If you’re planning to start sleep training, you might ask yourself, “When is the right time to get started?” We all know teaching your child how to sleep will take time and effort. You must have the right mindset and be ready for a few challenging nights before your efforts start paying off.
Is it the day they turn four months old? What if she’s feeling sick? What if she has a tooth coming in? Or is it better to wait a few more weeks? There are many valid reasons to delay sleep training, but sometimes parents will find any excuse to postpone it. However, the longer you wait to start, the harder it might take for your child to learn how to sleep.
Here are a few guidelines that can help you determine the best time to start sleep training your child:
1. There is no perfect time to start.
People avoid change as much as possible, even if it’s a normal part of life. Don’t wait for the “perfect” time to start your sleep plan because there is none. It’s like going to the doctor or dentist for a regular check-up. No one is really looking forward to going, but you still have to go anyway.
Similar to sleep training, no one wants to do it. Despite this, you should still do it if you want you and your baby to stop waking up every so often and start sleeping through the night. Talk to a sleep consultant if you’re ready to start your sleep training journey. A consultant can help you figure out the best time to start.
2. Don’t start if you are about to go on a trip.
To start a sleep plan, you should have a full two weeks straight home to dedicate to making the plan work for you. If you have to leave or go on a trip during these two weeks, it’s better to wait to start sleep training.
For example, you start sleep training and begin seeing significant improvements by day four. However, you realize that you have a family trip planned that’s leaving on day 7. You’ll have to stop sleep training and start from scratch when you get back home.
So, if you have a trip lined up soon, don’t bother starting yet. Wait until you get back from your vacation.
3. Don’t start if your baby is sick.
If your baby has the sniffles but isn’t bothered by her cold, you can start the sleep training process. A slight cold will not affect the process.
However, if your child is listless and has a fever, we suggest you put sleep training off for a few more weeks until she’s feeling better. She might be congested, making her wake up multiple times at night. This is not a good time to start.
4. Don’t start if she’s in the middle of a developmental milestone.
For example, your baby is in the middle of learning how to roll over. He tries to do it several times and gets frustrated when he doesn’t. He’s probably feeling frustrated, and it will be harder for him to adjust to another change in his life. Make sure he is not in any other life change when you decide to start with sleep training.
In short, there’s no best time to start sleep training, but there are times that are better than others. Watch your baby and take your cue from them. If you need extra support, consult a certified sleep consultant to help you on this journey. Good luck!