"There are good times to sleep-train and periods when it may be less likely to work," says developmental psychologist Isabela Granic, Ph.D., coauthor of Bed Timing: The 'When-To' Guide to Helping Your Child to Sleep. "This is because infants and toddlers go through mental growth spurts that make them especially clingy, fussy, and prone to night wakings. They're learning new cognitive skills and often don't sleep as well."
What follows are her explanations of what's developmentally happening as your baby grows.
Babies can't tell the difference between night and day—they don't produce enough melatonin yet—and require frequent feedings.
Infants are developing a night sleep cycle, are more sociable, and show little separation anxiety, so they start to snooze better.
A 3-and-a-half-month old baby wakes constantly between midnight and 6 am. Baby Sleep Whisperer Ingrid Prueher offers tried-and-true advice for a sleep-deprived mom.
Your little one is just learning that when he coos, he'll get a response from you. Trying to sleep-train him during this time could be challenging.
Babies are more interested in reaching for toys than keeping their eyes fixed on you. Go for it—she may not be as fussy when she wakes at night.
An 8-month-old baby has trouble sleeping through the night. Baby Sleep Whisperer Ingrid Prueher discovers the miracle nursery item that will keep baby asleep for a longer period of time.
An infant starts to understand that parents still exist after they leave the room. Knowing you're just outside the door as he's crying away can be frustrating.
As a toddler focuses on developing speech and physical skills, he is less clingy with Mom and Dad. This is another good time to sleep-train.
It sounds counterintuitive, but a child's budding independence makes her more needy. Hold off on sleep training for now.
MommyShorts blogger Ilana Wiles shares her sleep training success stories!