How do I know if my baby (5 months) is ready to be sleep trained?

I’m a first time mom and I think my baby is ready to be sleep trained, but how can I be sure? I don’t want to do it before he’s really ready.

Hi,

My name is Johanna and I am a certified sleep consultant and owner of Sleep Soundly Consulting. Your baby is at the perfect age to start implementing sleep routines and creating positive sleep habits! Let me know if you have specific questions! Happy to answer.

Thank you so much for responding! Are there any signs I should be looking for? He’s still waking up once a night, sometimes twice but he never finishes his bottle, so I don’t get the sense he’s starving in the middle of the night. Does that mean he’s just waking up because he’s used to it?

Babies at this age often still wake at night to eat. If he is eating most of all of his bottle, he is truly hungry, in which case you should feed him and put him right back down, drowsy but awake. If you feel that he is drinking less than 1-2 ounces for the bottle or falling asleep as soon as you offer the bottle, he might just being sucking for comfort. This is when you would start to think about eliminating an overnight bottle. You should always check with your pediatrician before you stop feeding at night. Babies who still wake to eat, for true hunger, do sometimes wake at other times in the night.

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@SleepSoundly this is so helpful, thank you! I really do want to get my 6 month old on a better schedule and to sleep soundly at night, but I really don’t want to let her cry. Is it possible to get a baby on a good sleep schedule without the tears?

Thank you! I’ll check in with my pediatrician :blush:

Hi
There are lots of ways to help children develop positive sleep habits. Ultimately, the goal is for your child to learn to self-soothe in a safe way. Learning any new skill takes time, practice and consistency. It is like learning to walk or crawl…they have to fall down a lot before they can really do it on their own. There are usually some tears when a child is learning to self-soothe because the child is overtired and annoyed with you for changing how you handle the waking. Babies at that age do not have ways to express themselves, so their exhaustion and frustration comes out with tears. That being said, there are many different methods you can use to help a child, and some that allow for more parental involvement with the the onset of sleep. These methods allow you to have more contact with your baby as she learns to self-soothe. This can feel more comfortable for parents.

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