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Sleep training


  • Sleep training could be started as early as newborn period.
  • Sleep training is a big task in some family and differ individually in family and cultural.
  • Don’t be rush and put too much expectation. Beware of your emotion. If you feel fatigue and angry, let the others take caring your child.

Sleep Training

What is sleep training?

Sleep training is the way, helping a baby learn to get to sleep and stay asleep through the night. Some babies develop a regular sleep routine quickly and easily. But many others have trouble settling down to sleep or getting back to sleep when they’ve been wakened.

There are many factors that affect baby’s sleep pattern such as baby’s medical condition, temperament, individual variations in circadian preference, parenting and physical environment. Sleep problems are common and variety from age to age. Sleep training is recommended and has to adapt individually by time.


When is the best time to start sleep training your baby?

Sleep training could be started as early as newborn period. Babies adapt themselves better with regular schedule in term of eating (hunger) and sleeping pattern. Sleep training also regulates hormonal cycling and make consistent internal biological clock, leading to better way nurturing your child.


What are the stages of sleep training?

Newborns sleep approximately 16-20 hours per day. In 1 -4 hour sleep periods, followed by 1-2 hour awake periods. Sleep- awake cycles are largely dependent upon hunger and satiety. Sleep amounts during the day approximately equal the amount of night time sleeping.

At this age, set regular time of eating and sleeping. The main reason of newborns crying out at night is hunger, feeding them as they want to. Regular sleep- wake cycle will help you manage your time to rest and perform other activities.

36 months infants generally sleep a total of about around 13-15 hours. Day/ night differentiation develops between 2-3 months old and nocturnal sleep periods become increasingly longer. Sleep periods extend to 6-8 hours at 4-6 months old.

Day/ night differentiation is the key. Sleep environment must be set differently day and night. Sunlight exposure is necessary during the day. Night time feeding should be set approximately 2-3 times and must be quiet and a soothing time to help the child falling back to sleep.

6 months1 year infants sleep longer in the night time. 70-80 % of 9 months old infants sleep through the night. Most infants nap between 2-4 hours divided as 2 naps per day.

Bed time resistant and sleep onset association problems are common in this age group. Regular bedtime and bedtime routine are important techniques helping the child to sleep. This is the best time for the child to learn who to soothe herself to sleep. Make sure that she doesn’t sleep too long or too late in the afternoon. Daytime nap shouldn’t later than 3-4 pm.

Toddlers sleep about 12 hours per day. Most of toddlers generally nap 1.5- 3.5 hours and give up a second nap by the age 18 months old.

Wakening up during the night from separation anxiety, nightmares and night terrors happen often within this age group. Transitional object as a lovey is a good technique to solve this problem.


When does a mother get her rest?         

Sleeplessness happens to all new mothers since the baby was born. It’s true that enough sleep and rest will effect mother’s emotion and quality of nurturing. So, sleep training will be the solution of better sleep for mother and the baby.

The best way to get enough rest is setting your biological clock like your babies. Sleeping and waking at the same time as your baby, you will get rest at that period. Regular sleep routine could predict sleep-wake pattern of your baby and you can manage your time to rest. Assistants are important for newly mother. Father, grandfather-mother or nanny should support and take caring the baby when you feel tried.


What are some help sleep techniques to get baby to sleep through night?

When night waking continues to be a problem, the following suggestions might be the technique teaching babies how to get back to sleep by themselves.


Tips and Tricks helping your child sleep through the night.

  1. Be sure you and your spouse both agree on the techniques. The child will sense your ambivalence.
  2. For most babies more than1 year old, naptimes should be started early by 1.00 pm and last only 1-2 hours at most.  Any rest or nap after 4.00pm will certainly break up the cycle of activity and diminish the need for continuous and deep sleep during the night.
  3. Stick to the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.
  4. Making your bedroom as a Sleep-inducing Environment such as quite dark, quiet and no television.
  5. Bedtime routine such as telling a bedtime story, reading a book, chat, rhyming or sing a lullaby song with soft soothing melody. Relaxing and nurturing routine at a bedtime, will prepare a child to have deep sleep through the night. By the way, television is not the good bedtime routine.
  6. Let the child to get to sleep when you put her down at night. Don’t put her to sleep in your arms or at the breast. Help her quiet down but then put her crib and sit by her to help her learn her own pattern. Give her a lovey. Pat her down soothingly.
  7. Reinforce a particular lovey- a blanket, an animal, or a doll- as part of her self-comforting routine. Do not allow the child the child to sleep with a bottle of milk in her mouth. This contributes to serious tooth decay. Many toys in bed are in no way as good as a single beloved one.
  8. At first, expect a child to rouse and cry out every 3-4 hours; respond her at these times with as little stimulating intervention as you can. If you have been taking her out of bed to rock her, don’t. Soothe and stroke her with your hand in bed. She must learn to get herself back to sleep.


Dos and Donts when it comes to sleep training?

Sleep training is a big task in some family and differ individually in family and cultural. By the way, there are some points that may have to remind you.


  1. Understanding age-stages sleep pattern and common sleep problems in each age.
  2. Manage your time to get enough sleep and relaxation. Sleep deprivation and drowsiness effect quality of child rearing.
  3. Each of step and technique should be taken singly and slowly over time.


  1. Don’t be rush and put too much expectation.
  2. Putting Bottle milk in to the child’s mouth until sleep cause serious tooth decay.
  3. Taking the child out of bed to rock during night time waking, they won’t learn to sooth themselves to sleep.
  4. Beware of your emotion. If you feel fatigue and angry, let the others take caring your child.


Adequate sleep increase the child’s ability to learn during the daytime and causes positive mood. So, sleep training is important and should be emphasized to all caregivers. By the way, bear in mind that sleep training are depend on the individual situation, family cultural and particularly on the child herself.

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Kakanang Jantarapagdee, M.D. Summary: Pediatrics Developmental And Behavioral Pediatrics