How To Sleep Train Your Baby Before Christmas

Sleep Train By Christmas
Christmas is right around the corner, dear readers! Of course, you probably already knew that 😉 I’ll bet your local big-box stores have had their Christmas displays out for a few weeks now, right? Mine have. It seems like the Christmas season is getting earlier and earlier these days; before we know it, we’ll be seeing Christmas ads in September!

Anyway, speaking of the Christmas season, while all of us no doubt have plenty of work to do between now and Christmas (what with the baking and the decorating and the shopping), we know some of you want to utilize the next few weeks to add another task to your holiday to-do-list: sleep training! Every year, we have a number of families contact our Sleep Helpdesk in early December, eager to get started on sleep training now so that they can have sleeping babies by Christmas. (Because the holidays are so much nicer when you aren’t an exhausted, bleary-eyed, zombie, aren’t they? 😉 )

And that’s what we’re talking about in today’s article. Is sleep training between now and Christmas break right idea for your family? And, if so – how should you go about doing it? Read on for details!

Should You Sleep Train Your Baby or Toddler Before the Holidays?

Before we get into the ‘hows’ of sleep training, let’s first take a look at whether or not this is a good plan for your family or not, given the realities of what your particular December will look like.

Sleep training before the holidays may be a good idea if…

  • …you can fit it into your schedule. Sleep training does require some work (on your part and on your baby’s), so if the next few weeks are jam-packed for you, consider waiting until your schedule is lighter
  • …you will be home for the next few weeks, and will not be doing much traveling. Sleep training goes best when you can do it during a time when you have at least a week (preferably 2) of consistent, normal days at home. Of course, if you start right now, you’ll have three weeks – plenty of time! :)
  • …you don’t have out-of-town visitors coming to stay between now and Christmas (or, if you do have overnight visitors, they are visitors who will accept your sleep training plans and will not criticize, hinder, or discourage you.)

Sleep training before the holidays may not be a good idea if…

  • …you know you will be too busy to devote your full energy and attention to it.
  • …you will be doing a lot of traveling (especially a lot of overnight traveling), or you have lots of holiday plans that will keep you away from home and will mean many ‘unusual’, inconsistent days.
  • …you have friends or family visiting who will not be supportive of your decision to sleep train.

How To Sleep Train Your Baby Before the Holidays

Now, as for how to work on sleep training your baby or toddler over the break: here are two options for you to explore.

If you want help with sleep training, then contact us!

We offer a fast turn-around on all of our sleep consultation packages – clients usually receive their Personalized Sleep Plan™ within 4 days of sending us their family sleep history forms. That means that if you were to purchase a consultation package within the next week, you would have your Personalized Sleep Plan™ in plenty of time to start sleep training now, and possibly have a well-rested, sleeping baby by Christmas. Just don’t wait too long to contact us; our HelpDesk will be closed for a few days during the week of Christmas (see our holiday hours here).

If you want to handle sleep training on your own, then you may want to do the following…

  • Work to establish a consistent daytime routine. This means a consistent morning wake-up time and a consistent bedtime. It also means fairly consistent nap and feeding times. Need help figuring out your ideal schedule? Check out our sample sleep and feeding schedules.
  • Decide whether you’re going to work on sleep training for naps first, or sleep training for nights, or both. You can separate out nights and naps, and just pick one to tackle at the start. That can make the process easier on everyone (particularly if you feel anxious about sleep training, or if you have a slow-to-adapt baby who is resistant to change). For more info about nap training vs. night training, read this article. For info about how nap sleep differs from night sleep, read through this article.
  • Decide on how you’re going to approach sleep training. There are lots of ways to sleep train your baby or toddler. And that’s a good thing – it allows you to choose a method that’s suited to your baby and your unique family situation and parenting preferences. Need helping selecting the best method for your family? To see a cheat sheet with 5 of the most common methods explained, click here. For a more thorough explanation of how to sleep train, check out our free guide, 5 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, or our even more comprehensive e-book The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5 Step System To Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers).

Nicole’s Note:
“In my experience, the most important step is often the hardest and that’s taking the first step in the first place. We have two weeks before Christmas and many babies will be sleeping MUCH better by then, if you start today!”

A Few Reminders For Families Who Will Sleep Train Before Christmas

A few parting words, before we wrap up this article. First, if you’ll be sleep training in the next few weeks, remember that consistency is key. Stick with your sleep training plan for at least a week before making any changes to it. It may take a week or more for some babies to show any improvement, and toddlers may take even longer (2 or 3 weeks, perhaps). With this in mind, don’t expect lightning-fast results. You may be able to solve all your child’s sleep issues in the course of the next few weeks, but that will not be the case for every family. What you can definitely do, though, is to get a good start on sleep training, and then carry your efforts over into the new year.

Prep For Holiday Sleep Challenges With The Baby Sleep Site®

Sleep challenges do NOT have to make your holidays less merry – we can help! Let us create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for you, which will outline exactly how you can preserve your little one’s sleep during your holiday travels. We’ll tell you exactly how to manage naps and bedtime, how to deal with schedule disruptions, and what to do when holiday fun starts to mess with your little one’s usual sleep patterns.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Are you planning to prep for the holidays by working on sleep? If so, share your plans with us! Have tips for other parents? We love hearing those, too – share below!

bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.


  1. Molly says

    Our favorite holiday tradition is having hot cider or hot chocolate and watching movies while our oldest is on school break! She is in 1st grade and we miss the years when she wasn’t in school and our nights were always free! :)

  2. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Molly — uh oh…did you mean to post this as a comment to our 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway post? I’m guessing you did…why don’t you visit that article and re-post this comment? You can find it here:

    Sounds like a fun holiday tradition! This is something we do in our house, too. And my oldest is a 1st grader, too – amazing how much busier things get to be when they’re in school, isn’t it? :)

  3. Boop says

    We have just completed night 4 of night weaning.
    My son is going to be 1 in a couple of weeks & I finally decided that things have to change! I’ve tried various things in the past but nothing really worked out.
    Sometimes he will wake hourly wanting a few seconds on the breast for comfort, other nights it can be far more frequently. If I withhold & try shushing, patting or stroking he will kick & fight until he gets what he wants. He is a’high need’ baby & has always had real trouble sleeping & staying asleep. It also takes a lot of effort to try & relax him, the breast really did seem like the only way. Since he is this little person I found that an ‘attachment parenting’ approach would work well so I partially co-sleep but I have finally reached my limit! I’m such a light sleeper anyway, but coupled with my son’s wriggling & constant comfort feeding I was heading for a total, sleep deprived meltdown.
    So the night weaning has worked & he’s got the message. (The build up to this I’ve been removing my nipple from his mouth just before he drifts off to sleep to ease the transition). He’s still waking as frequently, but usually if I hold him for a few minutes he goes back off to sleep fairly quickly, i try to lower him back into his cot before he falls asleep completely but this gets trickier as the night progresses. Picking him up isn’t the ideal scenario but he gets extremely upset if I don’t.
    The big problem occurs at around 3.30am when he finds it virtually impossible to fall back to sleep & stay asleep once lowered back in his cot. After a couple of hours of trying I have been giving up & feeding him (approx 5.30am) & having him back in my bed. If I / we don’t get some sleep at this point I couldn’t function!
    Following several bereavements during my pregnancy last year I think that I have been extremely protective of both mine & my son’s anxiety levels, trying to protect us from any stress. That, coupled with my son being very active & being too distracted to feed during the day. Plus not having the most impressive weight gain during infancy has made night feeding / dream feeding & nap feeding essential. Unfortunately this has created problems of its own.
    In addition to this, my son won’t nap for longer than 25 mins if I’m not holding him, whereas if I hold him & snacks on & off my breast he can sleep for a couple hours, sometimes more. I’m worried that if I don’t hold him he won’t get enough sleep & a downward spiral will follow (can it get any worse??)
    I’m currently a stay at home mum but will be heading back to work in the near future. I don’t have any family or friends around to support us through this. Funds are not currently available for child care & not even his father can settle him, so it’s all on me!
    I’d love to be getting a bit more sleep by Christmas which is why I’ve made a start on this now. Do you have any tips? I really don’t want to lose momentum…

  4. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Boop — sounds like you have a lot to handle here! First, let me say that you sound like a wonderful mom. The fact that you’re thinking through your son’s sleep, and trying to take steps to break those sleep associations that are causing lost sleep for both of you, is a great thing! So a big pat on the back to you, for taking the first steps towards sleep coaching.

    As for HOW to manage this – it sounds like you’ve done a lot of work on your own, and that you’ve made some good strides. But as you mention, you’re feeling like you’ve reached the limit of what you can do on your own at this point. However, you don’t want to lose your momentum (which is awesome!) and want to keep up the progress you’ve made thus far.

    Have you considered, up to this point, trying one of our sleep consultation packages? Honestly, that might be a perfect solution for you. I will say that trying to night wean a toddler, and trying to wean from co-sleeping, are both challenging elements by themselves; trying to do them together is really, really hard! So having some personalized, professional help may be just the ticket for you :)

    Here’s our services page, if you’re interested in this: If you have any questions about these packages, you can feel free to e-mail them to me at emily (at) babysleepsite (dot) com.

    Thanks for reaching out; hope this feedback helps! And don’t hesitate to contact me if you have follow-up questions, or need more guidance. :)

  5. Boop says

    Unfortunately I can’t afford to pay for any services right now. I was hoping that you might have shared some advice…
    I’m going to keep going with what I’m doing & hope that things will keep improving.

  6. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Boop – I understand. Have you taken advantage of any of our free resources yet? Like our free 5 Ways guide? (Find it here: We also have a ton of blog articles on the topic of sleep training. At the top menu bar, click on ‘Articles’, then on ‘By Category’ and scroll down to sleep training. There’s a wealth of info there, and some of it is bound to help!

    Hope these resources will prove helpful to you. Hang in there – you can do it! :)

  7. Diane says

    Hi! I am working on sleep training my 6 month old daughter. It is going fairly well however she consistently seems to wake up about an hour after i put her to bed at night. Any idea why??? She will sleep from 7 til 7 (with 2 feedings) and then an hour or 2 morning nap and a shorter afternoon nap. I am just confused why she is waking and crying when she wakes! ugh!!

  8. Katelyn says

    My goal is to improve my daughters sleep by Christmas!! She is 14 weeks old. I have night weaned her down to 1 feeding per night, but she is still waking multiple times. Although she wakes multiple times I only feed her once. By 4:30/5 I’m exhausted and she ends up in bed with me until my older daughter wakes up. I’m now moving on to “operation: no more sleeping with mommy”. I’ve been leinant on this because we just moved her to her crib 3 weeks ago, but I’m SO TIRED! Good luck to all who are sleep training this holiday season!

  9. Anne says

    Is it too late at this point? We’re traveling starting the 24th. Ugh things have gotten out of control and I fear we’re stuck now until early January when we get back home. :(

  10. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Katelyn – thanks for checking in and posting about your progress! How’s it going now, that you’re a few weeks in? Have you reached any of your goals?

    Thanks again for commenting!

  11. Emily DeJeu says

    @ Anne – Well, I’m a little late getting to this comment, but I’d say yes, probably wait until you’re home. You want at least 2 or 3 “normal” weeks when you’re sleep training. But once you’re back, you can pretty much start in – maybe give your kiddo a day or two to adjust to the usual schedule again, and then you can get started!!

    Thanks for commenting, Anne – and safe holiday travels to you!