Top 5 baby sleep-training methods

Need bub to sleep through the night? One of these methods might just do the trick!


A sleep-deprived baby is no laughing matter, as the crankiness won’t just affect their behaviour but their appetite, too. And it doesn’t help that tempers flare much easier when both parents and baby are operating on a lack of sleep.  

The good news is that most babies should start developing a regular sleep-wake cycle by 4 to 6 months. But some just can’t seem to go down easily and might need a bit of help. If you decide to go down the sleep-training route, keep the following in mind first:

*Have a good bedtime routine. Jennifer Lim, 35 and mother to Liam, aged 2½, shares that this was vital in determining the success of their attempts at sleep training. “Babies thrive on knowing what happens next, so by doing the same thing every day our son got the signal that bedtime was approaching and he mentally prepares for it,” she says. Bedtime routines don’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as showering your child, followed by a book and then a song before putting her to bed. It’s critical you stick to the order of events, every day.

*Be diligent with bedtime. Aim to always put your baby to sleep at the same time every night. An ideal bedtime for little ones is 7pm. In time to come you will notice that your child will start feeling sleepy at around the same time every night. Same goes for baby’s daytime naps too.

 *Talk to the doc. Besides helping you rule out any underlying health issues that could be causing your child to have sleepless nights, they can give your professional advice on the suitability of a chosen method. Lim says that since she knew sleep training was controversial and wanted to do it right, she decided to consult with a sleep specialist.

*Pick a method that best suits your baby’s needs and stick to it. Some babies are more sensitive and thus more “high-need” than others. For these children, crying it out methods may not be as suitable. Picking a method that’s better suited to your child ensures the journey to success is as pain-free as possible.

*Be a responsive and responsible parent. While consistency holds the key to success, it does not mean that you have to “bite the bullet” and hold out to the bitter end. If your infant is wailing at the top of his lungs or throwing up, it may be time to rethink your chosen method. Maybe even take a break for a few months and try when bub is a bit older.  

“Babies thrive on knowing what happens next, so by doing the same thing every day our son got the signal that bedtime was approaching and he mentally prepares for it.”

Here are the top five sleep-training methods:


1) Cry It Out

BY Dr Richard Ferber, paediatrician, author of Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems
WHAT This method is aimed at training your little one to self-soothe and fall asleep independently. Dr Ferber advises parents to give this technique a try once they find that their baby is physically or emotionally ready — usually between 3 and 5 months of age. However, some critics claim that leaving your baby to self-soothe independently can prove to be detrimental for his emotional wellbeing.
HOW-TO After baby’s usual bedtime routine, you place her down in the crib awake. Then, leave her to fall to sleep on her own, going to check on her only after a predetermined amount of time. The time baby is left on her own is progressively extended as you repeat the process daily. Don’t leave your child to cry for extended periods of time without intervening. In fact all throughout the training process, you are allowed to pat and comfort bub during your visits in, but refrain from picking her up or feeding her. This training programme is aimed at helping baby learn that crying doesn’t get her anything more than a quick check from you. Thus, in time to come, she’ll stop.

Three more sleep training methods coming right up…