How to Sleep Train Your Baby

Photo Credit: Michelle C Photography

Photo Credit: Michelle C Photography

I might be a little fuzzy on what sleep training is, but I know it's important to start early. Not too early, though. I recommend starting when your baby is two to three days old. Depending on when you come home from the hospital. However, if you are feeling really ambitious, you can print out this plan and give it to your hospital nursery nurse. They love getting unsolicited advice and it's good for baby to have consistency right from day one. But don't worry too much about consistency and starting early, you can always catch up later. The important thing is to bond with baby in his or her early days. But keep in mind that you can never catch up. So it's important to start sleep training early. Preferably yesterday or the day before.

Also, truly effective sleep training is a two-person job. You need to work as a team. If you have three, four, or five people on your team, that's even better. Feel free to divvy up the tasks on the following list as you see fit. Play to your individual strengths. Each individual brings different sleep training skills to the table. You just have to unlock those skills, allow them to shine in the dark of night, and let them blossom like a well-watered rose bush. 

Finally, please stick to the plan! Do not skip or add steps. Unless you want to or you don't really care about your child. Consistency! Consistency! Consistency! Baby loves reliable routines and sleeping in your arms. Since you're not willing to give her the latter, because you're too busy or whatever, the least you can do is give her the former. 

And here we go...

  1. When she cries, pick her up

  2. Feed her

  3. Put her back in bed

  4. Pick her back up

  5. Rock her for about 30 minutes

  6. Put her back in bed

  7. Pick her back up

  8. Hold her and walk around the room, first clockwise, then counterclockwise

  9. Feed her

  10. Drop the bottle

  11. Try to find it in the dark

  12. Give up

  13. Throw the burp cloth

  14. Find the bottle under the bed, on the other side, like ten feet away

  15. Feed her

  16. Put her back in bed

  17. When she cries, pick her up

  18. What were we trying to do again?

  19. Feed her

  20. Give her a pacifier

  21. Drop the pacifier on the floor

  22. After searching in the dark for fifteen minutes, find the pacifier right at your feet covered in dog hair

  23. Fall asleep holding her

  24. Drop the empty bottle

  25. Wake up 2 hours later

  26. Figure out where you are, find her bed, put her in it

  27. Are we done yet?

  28. Fall asleep

  29. Wake up

  30. Change her diaper

  31. Do something else

  32. Make a list

  33. Sleep training complete

Don’t forget! My book, Fatherhood: Dispatches From the Early Years, is now available for immediate purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and pretty much all of your favorite online book retailers. Paperback and ebook versions are both available. Don’t wait…everyone is doing it! (And by everyone I mean more than zero people.)

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