If you’ve wondered what age is ideal to start sleep training, you’re in the right place. Most experts agree 3-4 months is the sweet spot for sleep training. We’ll look at how sleep changes in the first 6 months of an infant’s life and how that informs the ideal age to start sleep training. If you have an infant older than 6 months, a toddler, or a preschool-age child, fear not – you can still successfully sleep train!
Around the 3 month mark, infants begin producing melatonin meaning any day-night confusion should start to improve. During the day, they have longer periods of wakefulness than before. Though the circadian rhythm isn’t fully developed until closer to 1 year of age, babies around 3-4 months will have their circadian rhythm better figured out and require less frequent feeds allowing them to consolidate nighttime sleep better.
Babies around 3-4 months have more stable sleep patterns, produce melatonin and have established a circadian rhythm. All these factors plus needing less frequent feedings overnight make it the perfect time to start sleep training. Most experts have found that, while you cannot eliminate all crying, usually sleep training will involve the least amount of fuss at the 3-4 month mark. At this age, your infant has developed fewer habits around sleep and should adjust to change more quickly.
You can start sleep shaping, aka setting up healthy sleep habits, with a newborn. While this is not formal sleep training, sleep shaping lays a great foundation for sleep training if needed later down the road. The goal of sleep shaping the first 3 months is to create routines around feeding and sleeping. Check out this post for more information.
Around the 3-4 month mark, keep an eye out for the following signs that your infant is ready:
Once you’ve seen these two signs, it’s the perfect time to start sleep training. If you need any help choosing a method or making a plan, I’d love to help you. You can learn more about my services here.
100% yes! Just because your little one is older than 4 months does NOT mean you missed the window to start sleep training. I believe your child’s sleep can be improved at any age. However, the method and time it takes to see success may be a little different.
If you have questions about whether your infant is ready to start sleeping training or if you need help making a plan, I invite you to contact me.