Why 6 Months Might Be the Best Age
Ok, let me start this off by saying that I absolutely love helping parents with little kids and babies of ANY age, 0-5 years old, so don’t be discouraged if your baby is already past this age, or dissuaded from taking action sooner. But with that said, I want to make the case for why the 5-6 month mark might be the best time to get started. So, if you’re considering taking the plunge and your baby is around this age, read on to see why I say GO FOR IT NOW!
(And don't miss my special offer at the end of the post!)
5 Reasons Why 6 Months May Be the Best Age to Sleep Train
They aren’t very mobile yet.
While some little ninjas will start cruising and crawling at crazy young ages (like my friend Natalie who’s little guy was climbing stairs before 6 months!), most babies are still pretty immobile at this age. This can make a big difference when you’re wanting to implement changes to their sleep routine. If they’re already starting to roll both ways, sitting up on their own, or even starting to crawl, you have to worry more about them getting stuck in the crib rails, or wanting to practice their new skill All. Night. Long. Who wants to sleep when you’re discovering that you can move yourself all over your crib! Trust me when I say you’re avoiding a lot of extra stress if you help them learn these new sleep skills before mobility bursts onto the scene.
Sleep pressure will work in our favor.
Something crazy happens around the 8 month mark where babies can start fighting sleep like you wouldn’t believe. They can stay up half the night and then still fight their nap the next morning. But most babies around the 5-6 month mark are still quite sleepy and can’t fight sleep as much as they will be able to in just another couple months. Sleep pressure will win out. And if you’re saying “My baby already fights sleep like crazy”, well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! This crazy sleep-fighting ability only gets stronger as they get older.
They don’t tend to be quite so strong willed…yet.
Along with babies getting more energy to fight sleep, they also start to show their very “determined” personalities a lot more around the 8-12 month mark, which is why this age group has earned quite the reputation among my sleep consultant colleagues. Around the 5 month mark, you may still be watching and waiting to see exactly what kind of temperament your baby has. But by 8 months, they will be making it very clear, especially if this is the first time you start to impose some boundaries around their sleep. Best to start before this age!
We can have confidence in their ability to self-soothe
Although many babies even younger than 6 months can develop self-soothing skills, not all can. By 6 months though, a normally developing baby will have good control of their arms, hands, and head, making it much easier for them to get comfortable and find ways to settle themselves to sleep, whether it’s using their own fingers to suck, or a small, breathable lovey. You can be confident by this age that they are ready to learn this new skill, assuming that you’re setting them up for success.
We can get you all get more sleep BEFORE you hit your breaking point.
6 months is a very long time to go without good sleep, for your baby and for you! As bad as this is though, many moms are still hanging on to some semblance of sanity. But, we know from research on chronic sleep deprivation, the effects only get worse with time. Cognitive ability, reaction time, and memory all continue to worsen, even when a mom feels she is “getting used to it”. My strong encouragement is to get on top of the sleep issues now, and don’t wait for things to get so bad that you're grouchy, emotionally reactive, and feeling depressed most days.
If you’re already at your breaking point, or want to take action before you get there, contact me today.
SPECIAL OFFER: Use code SPRINGBABY15 for 15% off my Shepherd My Baby package, now through the end of April!