Last updated on April 16th, 2024

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Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

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The Sleep Lady Shuffle: How to Gently Sleep Train your Baby

When many parents think of sleep coaching, they automatically draw images of screaming babies and children in a room alone while the parent hides and pretends that the crying isn’t killing them. Most parents just can’t do that. It’s not fair to the child, and it’s certainly not fair to the parent. Faced with that choice, many parents just ride out the years of sleepless nights, with nobody in the house getting any sleep. Not only is that detrimental to development, but it’s also hard to enjoy your baby when you’re exhausted. That was the driving force behind the creation of The Sleep Lady Shuffle. The Shuffle will teach you how to teach your child to sleep. You’ll learn:

  • A little bit of crying is normal
  • What’s The Shuffle
  • Sleep training in baby steps
  • What to do when “life happens”
  • Resources to learn to teach your child to sleep

the sleep lady shuffle

A Bit About Crying and Sleep Training

Understand that some fussing is normal during a period of change or challenge. That is exactly what will happen when you begin to sleep coach your child. Mild fussing — whimpering, grunting, frustrated cries — is normal while your baby learns a new skill. Full-on hysterical crying is not normal, and that’s the crying you can avoid when you use The Shuffle.

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The Sleep Lady Shuffle

Created by Kim West, LCSW and baby sleep expert, “The Sleep Lady Shuffle,” is a gentle, effective, and proven method to teach your baby to sleep. The best part? It works for children 6 months to 6 years and can be tailored to meet your family’s unique circumstances.

Many people assume that if they co-sleep/room share, or breastfeed that they can’t sleep, coach. That is simply not true! You can teach your child to sleep even if you share a room.

The Sleep Lady Shuffle is a proven gentle, effective method that will help you teach your child how to fall asleep on their own in a secure environment. This is not shutting the door or leaving your baby in the crib to cry.

Why Use The Sleep Lady Shuffle?

Parents need choices when it comes to sleep coaching. Kim created The Shuffle to help give families a choice that wasn’t cry-it-out or timed checks. The goal was to provide a sleep coaching method that parents could follow through with consistency.

By the time your baby is ready for The Shuffle, chances are that you’re tired of getting up multiple times each night and dealing with 2, 3, or even 4 naps every day. Likely, you don’t have the energy to follow a complicated routine, nor do you have the desire to listen to your baby cry. Most parents turn to sleep coaching because THEY need sleep, as well as their baby.

Want to know some more about The Shuffle?
Read: Gentle Sleep Training with The Sleep Lady Shuffle

the sleep lady shuffle
The Sleep Lady Shuffle,” is a gentle, effective, and proven method to teach your baby to sleep.

Baby Steps

The first 6 months of parenting is a challenge. A fun challenge, yes, but it’s definitely a test of your mettle. By the time you’ve been up and down every night for 6 months, you probably just want it to stop. Most healthy, full-term infants are ready to start sleep coaching around that six-month mark.

With The Shuffle, you’ll take incremental steps to teach your baby to fall asleep without your help. This is an important life skill and one that your baby cannot learn without your help.

The Sleep Lady Shuffle will teach you how to gently and effectively teach your baby that she doesn’t need to be rocked off to dreamland, nor does she need to be bounced, fed, or sung to. All of these are fine while she was an infant, but once she’s developed the ability to self-soothe, you can use The Shuffle to transition her away from these habits.

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When Trouble Arises

Most families see a positive change in their baby’s (or toddler’s) sleep habits within 7 to 10 days. That’s less than two weeks. Of course there are exceptions. Families who don’t see results in the first few weeks generally need to reexamine how they’re doing The Shuffle. Often mom or dad has created a new sleep crutch in place of the patting, feeding, or rocking to sleep. Equally often there’s a lack of consistency in response to their child’s awakenings. Occasionally there is an underlying medical problem that is contributing to their child’s sleep problem.

If parents find themselves in this situation, it’s an easy fix, but you may have to backtrack a few days in your Shuffle to make sure that your child is truly learning the skill of putting herself to sleep.

Life Happens

Travel, illness, teething, vacations…these are all things that happen to the best of us. If you’re lucky, you’ve planned your travel and vacations, so you can plan ahead and make arrangements for your baby to have a routine as close to the one at home as possible — remember, it’s all about consistency. If you find yourself bogged down with an illness or 4 teeth, it’s a bit of a different story.

Our children need extra attention when they aren’t feeling well or have a change of location, and with The Sleep Lady Shuffle, you can easily take care of those extra night wakings that come with temporary changes. If you get “off track” it’s easy to return to your sleep coaching roots and backtrack your Shuffle so that your little one remembers that “Oh yes! I know how to do this!”

The Sleep Lady Shuffle — Help Is Here!

The Sleep Lady Shuffle started with one mom who couldn’t bear to listen to her baby cry it out alone in their room. It has grown into an all-inclusive set of resources for parents all over the world including:

Author: Kim West, MSW, Mom of 2, creator of The Sleep Lady Shuffle

My name is Kim West, and I’m the mother of two beautiful girls, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 21 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. My sleep journey began when I started experimenting with gently shaping my daughter’s sleep by not following the conventional wisdom at the time. After having success (and then more success with my second daughter!), I began helping family and friends and my step-by-step method spread like wildfire, exactly like an excellent night of sleep for a tired parent should!