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When Should You Start Sleep Training a Baby: When, How, and Why

One of the questions that new parents are asked frequently is: “Is your baby sleeping through yet?” This causes much frustration and misery, as parents feel they are doing things wrong if their baby is not sleeping through the night by a certain age.

There are many reasons why babies don’t sleep through even the first year of their lives, and a lot of it has to do with their bedtime routine, their tiny bodies, sleep regression, and good sleep habits. Sleep training, while controversial, can help you settle your baby into a good sleep routine, allowing them to get the right amount of sleep for their age and developmental needs. Keep reading to find out more information!

Sleep Training: Controversial or Necessary

Many sleep training methods are debated by “child experts,” including some that have caused much controversy and debate among parents over the years, with the most controversial being the Ferber method. This involves letting your baby learn to self-soothe by using the cry-it-out method. 

Many psychologists and doctors have spoken up about this practice, calling it abusive and that it can cause long-term neurological damage in your child in later years. Another popular method is co-sleeping. This, too, has parents divided, with some saying that co-sleeping is not safe and causes dependency issues and that you should put baby to bed in their own bed to foster healthy sleep habits.

The truth is that an exhausted and sleep-deprived parent would be willing to try just about anything to get their child to sleep better. Sleep deprivation can lead to several physical and mental health issues and often worsens the effects of postpartum depression. But the question remains: Is sleep training as controversial as it seems? And are there any sleep training methods that work and are not as harmful to your children?

When to Start your Sleep Training journey

According to popular parenting hub Babycenter, the Cleveland Clinic, and Whattoexpect.com, your baby is old enough to start self-soothing between four to six months. This is also the perfect time to start a sleep training program or routine. Babies usually do not require night feedings and can sleep for longer periods without waking up due to hunger. 

Children need varied amounts of sleep according to their age, and a four-month-old baby should be getting between 12 to 15 hours of sleep a night. Let’s look at the recommended sleeping hours for the various age groups:

  • One to 10 months of age: Between 12 to 15 hours per night.
  • 10 to 15 months of age: Between 12 to 14 hours per night.
  • 15 months to three years of age: 12 to 14 hours per night.
  • Three to six years of age: 11 to 13 hours per night.
  • Seven to 12 years of age: 10 to 11 hours per night.

It is important to note that these guidelines exclude naps and the appropriate “awake” time during the day. 

Diving more into baby sleep patterns in the first few months of life, a common occurrence is confusion about the difference between night and day. This can cause the baby to sleep longer during the day and be awake more at night. Sleep associations are important and can prepare the baby for sleep. Following sleep cues is also essential and can prevent you from trying to put an overtired baby to bed. 

A gentle approach to sleep training is key to preparing yourself and your child for sleep time and can certainly help with the sleep training process. A routine is good for emotional health and helps exhausted parents cope with the day’s stresses with a fussy baby better. For some, sleep training is the best approach for an improved quality of life for the whole family. Remember to create a safe sleeping environment for your baby and ensure their comfort levels are at their peak. 

Mother putting her baby to sleep on a bedside baby crib

The Baby Sleep Miracle Program

Research has led us to a fairly new, exciting sleep training program that does not use cry-it-out or co-sleeping methods that divide parents. Developed by well-renowned child psychologist Mary-Ann Schuler, the Baby Sleep Miracle Program has been featured in the popular Parenting Magazine. Using her 20 years of experience in child psychology, Schuler developed this gentle sleep training method to help parents across the globe get their babies and children to sleep. 

Her methods are quite different from what you would expect from a sleep training program and focus more on the routine side of things. Setting a consistent bedtime routine is essential for good sleep habits, and Schuler uses three easy steps that guarantee better sleep for the whole household. 

Step #1: Laughter

At the end of a long day, laughter is a great way to release the day’s tension, leaving everyone happy and carefree without any stresses that could manifest as nightmares or night terrors. There are various games Schuler recommends that will guarantee loads of laughs. 

Step #2: Proper bedtime

While many believe that keeping a child up later will result in them sleeping in later, this cannot be further from the truth. Just as you would gauge the amount of sleep a child needs at their specific age, the time they go to bed is important too. Children that have an early bedtime, before 7 pm, are more likely to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep. 

Step #3: Background noise

Putting a baby to sleep in absolute silence is counter-productive and leads to them waking up at every little sound around them. You can play various sounds, like white noise or soothing music, that can aid your little ones’ sleep habits. 

For more on the Schulers program, please click here to read more on the Baby Sleep Miracle Program. 

The Bottom Line on Sleep Training

While we all wish for a baby that sleeps well, eats well, and is generally happy, you are in for a rollercoaster of a ride once that little bundle arrives. Prepare yourself for unsolicited advice that worked for Aunt Karen 60 years ago and input from absolutely everyone on what you should and shouldn’t be doing. 

Some swear by the Ferber method or Ferberization, while others are dead set against it. A common mistake new parents make is saying, “I would never…” because when we are desperate for sleep while rocking a babe to sleep for the 20th time that night, we are willing to try absolutely anything and everything. 

The Baby Sleep Miracle Program is different from other sleep training programs and is more of a routine-based plan. With no harmful practices that will affect your darling angel in their teen years, the program has had success for over 17,000 families in America alone. 

If you are desperate for a method that works, there is no harm in giving this program a try. You have absolutely nothing to lose with the Baby Sleep Miracle Program and only your peace and sanity to gain. Baby sleep training need not be a fight or a crying session that stresses you out. There are gentle methods that work, and the Baby Sleep Miracle Program has been hailed as one of the best for tired parents to try.  


Sleep training has and always will be a controversial matter that divides parents. While some parents opt for sleep training, others are dead-set against it and see it as a form of abuse. Sleep training is a personal choice and comes down to you and your family’s needs. If you have tried all the sleep training methods available, giving one more chance won’t hurt.

The Baby Sleep Miracle program guarantees results. What could be better than a well-rested mama and her happy baby? Remember that it might take a couple of nights for any new training schedule to work, but once you and your baby have a good routine, you can sleep tight and kiss those sleepless nights goodbye for good. 

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