At what age is it OK to start sleep training?

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At what age is it OK to start sleep training?

You can begin to sleep train when a a baby is about four months and 14 pounds, adjusting for any prematurity and also making sure there are no major medical concerns or mommy's milk supply issues; if mommy has a low milk supply, we're gonna go a little bit slower before we start the sleep training. But generally children are able to learn to self-soothe and to remember from night to night how to do it around four months and when they weigh 14 pounds. In terms of other choices, everybody should do what's right for their hear. It's really, really hard for some people to go into any kind of sleep training mode, and I really respect that. And I think that if it's too hard for you at one point in time, it may become easier later as you become more convinced that you need to do it. But in the meantime you can have your baby sleep closer to you so that it's more convenient at night to feed them and to get them back to sleep. You can share the load with daddy or with a caregiver so that it's not all on you. You can use some of your contraptions to help them sleep in addition to your arms and breasts and bottle. You want to sort of help them to do whatever they need in the middle of the night when you're not sleep training. But you can still set up a great schedule, you can still set up a great sleep environment that doesn't have noise and light coming in, you can still start a wonderful bedtime routine, and then you deal with the associations and night-noshing later.

See Jill Spivack, LCSW's video on At what age is it OK to start sleep training?...


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Jill Spivack, LCSW

Sleep Expert

Jill Spivack, LCSW, completed her graduate studies at the University of Southern California. She developed an expertise in parenting while working as a psychotherapist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Early Childhood Department. Jill, a mother of two children, went on to develop a sub-specialty in pediatric sleep disorders while working in New York City at a parenting center after experiencing sleep problems with her first child. In 1999, upon returning to Los Angeles, Jill co-founded the pediatric sleep firm Childsleep.

Recognizing that today's parents were lacking the essential support, education, and sense of community they sought to do their best, Jill was inspired to co-found Sleepy Planet.  Offering a wide variety of services, Sleepy Planet helps parents of babies, toddlers, and young children with behavioral sleep problems through private consultations, and provides parent education, psychotherapy, and professional presentations on a wide variety of topics, including the transition to parenthood, child development and behavior, sibling rivalry, marital issues, and how to balance work and family. In addition, Jill holds weekly groups for new and second-time mothers to allow parents to share experiences and emotions, ask questions, and support one another through the journey of parenthood. 

Jill is also the co-creator of The Sleepeasy Solution, a book and DVD that show parents how to break difficult sleep habits without breaking their hearts in the process.  She has been featured in a variety of media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, The Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Variety and has appeared numerous times on The Today Show. She is also a co-consultant for Pajanimals, a new television project with the Jim Henson Company airing on PBS Kids Sproutthat features four adorable puppets who model for preschoolers, the skills they need to manage the various emotions and issues that they confront in early childhood. 

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