Sleep Training Breastfed Baby

Getting enough quality sleep is extremely important for both babies and parents. Lack of sleep can negatively impact health, mood and parenting. As any new parent knows, finding the proper place for a baby to sleep soundly and safely is an important part of establishing a routine and harmony at home.

When it comes to feeding and sleep schedules for infants, finding the right balance can be challenging for parents. Successfully combining breastfeeding and sleep training requires adjusting expectations and routines. The proper place for feeding and sleeping often alternates until a sustainable routine is established. Breast or bottle wherever baby and mom are comfortable.

Sleep training babies can cause anxiety for new parents who wonder what approach is best. Different methods work better depending on parenting styles and temperaments. Finding the proper place to start helps people feel confident in their choices. Consulting pediatricians and books to learn various methods.

Understanding Your Baby’s Sleep Needs

Understanding your baby’s sleep development helps parents support good sleep habits. All babies sleep a lot, but newborns only stay awake for 1-2 hours at time. Between naps and night sleep, newborns need 16-18 hours. As babies get older their sleep changes. At 3-4 months, babies start to sleep for longer stretches at night but still need daytime naps.

By 6 months, most babies sleep for 12 hours at night but need 2-3 naps during the day. Pay attention to when your baby seems tired. Some signs are fussiness, rubbing eyes or becoming upset easily. Babies have natural times to sleep so put them down before they become too tired. Create a calming bedtime routine like a bath, story and song before bed each night. Keep naps and nighttime sleep in a quiet, dark place with white noise to help your growing baby rest well. Consistency with sleep routines helps both babies and parents get the rest needed.

Age-appropriate sleep patterns

As babies grow and develop, their sleep needs change. Understanding what is appropriate for a baby’s age can help parents support healthy sleep. Finding the proper place for naps and night sleep helps establish routines. In a safe, comfortable crib or bassinet.

Recognizing hunger cues vs. sleep cues

New parents often struggle to determine if their baby needs food or sleep. Recognizing the difference between hunger cues and sleep cues is an important part of care routines. Finding the proper place to feed or soothe a fussy baby can prevent unnecessary wake ups. What is the proper place to feed a baby? In the mother’s arms or a high chair for bottle feeding.

Preparing for Sleep Training

Before starting a sleep training method, parents should make sure their baby is ready. Most experts say between 4-6 months is the earliest. First, establish a calming bedtime routine with bath, book and song. Feed your baby before the routine so they go to sleep full. Next, ensure their daytime naps are consistent. Babies younger than 6 months usually need 3 naps. Get on the same schedule as your baby so they learn night is for sleep.

Your baby’s sleep space should be comfortable and safe. Use a sleeper, crib, or bassinet that meets safety standards when training a 2-year-old after co-sleeping. Keep toys, blankets, and bumpers out until one year old. The room should be dark and quiet, use white noise if needed. Make sure your baby is well-rested before training, checking they are not getting overtired with early bedtimes. Being prepared and learning different methods can help parents feel secure when helping their 2-year-old learn to self-soothe overnight after co-sleeping.

Gentle Sleep Training Methods

Gentle Sleep Training Methods

Babies learn to self-soothe by being laid down awake but left undisturbed at bedtime or during night wakings except for feeding. Parents check on their baby at increasing intervals, starting at 3 minutes and gradually increasing. This allows crying for short periods to avoid overtiring.

Extinction with parental presence involves sitting near the crib and providing reassuring pats/shushes but avoiding eye contact or picking up. Crying is allowed in short controlled bursts. Remain calm and keep responses consistent and predictable

Fade-in Approach

Lay baby down awake and spend increasing time in the room each night. Start patting/shushing during cries. Slowly increase time between visits. Leave door open and check only if full on crying occurs.

Chair Method

Stay with your baby by sitting in a chair beside or near the crib. Calmly reassure with your voice/touch through the crib railings. If crying increases, try resettling without picking up. Extend intervals between responses over several nights.

Pick Up, Put Down

Lay baby down drowsy but awake. Pick up and console when crying begins, putting back several times calmly. Increase time before responding each night until ready to self-soothe. Remain calm, quiet, and consistent in bedtime routine and responses.

Whether using extinction, fading techniques or a combined approach, gentle methods Teach babies to self-soothe safely by being lovingly responsive within limits appropriate to their age and development stage. Staying patient and consistent is key.

Tips for Success

Sleep training a breastfed baby requires adjusting their feeding schedule first. Most experts say not to start sleep training until babies are at least 4 months old. In the weeks before training, give your baby one late-evening breastfeed as their primary source of overnight nutrition. Feed them again right before bedtime. This helps them associate feeding with sleeping longer at night.

During sleep training, continue to feed on demand during the day. But at night, only feed at scheduled times like midnight and 4am. Being consistent with limiting night feeds teaches babies they won’t always get fed back to sleep. Use soothing techniques like white noise and pats if they wake otherwise. Gradually increase intervals between night feeds until babies sleep through. Staying calm and patient will help breastfed babies learn to self soothe without causes stress to mothers or babies.


Can breastfed babies be sleep trained?

Yes, breastfed babies can be sleep trained through gentle methods like gradual weaning of night feedings and soothing other wakeups without feeding. Proper preparation helps both babies and mothers succeed.

How can I get my breastfed baby to sleep through the night?

Establish a calming routine, offer one late evening and one night feed as the primary sources of nutrition, and soothing other wakeups without feeding will help breastfed babies learn to sleep through the night.

How can I get my breastfed baby to sleep without nursing?

Gradually reduce night feedings and soothe baby with other methods like patting or white noise instead of nursing. Being consistent helps baby learn to sleep without feeding as their primary sleep association.

How do I stop breastfeeding at night?

Gradually reduce the frequency of night feedings over weeks by extending the time between feedings to help baby learn to sleep longer stretches without nursing during nighttime hours.

Do babies naturally drop night feeds?

Babies will naturally begin sleeping for longer stretches and reduce night feedings as they get older, around 4-6 months. Gentle sleep training can support making this transition smoother.


As babies grow, their sleep changes are normal parts of development. By learning age-appropriate sleep patterns, parents can support their baby’s needs. Consistency helps babies understand when it is time for sleep. Developing calm bedtime routines creates positive sleep associations. Using gentle sleep training strategies with baby provides reassurance during transitions. A proper sleep space keeps baby safe and comfortable at night. With understanding of hunger and sleep cues, meals and sleep times meet needs appropriately.

With knowledge and preparation, parents can ease their baby’s journey to independent sleep. Having the right place for naps and night sleep helps sleeping routines. In a cozy crib or bassinet is safe. Proper sleeping keeps babies happy. Knowing when babies are hungry or tired also helps. Feeding hungry babies in a comfortable place stops fussiness. What mommies and daddies learn helps their baby get enough good sleep.

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