Rested Mamas Are Happy Mamas: When Can You Start Sleep Training?
When you bring home that beautiful newborn, you're in love. Then night comes around, and for some mamas, fear strikes their hearts. Why? Because they know that this means they just gave up a solid eight hours of sleep for a long while.
That being said, as a new mom, you may want to start sleep training right away. And I'm here with you mamas--start! Start from the day that baby is born. But before I get too far into the whys and whats of my thoughts as a sleep expert, let me explain that you will hear a wide variety of opinions on when to start sleep training from a lot of sources, some may even appear to be extremely legit. For instance, Baby Center says, "Most experts recommend starting when your baby is between 4 and 6 months old...Of course, every baby is different: some may not be ready for sleep training until they're a bit older. Some babies sleep seven hours or longer at an early age, while others won't until much later. If you're not sure whether your baby is ready for sleep training, ask his doctor."
So how do you know what to do? YOU ARE THE MOM! You always know what to do for your baby. I promise. But if you're looking for a better answer than that, especially among all of the opinions you'll find on Google, then I want you to think about the sentence you read above: "Of course, every baby is different." There is not one blanket statement for what every baby needs, but there are lots of things you can do to help your baby be a great sleeper.
Between my oldest daughter and my twin girls, all of them have slept through the night since they were 7 weeks old. I attribute this completely to the fact that I started a flexible schedule with them. Learning how to use a schedule for a baby came from the fact that my oldest ended up in the NICU for a week, and they put her on a schedule right away. After that happened, I read a few books that talked about sleep, and then I combined two of my favorite books to create a philosophy I used to get my babies to sleep through the night.
With my first, at about six weeks postpartum, I turned to my husband and told him, "I just want 8 hours of sleep. Just one time. Please.” The books I had read said babies would sleep through the night between 7 and 10 weeks. And, thankfully, they were right. I finally got to sleep a whole night. (Unfortunately my engorged breasts then woke me up.) But my training started the day they were born, and all because of the NICU.
So, do I personally believe 100% that you can sleep train the day your baby is born? Yes. So unless a doctor tells you "absolutely not", I say why not? Plus, for safety, I always had a monitor that watched for breathing from my babies to make sure they were perfectly fine. That's called sanity, mama!