Baby Sleep Problem: When Do I Start Baby Sleep Training?

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  • April 24, 2012

When Do I Start Baby Sleep Training if My Child is Chronically Sleep Deprived??

Would you like to have me answer your baby sleep problem question in my next video? If so, scroll down and submit your question in the comment section below. I will pick several questions a month to answer and post them here on the blog!

If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s baby sleep problem video:

Hi! Kim West, The Sleep Lady. And today, I’m going to answer Brandy’s question.

Brandy wrote in the following, “We’re stuck in a terrible cycle of overtiredness. My eight and a half month old used to be able to put himself to sleep but now, he fights with a vengeance. I’ve even tried driving all around starting two hours after he wakes from his second nap but that doesn’t work either. He takes two 45- to 70-minute naps a day and refuses to take a third. We put him to bed at 6:30 but he’s usually been up for five hours at that point. He wakes regularly through the night and he is up between 6:00 and 6:30 for the day. We are ready to sleep train but everything says not to start when the baby is overtired. I don’t know how to break this cycle. Please solve our baby sleep problem! Brandy”

It is true that the ideal time and place to start sleep training is when you have three weeks at home that you can dedicate to sleep coaching. You are right that I also recommend that we start sleep coaching at night sleep first and that you start on the first night at bedtime after a great day of naps any way you can get them.

Baby Sleep Problem: Baby is Overtired

Sometimes, that doesn’t work because our child has outgrown their sleep crutch for their naps and we have no choice but to start sleep coaching with an overtired child and parent! If possible, pick a day where he’s had two 70-minute naps that you talked about. Make sure the first one is not before 8:00 a.m. and ideally that the second one is not before 12:00 noon.

If your baby will no longer sleep when you take him for a car ride, then you will have to put him to bed at 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. awake and start the Shuffle. And then, of course, the next day, you’re going to have to start nap coaching.

It won’t be ideal but I want you know Brandy, you’re not alone. I have plenty of parents where we have to do everything together. We have no backup desperation nap plans like cars, swings, stroller and we just have to do all of the naps in the crib. It’s not easy but I want you to know that eight and a half months is a great age to sleep coach. Children this age learn very quickly and it should take approximately seven to ten nights for him to start largely sleeping through the night. In two to three weeks, naps are greatly improved.

I hope that helps. Keep up the good work!

Sweet dreams,
Kim, The Sleep Lady

Video filmed by In Focus Studios

If you have successfully sleep coached your baby for night and day sleep at the same time, please encourage Brandy to get started! Please feel free to click the “reply” link under this article and leave them a comment. Supporting each other makes parenting so much easier!

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  • asli says:

    Hello Brandy,
    I have a 14 months old doughter who is sleeping through the night (between 07:45 PM and 07:00 AM) after the sleep coaching.
    Before the coaching, she had no nap longer than 30 or 40 min.and was waking up 7 or 8 times during the night.It was really disaster. Then , when she came to 8 and half months old, I decided to give the sleep training that Kim West mentioned for your problem. And as an 40 years old  woman I should say that this was the most right decision that I`ve taken so far ! It tooks 15 days roughly.When you think the result, it`s really worth applying…
    Please do not waste your time and start to coaching as soon as possible, for your baby and you. You will see the positive progress on your baby.He will be more happy,peaceful,and willing to learn new things.
    Have good nights 🙂

  • arene says:

    Our daughter is almost 8 months old and is now taking good naps after sleep coaching.  But now she wakes up at night even more than she did at 5 months.  And getting her back to sleep is terrible.  I almost always end up resorting to nursing her back to sleep because she will scream for an hour, even with me or my husband holding her.  I do think she is truly hungry sometimes because I hear her stomach growling but waking every 3 hours seems excessive.  Soothing her without picking her up does nothing.  In fact, it seems to make her more upset.  She is extremely alert and aware, so we use a white noise machine in her bedroom, we have a good bedtime routine and she is napping for 3 hours(1.5 hrs each) a day with a 4 hour break between waking from afternoon nap and bedtime at 7:00pm.  I am severely sleep deprived; I need more than a 2-3 hour stretch of sleep, soon!  We have your book but are at a loss of how to do the shuffle when she so persistantly fights us.  She is so sweet and sensitive and we want to be compassionate to her needs, though we are at a point where we really need to meet our needs too!  Thank you, Andrea

  • KortnaaLaplanteKrogen says:

    We have tried the sleep training off & on for what seems like forever now. He never really napped once he got past the newborn stage. He started sleeping thrugh the night around 2 mos but then around 4 mos I got sick 7 when he would awake I didn’t want to take the time to shush him back to sleep so I started putting him in bed & nursing. So we went from sleeping all night to part co-sleeping to co-sleeping attached t my boob all night. Around 8 mos we moved him to his own room & I would nurse in there a few times a night. After Easter I decided that if I was ever going to make it that we had to get things figured out & get serious. I had read the book several times but was never consistent in my training. We couldn’t start with a well rested baby b/c he wouldn’t nap no matter how many crutches we tried. A friend of mine was a huge support & told me she sleep trained her 3 boys & despite a few days of crying for long periods of time they all learned to sleep & are well adjusted & mentally unharmed 🙂 So I jumped in full fledged & just did it. As I am typing this he is into his nap for
    1 hr 45 min & it is such a relief! Yes, he still wakes occasionally & I can’t run the vacuum whiles he’s sleeping as he is a very alert baby but Kim is a God-send & I can’t thank you enough. I have a friend who has a 7 mo old who also has sleep issues & she told me yesterday that our babies just weren’t ready before. I told my husband last night that when I thought about it it wasn’t our son that wasn’t ready but it was us. You have to get to that point where you decide that you will do what it takes & that it will be ok. Believe me, it was hard & there was alot of tears. by the time I started Ean had started standing in his crib & would scream & reach for me. But now at 11 & 1/2 mos old, he is a much more well rested baby who is alot happier to be around & I have my life back. Please everyone, stick with this & you will see results. It’s still hard. Last night I was getting in the bath & he woke up & was crying for 10 min & my husband patted him then let him go back to sleep on his own. I was still almost in tears over hearing him cry but now I know that he will survive & how cruicial this is to his devolopemnt. Well I hear him waking so i will end. Good luck to all & thanks again Kim!

  • KPY says:

    Hi Kim, 
    I have a ‘sleep question’. My son is almost 7mths. He is able to fall asleep on his own for his naps (he naps well) and also at night. But the problem comes when he wakes up in the middle of the night, he needs to be fed before he is able to fall asleep. He wakes up twice a night, 1am and about 4.30am. 
    I had always thought that once babies are able to fall asleep on their own for naps, they would also be able to put themselves back to sleep in the middle of the night (Which was how my older son slept through the night, or maybe I was just lucky!). How should I go about this? 
    A little background as to probably why he does that in the middle of the night. I used to exclusively nurse him until I fell sick and my milk supply dropped drastically. So I had to bottle feed him which he refused entirely. So I resorted to making him drink when he was sleepy (that was the only time he was willing to take the bottle). Up till now, he wouldn’t drink much if he’s awake (only 3oz at best), but would only drink a lot more if he’s sleepy. I know its not a good way to make him drink, but I really feel that that’s the only option I have to make him drink. So right now, I always feed him with the bottle before naps, but he doesn’t fall asleep with the bottle. He would drink, then still take about 30 minutes to wind down then fully fall asleep. 
    I’ve tried not feeding him in the middle of the night, but he just wont go back to sleep even after 1.5hrs. And when I finally feed him, I could hear his tummy growling! Thereafter I couldn’t bear not feeding him, feels as though I’m starving him. 
    Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks! 

  • JKH says:

    My 5 month old sleeps from 8pm till 2am (nurse) then from 2 – 4am then 4:30 (nurse – 6:30 am. He wont eat until 7:30  then go down for a 20 minute nap.
    the problem is in the day he wants to take at least 8 10 minute naps.  I have been nursing him – letting him fall asleep then putting him in the crib. After 10 minutes in the crib he will wake up.  At night he goes to bed on his own with no more that a few pats and comforting words from us in his crib.
    I don’t understand why he is doing well in the night but naps are a nightmare.