on the right foot.

No, it’s not going to get your newborn sleeping through the night.  (It’s just too early yet.) But it will lay a good foundation towards getting her sleeping through the night a whole lot faster.

How to Get Your 2-3 Month Old On a Schedule

Those weeks between 5-11 weeks are famous for being toughies.

You see, those are usually the weeks your baby stops losing his magic ability to sleep anywhere.  (If not, count yourself lucky!)

The word of the day is habituate. 

Learn what it means, and how it may (without your intervention) destroy your sleeping rhythms.

 

Should You Use a Baby Sleep Consultant? 

It may surprise you that the answer isn’t always YES. For some parents, all you really need are a few suggestions and a plan to implement.

In this article, I’ll go through how to know if you should consider hiring a professional, and how to make sure your investment in said professional isn’t wasted.

 

62 Tricks to Get a Sleeping Baby

Surely, with 62 different things to try, something is going to work.

Yes, I believe one of these things is going to hit gold.

(and don’t call me Shirley…)

But just in case you strike out, it’s best to make sure you’re not accidentally shooting yourself in the foot with…

 

The 7 Worst Baby Sleep Training Mistakes a Parent Can Make

Yes, it is entirely possible that you’re ruining your own best efforts.

Take the nursery, for example.

Cute, yes.  BUT IS IT SLEEP-ABLE?

See the most common baby sleep training mistakes parents make when it comes to trying to get their children to sleep (and how to fix them.)

Why  Your Baby Hates His Crib (& What to Do About It)

Some babies seem to HATE the crib.  I mean H.A.T.E. it.

They will sleep everywhere else, but lay that back down on a flat surface surrounded by wooden slats and their spidee-sense kicks into overdrive, setting of the scream siren.

Your baby has his reasons for this.  Your job is to figure out what they are, and then trick him into thinking he’s not inside the crib.

Fortunately for you, I’m pretty devious and have a few suggestions.

*rubbing hands together in evil glee*

Why You Need to Make Sure Your Baby Sleep Coach is Certified

There are lots of people who sell sleep coaching services for young children.  Like, lots.

But just like you wouldn’t take your baby to a doctor without seeing those special initials at the end of her name, there are few “credentials” you want to see after your sleep coaches name.  Credentials that give you reassurance that you’re in good hands.

Not having a solid education in sleep coaching can cost you a lot more than wasted money, though. It can cost you time, a LOT of tears, and, unless they’re properly trained, they could even miss important medical clues that can help to explain your struggle.  Clues that can’t be fixed without a doctor’s intervention.

Sleeping Beauty’s Top 10 Best Bedtime Books for Babies

Creating a good bedtime routine is one of the easiest baby sleep training tricks you can use. It’s vital in helping your baby understand the difference between “excited happy playtime” and “slower quieter bedtime”.

Science shows that after your baby’s brain starts producing melatonin (the sleepy hormone), at around 4-5 months, having a steady routine is a great way to stimulate the brain in its production.

We surveyed our Facebook friends and asked what their favorite baby bedtime books were. This article is the result of their recommendations. Oh, and all these books are boardbooks, so they are chew-and-tear resistant!

How Mater & McQueen Can Help Your Baby Nap in the Car

After your baby reaches 2-3 months old and his magical habituation sleeping skill disappears, you may find it’s harder for him to fall asleep in his car seat. This is NOT good news when you know it’s a 5-hour trip to Grandma’s house.

This article will go through all the things you can do before and during your road trip, to encourage those little eyelids to finally droop off into Slumberland. Of course, if your little one is still struggling to nap at home, let me recommend this extremely inexpensive course on Nap Training.

 

The Do’s and Don’ts to Help Your Baby Sleep Away From Home

Of course, once you’ve finished your road trip and arrived at your destination, you have a whole new sleeping challenge to overcome: sleeping in a new place.

Some babies won’t even notice. Others, though, who are very sensitive to routines, are going to struggle with the change in scenery. You can vastly improve everyone’s chance of a good night’s rest by avoiding a few “don’ts” and checking off a few “do’s”.

What Your Crying Baby is Trying to Tell You

One of the hardest things for a new parents is understanding why in the %#$!@* the baby is crying. It’s amazing how calm you can be, when you know what in the hellinski is going on.

This article gives you 47 different crying reasons to sift through. After all, if you know WHY she’s crying, you can figure out how to make her calm down.

Of course, you don’t have to wait until your third baby to get the hang of the whole “Soothing” thing. I can teach you some sweet ninja soothing moves!

Like Sleeping? How Crib Bumpers Can Boost Your Snooze

Prepare to be shocked.

I like crib bumpers.  In fact, I recommend them.

Not all bumpers are created equal, though.  In this article I explain how crib bumpers can help your baby sleep better, and the types of bumpers you want to buy, and the ones you’ll want to burn.

New Parent? This Strong 6-Month-Old Baby Schedule Can Really Help

Every month I offer a segment called “Ask Heather”, where I specifically answer a question a reader has sent me.

This article offers a suggested schedule (read SUGGESTED twice, since babies have a mind of their own sometimes and some just don’t like being suggested to) for a 6-9 month old baby.

It can provide a picture of what a daily rhythm could look like for your baby.  (With a downloadable free printable!)

4 Ways to Overcome the Sleep Regression Ruining Your Life {Freebie!}

Sleep regressions are the WORST.  Whether your child is going through a growth spurt, or you’ve just got back from a trip, or he’s getting over a cold, or even Daylight Savings, these tiny adjustments can make your previously-awesome sleep disappear.

Don’t panic. You can fix this. This article shows you how.

Just Keep Baby Sleep Training…

One of my favorite parts in Finding Nemo is when Dory keeps singing that “Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming” song.

I find it philosophically refreshing.  (Yes.  I’m getting emotional encouragement from DORY.)

As long as you “just keep baby sleep training”, eventually you’ll get to the Jet Stream of Dreams.

What if he keeps seeming to miss the dream boat?

Well, let us sit down with you for an hour, learn about your specific baby and parenting style, and then make a few recommendations.  Together, we can go through several sleep strategies and choose the one you feel most comfortable with.  It will get you walking down the right path!

 

 

44 thoughts on “The Cheater’s Guide to Baby Sleep Training

  1. Thank you for such an awesome website! My 8th month old baby girl is sorta sleeping through the night. She dropped night feeds herself at 5 months, but continued to wake a few times between 3 to 5am. For 2 months or so now, she’ll wake 4/5am and fuss and cry in crib until I make it her wakeup time 6:15/6:30am. She naps total 3.5hrs, usually less, in 3 naps (8am, 12pm, 3:30/4pm). Naps range from 45min to 1.5hr. She’s ready for bedtime at 7pm. She has no sleep associations, no medical issues, is put down drowsy but awake, falling asleep 5/10min of being put down. I find her yawning even after a 1.5hr nap, and often is yawning in the morning after feed at 6:30/6:45am (I’m assuming it’s because she’s been up since 4/5am!). I’ve tried to help transition her to two naps but that just made her extra cranky and didn’t change wakeup time any. Is there anything I can do to help her get more restorative sleep at night? I’ve mentioned to her pediatrician but she tells me some babies just wake early and don’t need as much sleep. I’m not convinced. My baby gets at most 9 hrs night sleep before waking 4/5am. Please help me help her!

    1. Ella,

      I agree, I think you are doing a great job reading her “I’m too sleepy” signs.
      To help her with that transition, here’s what I recommend: Try a “dream feed”. Get her up with no extra noise or light 20-30 minutes before she usually wakes up (3:40ish) and give her a feeding. It doesn’t have to be a full feeding, just enough to fill her little tummy so she won’t wake up at 4-5:00. If you can give her the feed while she is sleeping or almost asleep then after a couple days of this you can try dropping it all together. The idea is to help her transition from the 4 wake time by filling her tummy enough to get past it. When she breaks the habit (it usually only takes a couple of days) then she should be able to sleep through. Hope this will do the trick for you!

  2. Hi, I love this site and have found it really helpful with my new daughter! If you have time, could you help me with this question though … my daughter is 8 weeks old and currently falls asleep by herself, with a bit of grizzling, almost every nap. She follows your very helpful pattern, sleeping really well in the morning (often 3 hours or more), but napping poorly after 3 pm. I’m finding she is improving as time goes by; however, by bedtime she is usually beside herself, struggles to feed and needs help getting to sleep. Often she will get herself to sleep but wake anything from 3 to 15 minutes later which is exhausting because I will just fall asleep and she will wake me again. This goes on between 10 and 12 pm when I am desperate for sleep (and I have to get up to sort other children out in the morning so no hope of catching up for me).

    My question is, should I try putting her down earlier? Or should I scrap all routine and let her nap as she wants after 3 pm? (which would probably be three forty minute naps). Or should we just hang in there and wait for her to mature a bit? I want to establish a bedtime routine by 3 months but it’s just not possible at the moment because she is so tired by bedtime.

    1. Hannah,

      If I am understanding what you have written, I agree, she does sound like she needs to go down sooner, like she is getting over tired. However, she is still so young that I would do whatever gives her the most opportunity to sleep. Another way to say it is that you want to avoid the “too tired to sleep” downward spiral. I’m sure you know this since you have other children.
      I guess, to be clear, I would try not to worry too much about a sleep routine yet, only enough so that she gets the sleep she needs, not thinking that you will be stuck with whatever you try to set right now. When she gets through the 4 month milestones then she will have the skills to self soothe and you will be able to work along with that to help her get into a more solid routine (until teething starts, right?!)

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