Is 12 weeks too young to start sleep training?



As parents, we always need to know when it is age appropriate for baby to do new things and when is it age appropriate to just roll with what baby does. The overriding answer is the right time to do sleep training is when the sleep situation is a problem for you. Of course, we don’t advocate any formal sleep training at 12 weeks.

There are sleep trainers around who will say that a baby can sleep through the night without milk at 12 weeks and will do sleep training with you at that age. We say that a baby can sleep through the night without milk at around the age of 6 months if they’re on track growth-wise, development-wise, they’ve started to establish solids and only if you’re comfortable with it. It’s really all about what you’re comfortable with and what you want to do.

When it’s a problem for you and your family, that’s when you need to start sleep training. Remember, sleep training is just anything less than what you do now (less patting, less rocking, etc.) If by sleep training you’re thinking the classic kind of control crying or gradual retreat methods, then no. We wouldn’t advocate anything like that before 5 or 5.5 months. Certainly, 12 weeks is too little for any kind of formal “sleep training”.

Something you can start thinking about at roughly 4 months is popping your baby into his cot a little bit earlier than you are now. At that moment, you might rock and pat and rock and pat and pop him into his cot 100% percent asleep. Maybe around 4 months start thinking about that at just 90% asleep instead of 100% asleep. Then start kind of gradually getting him into the cot a little earlier.

In terms of actual sleep training and actual techniques that we’re going to see through and be consistent with – this would happen at the 5-month mark at the absolute youngest. At that age, it would still not be with a view to sleep through. It would be with a view to sleep through sometime from around six months and we always adjust that for a preemie baby.


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