As parents, we always want sleep coaching to go as well as possible, right from the start. That’s why we tailor our sleep training methods to fit our babies’ ages, why we carefully select sleep training methods that fit our parenting styles and our babies’ temperaments, why we don’t sleep train during big transitions (like moving) or illnesses, and why we prepare for sleep coaching before we start.
One of the ways to ensure that sleep coaching goes as smoothly as possible is to do it during a window of time in which it will be easier. That’s right — there are times during your baby’s growth and development when she is better prepared for sleep training (and, conversely, times when sleep training may be bit harder).
What are these ‘ideal sleep coaching windows’? We’re glad you asked!
Your Baby’s Ideal Sleep Coaching Windows
You can sleep train your baby (or toddler!) any time, of course. But it may be a bit easier if you do it during one of these windows:
The 4-7 month window
This the best time to start for many families (although not all). Why? Because at this point, your baby is past the 4 month sleep regression, so she’s starting to develop more “adult” sleep patterns. Your baby is also much less mobile at this stage than she’ll be in a few more months, and that lack of mobility makes sleep training a bit easier. Finally, because your baby is still quite young at this point, any sleep associations she may have formed won’t have had time to turn into strong habits. That means they’ll be easier to change. For babies younger than this, our e-book, Essential Keys To Your Newborn’s Sleep outlines newborn-friendly sleep coaching strategies for your newborn, including sample sleep-inducing routines. We also offer special newborn-focused Personalized Sleep Plans™ that are crafted to guide your baby to better sleep in a gentle, safe way.
The 11-16 month window
This isn’t as ideal a time to sleep coach as the 4-7 month window, but if you skip that one, this is the next one to try. Why? Because you’re baby is past the sleep regression that happens at 8/9/10 months, and her sleep patterns should be back to normal. (Although if your baby has never been a great sleeper, her “normal” sleep patterns may be fairly crazy!) Remember, it’s best to sleep coach when things are as normal as possible, so waiting until a sleep regression has passed can be a good idea.
Less Ideal Times For Sleep Coaching
In general, it’s best to avoid sleep training during a sleep regression. And, if possible, try to sleep coach before your little one is 18 months old; after 18 months, your toddler’s growing sense of independence and willfullness might make sleep training tougher.
But be careful: don’t let this information paralyze you, or make you put off or give up on sleep training! While sleep training may go a little more smoothly if you do it during one of these two windows, you can sleep train any time. Here’s Nicole’s reminder:
“Although there are more ‘ideal’ times to sleep train than others such as before your baby can pull up and stand at the side of the crib, if you and your family are ready to make big changes, I wouldn’t wait just because of your baby or toddler’s age. Every baby is different and you know your baby best. It may take a bit more time and patience, but it can work! There is always a reason to put off making positive changes in your life whether it’s delaying a diet, because the holidays are near or work is too busy or you put off budgeting because you have too many bills, you can always find a reason to avoid the hard work that sleep training sometimes entails. The first step is the hardest, but I find families are happily surprised when their child adapts to the new routines faster than they anticipated. Carpe Diem! (Seize the Day!)”
Need sleep coaching help? Look no further!
Selecting the best sleep training window is all well and good – but you may still need help in the actual sleep training process. Well, look no further – we happen to specialize in that! We have a team of caring, compassionate expert consultants standing by, waiting to create a Personalized Sleep Plan™ for your family.
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!
We’ve shared our sleep training tips – now share yours! Questions about sleep training? Ask in the comments section below.
For 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.
Or, join our Members Area 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!