6 Easy Steps To Sleep-training Your Baby

The Gentlest Method and it Works

Sleep training, gentle sleep training method, Andrea Bogue, through the night

6 Easy Steps to Sleep Through the Night. And, yes, you’ll love me for this one.

We had gone through rocking, patting, singing, walking, bouncing. We had swaddled and unswaddled. We had put her on her back, tummy, side. We had broken every rule regarding sleep known to man. It didn’t matter. Our baby was having none of it. She wasn’t sleeping more than 20 minutes at a stretch night or day, no matter what we did. As soon as she was put down, she yelled and howled like she was being torn limb from limb.

It was that night – henceforth known as Night of the Not-right-in-the-head Fitball Hypnosis Session (which, I might add, proved hubby was a rubbish hypnotist) that we caved. We surrendered. We realised that we didn’t know what we were doing when it came to getting Miss M to sleep. This baby had us under her teensy weeny thumb.

After finally getting her to sleep, two exhausted, deflated parents sat in front of the TV and were faced with an angel. Her name was Andrea Bogue and she was (cue chorus of heavenly singing) a Baby Whisperer. She was being interviewed on a current affairs show and explaining how she had the ability to get babies to sleep through the night. The holy grail. We were presented with beaming mothers and fathers holding happy babies and telling the host how they had their lives back. It was like being on a radical diet and being faced with a chocolate fountain and a pile of marshmallows. They had what we were being denied!

Then an amazing thing happened – Miss Bogue’s number was flashed on the screen. It was a local number. If you’ve experienced sleep-deprivation, you’ll understand that this was like flashing free tickets to Disneyworld during the school term in front of a classroom of children. Suffice to say, before Miss M woke up for the next session of psycho screaming and a delightful game of make-Mummy-cry-and-sing-lullabies-simultaneously, I had the number in my speed dial.

That weekend, our lives changed. Granted, it cost a small fortune (it was worth it and more) but the Baby Whisperer extraordinaire was true to her word. She spent a morning  teaching us (yes, it turned out it was our doing, not the evil-baby-bent-on-our-destruction) how we were going to get Miss M to go to sleep for her first nap of the day. By herself. No patting. No rocking. Definitely no hypnotising. That night, and every night since, Miss M hasgone to sleep at 7pm and stayed asleep until 7am.  Not kidding.

Because I don’t want you to go through the hell that is sleep-deprivation, I am going to share some tips. I am going to give you some nuggets of gold from the wisdom gleaned from this angel of a woman. Do you hear angels singing?

I want you to imagine two scenarios:

Scenario 1: Imagine you’re with someone you adore, having a lovely time. You’re warm and happy and you feel safe. Then that person takes you and puts you into a pit of vipers, looks at you with fear in her eyes, begs you to please not cry then walks out and expects you to relax and go to sleep. Ridiculous, right? Would you lie quietly and nod off to sleep or would you scream bloody murder until you were rescued? Well, duh.

Scenario 2: You fall asleep happily in the arms of your loved one and when you wake up, she has disappeared, you’re all alone and who-knows-what might happen to you and issheevercomingback? You’d scream like a banshee, right? I would.

The problems most parents have is the choice of what appear to be only two sleep-training options: Attachment Parenting or Ferberising their babies.

What if I told you there’s a third option? A sleep-training philosophy based on understanding your baby and communicating with her? A method that teaches your baby to sleep soundly, deeply and independently? There is. You can hug me later.

The basic premise is so simple, so common sense, so obvious. It’s a philosophy that’s shaped much of my parenting because it is all about communication. As parents, we are so scared of bedtime, we are so afraid of our babies screaming and waking up all night. So what do we do? We unknowingly transmit this fear to our babies. Our faces express our worry. Our myriad of crutches (patting, rocking…hypnotising) transmit the message that this is indeed a hard thing to do – so much so that all these things need to be in place before sleep can be achieved. We tiptoe out of their rooms when they finally fall asleep – reinforcing their fear that we can’t be trusted to be there when they wake up. Obviously, they are going to scream. How can we possibly expect them to relax in this kind of environment?

So, what do we do? 

1. Remove the fear.

This means telling yourself that bedtime is not scary, hard or terrible. You look forward to your sleep and so why shouldn’t your baby. If your face is full of fear, your baby will be scared. If you’re relaxed and happy, your baby will be too. Quite simple really.

2. Create a positive, flexible and simple bedtime routine.

We always bath our kids before bed, then read a story, have a cuddle and a song before bed. When they were babies, we would take them around the room and say “goodnight” to the animal pictures on the walls, the teddies and so on. This was a great part of the routine because it reinforces “goodnight” and it is portable – meaning, when you need to put your little one to sleep at grandma’s house, you can say goodnight to her things too. You’re not tied down to a specific room.

3. Show your baby that you aren’t stressed.

After the “goodnights”, I’d put the Miss M in her cot, smile and look her in the eyes (showing that I was happy and relaxed about this situation) and say “Night night! Good girl! I’ll be right back.” and walk out.

Of course, the first time I did this, Miss M went hooligan on me. It was her morning nap and she screamed like a lead soprano in the world’s loudest opera. Hubby and I stood outside her room with the Baby Whisperer and wanted to cry. She explained that we needed to teach Miss M that when she doesn’t cry, that’s when we come back, that being still and relaxed would bring us back. In essence, reward the behaviour we want to see. After a minute of two, when the crying started to wane, one of us would go back in, smile and say again “Good girl! You’re not crying! I’m coming back again.” And out we went. Amazingly, it took very little time for her to realise that being quiet and relaxed brought us back in. Not only did we come in without her having to yell for us, but we were smiling and not scared. Hmmmm – she started to realise that this sleeping this might not be so hard and scary after all.

Once she was quiet for an extended period of time, we started to whisper that OMIGOSH SHE IS QUIET! We were instructed not to whisper. Instead, we walked in and in happy, conversational voices we repeated the mantra that she was a good girl, not crying, going to sleep so nicely. To our complete shock, she was still awake. Just lying there, quietly. Our baby. She looked at us, smiled, closed her eyes and went to sleep. After a few minutes we went in again, found her asleep and again repeated the mantra. And again 3 minutes later. For the first time ever, Miss M napped for two straight hours. She woke up cooing, not crying. It was like we had a different child.

We repeated the process for her midday nap with faster results and by the first night, she was asleep in about 30 minutes. And she slept for 12 hours. 

4. It’s all about rewarding the behaviour we want to see.

As parents, we are hard-wired to rescue our children when they are crying. So, it’s only natural that we run in to their rooms when they cry at night. The difference between this and other situations is that our babies are not hurt or in danger. They are crying because they want us. By teaching them that we are going to be popping in to their room to check-in when they don’t cry, we eliminate that fear and we create a situation where they can relax and fall into a deep sleep, safe in the knowledge that they haven’t been abandoned. By showing them that bedtime is a happy, relaxing time of day, we create an environment that they want to be in. If we give them no reason to cry, they don’t cry. Simple, really.

So the basic philosophy is to do the opposite of classic controlled crying. Start by making it clear to your baby that sleep time is a lovely thing. Say goodnight with a smile and reassurance that you’ll be back. Be prepared for the yelling and screaming and wait for the cries to subside (no longer than a minute or two – in the beginning, you may need to grab the breathless moment between cries to illustrate what you want). As soon as there’s a break in the crying, go in and praise the good behaviour, tell her you’ll be back and then walk out. Even if your baby doesn’t understand your words, she will understand the tone. repeat this process and you’ll notice that your baby will begin to have longer non-crying periods. Praise each and every one.

5. Your baby is smarter than you think.

I can assure you, your baby can read your expresions. Show her that you’re relaxed and she will relax. Sow her that she doesn’t need to scream to have to you check-in on her and she will stop screaming. Check-in loudly and confidently, even once she’s asleep and she won’t feel the need to yell for you when she wakes in the night. If she falls asleep experiencing the comfort of you popping in and out, she will wake in the night, assume you’re coming soon, and go back to sleep. Obvious, right? Yeah, so obvious, I had to pay a Baby Whisperer to teach me…

6. It works on big kids too.

When it was time to move Miss M into her big girl bed, we panicked. How was this going to turn out? How would we get her to stay there? Again, we called on our sleep angel.

Turns out, the same philosophy applies to big kids. On the first night, we did her same routine, then stood in her room and said “I’m going out and when you’re on your bed, I’ll be back.” Giggles ensued and after a few seconds I returned and found her on the bed. Then. “Okay – I’m going out again and when you’re under the covers, I’ll be back for a story” Ahhh – it’s a cool game! More giggles, and when I walked back in, she was under her covers. I jumped in, read her a book and kissed her goodnight.” Then, “night night, Missy, when you have your head on the pillow I’ll be back with a giant Wiggly snuggle” (she was into the Wiggles, so this was the currency – it could just as easily be an Elmo tickle or a Little Mermaid kiss). More chuckling and a minute later, there she was with her head on the pillow. Last request, “when I your eyes are closed and you’re on your way to dreamland, I’ll be back with another Wiggly snuggle”. A few minutes later, she was asleep, smiling and dreaming of fruit salad, yummy yummy. It really was this easy. 

Why did this work? Because she was in control. I wasn’t saying “if you do this, you get…”, implying that I desperately wanted her to comply. I was saying “when you do this, the next fun thing is coming”, creating a situation where she was going to bed because she wanted to. No power struggle, just a fun and happy bedtime for all.

This has worked for all three of my children. It has worked for the countless friends I have helped through their children’s sleep issues. It’s a positive and non-stressful method to get babies and kids to sleep. Everyone wins because well-rested mummies are less prone to hysterical meltdowns (in the middle of the supermarket, a story for another day) and well-rested babies are happier, more switched on to learning and developing. They are also calmer babies because their mums aren’t falling to pieces.

I am no baby sleep expert. I’m just a mum who knows what sleep-deprivation feels like and has seen the light at the end of the tunnel. Can you see it? I promise, it’s there.

Sweet dreams!


6 steps to sleep-training your baby

Disclaimer: This is in no way medical or professional advice. Please feel free to contact Andrea Bogue, my Baby Whisperer for personalised advice on  +61 411 130 498 (Australia). This post represents Michelle Lewsen’s personal opinion and experience based on her own children and was not paid for or sponsored in any way.

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  1. Naomi G says

    How timely! I have not done well with my 2yr old for the past 8 months; with sleep so broken and nerves so frazzled, I feel like a failure most days. And for the life-of-me, even with the best intentions, I don’t seem to be able to think past my nose, and get us sorted out so Mummy can be a nice person again… I went to a local woman the other day, who sees people who need advice re sleep with their little ones; she said I needed boundaries in place, and despite all my questions about how and what to put in place, I didn’t get any answers that I felt were tangible and do-able… I got them here, so thank you… … I should stop there, but I would just like to add that – going along with your self-esteem post the other week – we Mothers’ do need to be kinder to ourselves – that’s one thing I took away from my visit to that lady – and realise that sleep deprivation literally robs us of our ‘faculties’!!! And our ‘kindnesses’ to our self…!… I’m a trained educator, with years of experience working with babies and children. My third child has been my challenge regarding sleep, but that only serves to help me beat myself up more because I SHOULD know how to fix this!!! But I literally draw a blank when I mull over our issue every minute of the day… As I sit here, I’m feeling a little more kinder to myself, about myself, and am, for the first time in a LONG time, feeling good about what I’ve just read, and what I shall carry out this evening… Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for sharing this!

    Naomi X

    • says

      Naomi, you have put the biggest smile on my face. I know how losing sleep can leave us feeling overwhelmed. I’ve been there and I was hoping that by writing this I could help another mum with this. I wish you the best of luck and lots more sleep.

      Be kind to yourself and know you are supported.

      Thanks for the fabulous feedback!

      • Naomi G says

        So far, so good!!! I’m so excited about the rest of the night! ;o) We did our usual bedtime routine, that is very similar to yours, and then instead of putting her into bed asleep or patting her (!!!) I talked to her, and there was a little cry, but it lasted about TEN seconds (!!!) and then she said “nigh nigh Mum”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for being a fabulous source of information and support!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bless you! N x

  2. debbie Johnson says

    Hi Mish, what about when they wake crying in the night….every night? Does the same principal apply – ie. stand at the door (at 2am…), wait for a gap, then go in and praise? What you’ve outlined above is (basically) what happens in our household and I have four happy 11 hour sleepers. Unfortunately you’re only as strong as your weakest link. Number five wakes intermittently through the night…every night! Medically she’s fine (had her checked). Do you have any advice for this? Dx

    • says

      I would say that the same principle applies. Maybe she just needs the reassurance that you’re there, so continuing this process when she wakes in the night might reassure her that she is not alone and that she can relax and go to sleep.

      I hope you manage to get this sorted out, Debbie. I know how hard this is – especially with FOUR great sleepers! In my eyes, you’re supermama already!

      Please let me know what happens. Xoxo

    • Naomi G says

      Well, let me just add more joy… After Jemimah said “nigh nigh Mum” I told her I was just going to the kitchen to clean some cups (thought some simple detail would help!) and that I would be back to blow her another kiss (cos I can’t reach her over her cot!) when I’d finished… I went back like I said, and their she was, lying there AWAKE, but QUIET!!! This is in STARK contrast to how it’s been if I dared leave her in her cot awake for the past 8 months. She screams like no child I’ve ever known – it even rattles her “nothin’-will-bother-me” Dad – unbelievable! And she doesn’t let up. But all along I’ve known it’s me that’s causing the problem… but being so tired, avoiding the crying by helping her to settle has been the only way I can cope… To go from that to this in one swoop is so amazing… I’m very hopeful we’ve turned a big corner, and very grateful indeed! Night! :o)

  3. Ashley says

    Hello, I saw this post on Mamapedia and followed over to the original. I need help!

    I’m very intrigued by the post and the comments that follow. I very much like that there is no leaving the baby or child to cry it out, and so I want to try this. I tried a bit last night, but ran into trouble with the “callbacks.” How do you handle those call backs to the room to cover up or turn a pillow or find a lovey — all those things they think of to get you back in the room?! We average 10 callbacks a night. And then several wakings in the night to cover them up, find a binky, etc. I have almost three-year-old twin girls. They sleep together on a mattress. They have slept through the night (meaning medical definition of 5 continuous hours) fewer than 10 nights since they were born. I am exhausted.

    You may say to handle it similarly to the initial bedtime routine, and I guess I’m asking for more specifics. What words to say when I come back in — or when I’m leaving after a callback?

    • Naomi G says

      Good luck with your girls settling during the night, Ashley… I’m interested in suggested specifics for during the night call-backs too, as at the moment, usually half way through the night, my now-wonderful-settler will wake… and she’ll come in with us… But I’m gearing up for the next round of challenges, and the first on my list will be to encourage my girl to love her cot for the night!!! I’m certain there’ll be call-backs and I want to be armed ;o) …

    • says

      Hi Ashley and Naomi, thanks for taking the time to comment. The callbacks are their very clever way of getting you in there. The only advice I can give is to explain that if they throw things out of the cot, they don’t get them back. This is a hard lesson to learn but it is so important to make it clear what the boundaries are.

      With my first child, she kept throwing her dummy (pacifier) out of the cot. Eventually, we simply left it on the floor. She screamed like mad, but we continued to go in on the ‘down’ cries and continue the mantra without the dummy. After 30 minutes, she was fine without it and didn’t ask for it ever again. Little Man understood after throwing his blankie on the floor and being told that if he did it again, he wouldn’t get it back, that it wasn’t worth throwing it.

      They are smarter than you think.

      Stay strong. When you go in to do the positive entries, stay calm, relaxed and friendly. Maintain eye contact and treat them with love. BUT don’t let them control the situation – YOU are the parent, YOU have to set the boundaries. It’s not cruel – it’s teaching them to self-soothe, to independently and deeply sleep and to ultimately be better rested little people, with a greater ability to learn and develop.

      Best of luck! Please let me know how you go.

  4. Laura Rivero says

    I’m trying this for her nap as I am typing and it’s been 49 mins and my 21 mth old is still crying. My daughter sleeps 11-12 hours at night , but her naps are always hard. I even put her down awake at night and hardly cries. My daughter sleeps on us. I don’t know how else to break the bad habit. How long do I do this for ? She’s been up since 5:30am. My daughter is strong will and seems like she won’t quit until I get her out of the crib. I need help !! I am up since 2am since I have to be at work at 3am. What do I do ? Please help.

    Exhausted ‘


    • says

      Oh Laura, so sorry you’re having such a rough time! Wish I could help you but there are so many variables. All I can suggest is that you remain consistent, keep going and keep positive. If you’re really struggling, please do contact Andrea Bogue (her details are included above). I know she does telephone consultations and she really will be able to help you.

      Best of luck xo

  5. C says

    Thank you so much for writing this… After reading your words I called Andrea and after 2 nights I have finally had my first full nights sleep since my little poppet arrived into the world 9 1/2 months ago. Best money I have ever spent! No more rocking, shhhing or tip toeing around my house.

  6. Lori says

    This technique really works !!! I live in The States and my amazing sis-in-law shared this amazing method for our son !! It brought back peace and relaxation during bed time again nd that was a year and half Ago!!! Thanks a Millon times over!!!!

  7. Tiffany says

    Im currently cosleeping with my son who turned 2 months today. Do you think this would work with a baby so young? I’m not quite ready to transition him out of our bed but maybe soon. Or maybe start with daytime naps? And just so I get the gist of this, you put them in the crib happily, kiss them, walk out. When they stop crying go back in and do the same routine until they fall asleep? Then just let them sleep? What about when they wake up from the nap and cry?

    • says

      Hi Tiffany, I definitely wouldn’t try this method with a baby under 6 months at the youngest. You can, however, start using the basic philosophy if creating a bedtime routine, special song, etc. in the meantime, enjoy the co-sleeping and the special closeness it gives you :)

      • Tiffany says

        Thanks. I love it. My husband (who now sleeps in the spare room) thinks its bad. It’s looked down upon in the US. But I sleep better and so does my son. I’m not looking forward to sleeping without him but I’m definitely looking forward for cuddling with my husband again.

  8. Jessica R says

    I am going to try this starting tomorrow. 8 months of next to no sleep is taking it’s toll!
    My 8 month old went through a week of only waking once which was great but the last month has been waking up to 5 times a night.
    i really need some sleep!!

  9. Nicole Weeks says

    Thanks for the post. I’m interested in a couple of things. For context my baby is 7 months old. I tried this for about 30 minutes.
    Firstly – do you not find that coming in and out distracts and wakes them when they’re beginning to fall asleep? In my short attempt I found he’d be singing himself to sleep. I’d walk in, then when I walk out he’d scream again.
    Secondly – I want my baby to know I’m around, but will come when he needs me – I pressume they still cry out for real needs. Pain etc.
    Thanks again.

  10. Holly says

    I love this idea and will be trying, if they wake crying in the morning but the fine is ok so say 6.30 do you try to wake for a break then or just go in and say good morning?
    I am hoping the night waking may stop once they feel secure!!
    Also do you keep going in and saying back soon every few minutes until there asleep?
    Thank you very much for sharing

  11. Kelly Baldwin says


  12. gloria says

    thank you for sharing, I implemented everything you said and it worked, I think it only worked as I had spent a day at a sleep clinic a few months ago, they taught me to recognise my bub screaming at me versus her crying…once I knew the difference it was much easier to let her “scream” at me before going in and consoling her.i never timed it, i just went in and rewarded her when she stopped screaming….its day 2 now and we are all happier. Bub is not only sleeping but eating better too and is happier……so thank you for this gift.

  13. Michele says

    I hope you are still reading comments! I live in the states and have never heard of this method, want to give it a go with my 13 month old. Do I do the pop in and actually wake him up to reassure him? And do the same throughout the night?

    • Sarah says

      It doesn’t sound to me like you wake LO up, per se, but rather you go back in as they’re falling asleep, tell them how good they are, then leave. I would think that once as they’re falling asleep and once after sleep has set in would be good. But then again I’m just another sleep deprived mommy in the states. :-) Good luck.

  14. Anonymous says

    What do you do if your child gets MORE upset when you come in to check on them? My son seems to fall asleep better when we just let him cry but then he wakes up within a few hours. When I check on him, he cries longer, gets more exhausted, passes out and then wakes up within 30 minutes.

  15. Cibele says

    Hi! I´m Cibele and I´m from Brazil. First of all, sorry for my terrible english. I have an 8 month baby named Helena. She is an angel, but she wants to breastfeed several times every night. And if I try to not feed her, oh-my-good-God! What can I do? Please help me!! Do you know anyone in Brazil, that can do the same work that amazing Andrea Bogue did with you? I really need some help! Thank´s for your attention… Cibele

  16. Hollie says

    I’m at the end of my rope with my 6 month old son. He’s an awful sleeper. I’m sleep deprived and crying daily. I’m so anxiety ridden at night I’m nauseous waiting for his next wake up. I need a plan of attack. How many nights did this take? My son was recently sick (double ear infection and respirory infection) and since his sickness he’s been waking multiple times in the middle of the night, sometimes for close to 1 1/2 hrs awake. Does this work for tempormental children? I’m against CIO but feel this is my only hope.

  17. Anonymous says

    This seems like it would make sense but only for a baby old enough to understand. How old was your daughter when you were doing this? How old did your “baby whisperer” recommend that this kind of sleep training start?

  18. Karen says

    What do you do if your child gets MORE upset when you come in to check on them? And should you touch them when you go in and repeat the manta? My little guy is 7 months and he just seems to get more upset when we go into the room repeat the mantra and leave. He’s never slept through the night and we are constantly getting up in the night to settle hi,, I’m exhausted and beyond frustrated!

    • says

      Hi Karen, thanks for writing in. I found that, in the beginning, she would seem distressed but she was in fact voicing her anger that we weren’t patting/singing/hypnotising.. You get it. I would continue to keep going in, smiling and happy and reassuring. Find the spaces between the angry cry and praise him for being such a good boy. He will read your body language and see you’re calm and unworried and he will follow suit. Then follow the pattern. He’ll get it. Right now. I’d say he’s protesting the change and letting you know he’d prefer your old way. That’s okay! You just have to let him know that this is the new way and that it’s wonderful!

      Wishing you luck! If you have any more problems, you should consider a telephone consult with Andrea (her number is at the end of the post)

      Take care!

      • Luise says

        Hi :) this all Sound really good. How old was your baby when you started doing this. We have a seven week old – is he too Young for this you Think?

        • says

          Hi luise, I definitely would not recommend this with a 7 week old baby. This method is only going to work with a baby older than six months. Wishing you lots of luck. On the mean time, enjoy cuddling and bonding with your precious baby.

  19. catherine bevilacqua says

    Hi there, I just started bdoing this today with my DD. She will only go to sleep with boob. I was doing the PU?PD method and it worked at frist but then regression happened. So far it has worked after 15-20 minutes. I went in after she turned over and went to sleep. I said the mantra and she turned, wept for a second, turned back, and went to sleep. I went in again a few minutes later and said it again in a lower voice but not a whisper. HSe didn’t respond that time and continued sleeping. My questions are;
    1. My DD never naps longer then 45 minutes. I’d like her to consolidate to three naps of 90 mins, 90 mins, and 30-45 mins. If she wakes at the 45 min mark crying, should I do the method over again till she falls back to sleep?
    2. My DD sleeps 11-12 hours at night but does cry to eat (in her sleep), then I feed her (in her sleep), and put her back down without an issue. Should I not be feeding her anymore? She will really only nurse when sleepy or asleep. :/

  20. Ericka says

    This made me so encouraged & excited for bedtime! My babygirl is 5 months old. I’ve tried everything. & being a single mom, I am exhausted & at the end of my rope. I just started letting her always sleep when I was ready & in my bed because it wasn’t worth the fight.

    I’m trying this method for the first time tonight. & she’s been screaming for 40 minutes. :( I try to reward her between breaths or when she stops for a minute. But when she sees me, she screams. Any advice?

  21. Kami says

    Hi! I’ve been using this technique for naps today. So far, this has been wonderful! Usually naps are a headache but this feels like such a loving and easy way to help him nap. I’m booking marking this and will be sharing with my mommy friends. Thanks so much for posting this! I’m hoping I continue to have this kind of success.

    • says

      Thank you for sharing that, Kami. When we learned this method I HAD to share it because it is such a compassionate, beautiful way to teach our precious babies to sleep independently and deeply.

  22. Patricia says

    Am so happy and excited to have come across your blog. After 9 months of no sleep and having tried everything else, reading this has given me hope. I realized that my son probably just needed some encouragement and positivity to stay asleep. I am against the CIO method and would rather have another year of sleepless nights rather than let him cry it out. I still cosleep with my son, and am just wondering if this method can be implemented somehow be adjusted to work for us? I have to say, I just tried the positive reinforcement tactic and lay down beside him to sleep for the night without patting/shooshing/nursing and he somehow miraculously decided he was sleepy after about 20 mins of lying down beside me and talking and just closed his eyes. Which he’s never, ever done when I’ve put him to sleep 4 times a day for 9 months now! I believe this method WILL work, I am just hoping for tips for a cosleeping parent? Thank you so much, am forever grateful!!!!

  23. Kelly says

    Thank you for this! We have been struggling with sleep training and we tried your method tonight and it worked like a charm. I got him calmed down in his bed and told him I’d be back in a few minutes and then he put himself to sleep! Anxious to see how the rest of the night goes! Thanks again.

  24. Jade says

    My 5.5month old refuses to nap. Maybe she will in the car or I have rocked her to sleep a few times when she hasn’t fought me on the idea. I try 3 times a day to get her to nap, when I see the tired cues. Yet she doesn’t sleep. I’ve started the method above today. Still no naps, she was calm in bed for 30mins each attempt- I checked in her every 5mins to praise, then she would cry the next 30mins. I would go into the room in between crying breaths. I know that teaching a baby to sleep will take time. How long do you recommend I try this? I’m very keen to keep trying, there has to be a way ahead. My LO usually sleeps from 6.30pm, feed at 9 then hopefully managed to get back to sleep by 11pm then usually sleeps till 6am. There had been some crazy nights of no sleep, but usually ok. It’s just the day naps that are an issue.

  25. Jade says

    Follow on from my post. Yes this method works! I’ve kept at it and she has been napping for 2 days, they have only been 45mins long but it’s amazing for my LO as she never napped! Thankyou thankyou!

  26. says

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!! I can’t thank you enough for making this post. I’m so glad I found it. I was really struggling with finding a good way to help my 6 month old learn to sleep on his own, but I didn’t want to do the old ‘cry it out’ method. This worked so well and on day 3 (tonight) he fell asleep on his own with no crying in about 10 minutes!! I’m sharing this with everyone I know that has babies.

  27. Anna says

    What do you do if your. LO stops crying, so you go in to praise him, but as soon as he sees your (happy) face he starts screaming again? Do you still praise him for the brief quiet moment while he’s crying?

    • says

      You smile reassuringly and happily and say “mummy is coming back, good boy going to sleep so beautifully” and walk out again. You let him know that you are not afraid for him so he shouldn’t be either. Then you keep going. Soon enough, he will realise that you are continuously coming in to check in in him and he doesn’t need to call out for you. At this point, he will stop crying because he will be confident that he is not alone and that you will be repeatedly checking in. This will give him the sense of confidence and security he needs to relax and fall asleep. Best of luck!

  28. Sarah says

    So I’ve been going in and out of my sons room for an hour and a half and the longest we’ve gone without crying is 20 seconds. We’ve got 11 months of conditioning to undo, so im not expecting miracles here, but how long should I expect it to take? Is there a point when it’s time to stop for the night and just nurse him to sleep?

  29. Ria says

    Hi. I’m trying your method with my 9 month old. What if she cries so hard and gags herself until she throws up? I’ve been going in to clean up the vomit, but I feel like she’s doing it just to get me to go in but I shouldn’t let her roll around in her vomit.

    • WordPress.com Support says

      Ria, I am no sleep expert and have to admit that I have no idea what my Baby Whisperer would advise. I would hate for your baby to be so traumatised that she is vomiting as this is supposed to be a gentle and positive experience for her. I strongly advise you to contact Andrea Bogue (her number is in the post) for advice. Wishing you luck and sending you love.

      • Ria Pullin says

        I was worried before but after a bit she calmed down once I calmed down.

        I just did the same technique for her second nap and she didn’t cry as hard. It only took 15 minutes and she’s fast asleep and I went in and praised her during her quiet moments. Sorry, momentary panic and hopefully that was the last time she gets that upset. It took 45 mins total to get her down the first nap and she slept for 93 minutes and it only took 15 minutes this time. Thank you for responding so quickly and I’m so hopeful this will be a permanent solution for us!

        • WordPress.com Support says

          Oh, I am so happy to hear that. Wishing you many nights of peaceful and happy sleep!

  30. Kat says

    Thank you for this blog post. I have a 6 month old and haven’t slept more than an hour and a half since he was born. Needless to say, I am VERY excited to try this method. I would however love to talk with Andrea. I live in the states though. Do you think she would do email consultations?

    • WordPress.com Support says

      Only start after the age of 6 months. Before then, baby isn’t developmentally capable of learning what needs to be learned here. Wishing you luck!

  31. says

    I’m going to try this tonight! This is the type of info I’ve been looking for. I want to exhaust options before I fully do cry-it-out. Thank you thank you thank you for sharing your information!

    • WordPress.com Support says

      Exactly the same response as when you re-enter after putting baby to bed. Upbeat, calm, “hello baby! I see you’re up. It’s still sleep time so go back to sleep and mum will be back to visit in a minute. Night night!” Then smile and walk out and continue as you did at bedtime.

      I promise it works! Good luck :)

      • Nadia says

        Thanks. So last night tried it and she went to sleep after a half hour but then she woke up in the middle of the night. I was up for two hours going in and out praising when she was calm and quiet. She did finally fall asleep with very little crying. Is there a limit of how often you should go in? Like if baby is still awake after 30 minutes, do you just stop going in?

        Also tried it for a nap right now. It went horribly bad. She was calm for about 20 minutes then became hysterical… Coughing, sobbing, and having a hard time catching her breath. She cried even more with each time I walked out. Then picked her up twice because she wasn’t even calming down with me patting her. Then I tried putting her back in the crib and before I could she started going hysterical again! Felt so bad and frustrated. Eventually gave in and laid her on the floor with me and patted and she fell asleep. Poor girl was breathing heavy and hair was soaked from sweating. I moved her into the crib once she fell asleep. I know I shouldn’t of given in but not sure how I was supposed to handle that. Would love your thoughts. Thanks!!

        • WordPress.com Support says

          You know, I’m not a baby sleep expert and I don’t know what Andrea Bogue’s advice would be (I recommend calling her, 100% worth your while) but my gut says that you did the right thing. Here’s why: I think that sometimes out little ones are too tired for a “lesson” and it’s wise to call it quits and start again the next day. Your mama-sense told you that. I’ll bet anything that when you put her to bed tomorrow, she’ll respond beautifully to her sleep training, being tested and ready to learn.

          I wish you only the best and I hope you experience success with this. Sleep is underrated!

  32. Erin says

    Hi there, I was just wondering…you mentioned you have 3 children…my 3rd is 8 months and has begun to wake a couple of times a night (after having slept through previously) and won’t settle until he has had a bottle (and now that he is sitting/crawling, he refuses to lie down and be soothed to sleep).

    The problem is, he shares a room with his 3 year old brother, so while with my other children I could allow a bit of crying and self soothing, I’m really wary of him disturbing his brothers sleep.

    Did your children ever have to share a room? Do you have any advice how to deal with this?

    Thanks for any suggestions you are able to give xoxo

    • WordPress.com Support says

      Hi Erin, thanks for commenting here. I never had children sharing a room but we did have issues over holidays away where we had to settle kids sharing rooms and we found that, as long as we let the other child know what we were doing, the other child (mostly) just rolled over and slept through it all.

      So, my advice would be to continue as you would if your 8 month old was in his own room. The disruption shouldn’t be for more than a couple of nights and it will be worth it because he will learn that he can’t manipulate the situation based on circumstance.

      If you still need help, I strongly recommend contacting Andrea Bogue (number in the blog post) and arrange a telephone or skype consult. She is a miracle worker.

      Wishing you success, peace and lots of sleep!

  33. Jen says

    Hi I have two questions:

    1) Does Andrea Bogue have an email address? I’m in the states but would be interested in contacting her.

    2) Do you know what the approach would be for 2 issues:
    A) My daughter is juuuust 6 mos, but has a only partially resolved medical issue (food sensitivities) that the doctor has said just isn’t going to get any better. She wakes 5-6 times per night (but only 1 feeding), and it isn’t clear if she just needs to get better at self soothing, or if her tummy is bothering her enough to wake her up. She’s pretty happy during the day.

    B) Pacifier “hell” – i.e. she has become reliant upon a pacifier to soothe herself to sleep whenever she surfaces at night or during naps. Meaning, she needs me to put it back in for her :( We’ve tackled most of her other sleep crutches successfully (she’s no longer held, nursed, or touched to go to sleep), but I’m dreading getting rid of the pacifier and not sure if she’ll be able to settle back to sleep easily without it.

    • Theycallmemummy says

      Hi Jen, I feel for you1 I was there, in that same pacifier-jail boat as you and Andrea fixed it all. I don’t have her email address but I know you can contact her via telephone and book in a Skype session. Good luck!

      • Jen says

        Thanks I may try skyping her.

        What did you do for the pacifier? Cold turkey? Teach her to put it back in herself? We’re trying Pantley’s pull-off method right now, with a little progress but not much.

  34. Jen says

    It’s working, hooray!

    So we’ve used this method for almost 3 weeks with our 9 month old and have seen a huge improvement! The week prior to starting this she was waking an average of 7 times a night (sometimes as many as 10), and taking 45 minutes to go to sleep at bedtime or naps. And during her naps she would wake up every 10 minutes (and stay awake if you weren’t there to pop the binky in immediately!). Our baby had food sensitivities, so she has had a lot of trouble sleeping up until now.

    The first few days it took a long time for her to go down, and her naps were short, but she was pretty cheerful about the whole thing. Around day 4, she tarted having fewer night wakings, going to sleep faster, and napping independently! By day 18 she was only waking up 3 times a night, going to sleep within about 10 minutes at bedtime and naps, and staying asleep during naps for 90-120 minutes! Her morning wake-up time has gotten much more consistent, too. Huge improvement, and although it was noticeable quite quickly, it continued at a gradual pace. She has gotten sick, so I don’t expect any continued improvements till she’s better, but oh my gosh is life more livable already. And very little crying throughout the whole process. I’m hopeful that she will continue to have steady improvement after she gets better.

    P.S. For anyone who’s baby takes a binky (dummy), we did let her keep it. We make her go to sleep without it at bedtime, but she has them at naps and when she wakes during the night. We spend a couple weeks before sleep training teaching her to put it back in herself (instead of doing it for her).

  35. Erin says

    Hi, I’m wondering what you would do if bub (11months) starts sitting, crawling or standing as soon as he’s placed in the cot (and crying!). Do you physically lie him back down, tell him to lie down or ignore this and just use the verbal cues? I’m also concerned that our bub will not have breaks in his crying that we can reward, when he gets upset he just seems to escalate and really work himself up quite quickly. Iworries that t will turn into a situation where he cries hysterically until I can’t take anymore and settle him in my arms or by feeding as usual and this’s worry obviously won’t help with the plan to be calm and positive from the beginning?! Any suggestions welcome!!!

  36. Ciara says

    This sounded amazing when I first read it. Everything about it makes perfect sense. I was so excited because I am against the CIO method, but desperately needed something since my daughter never sleeps unless she is cuddling and nursing. However, my daughter’s screams never subsided, like others have posted as well. So, when she calmed down just a bit to take a breath, I would go in and smile and be very enthusiast. Then she screamed even more for me to pick her up. I would repeat the process of letting her know that mommy is coming right back, and she began to sit up and wait for me…. Then she began to stand up and wait for me. How is she supposed to fall asleep if she won’t let herself lay down? I’m very discouraged…. She is 9 months. I’ve never had this much sleep trouble with my now 3 year old.

  37. Louise says

    Hi. I’ve tried this with my 7 month old and it seemed to be working for the first three nights but now he wakes every hour. Any suggestions? What time intervals do you go in? And do you feed bsby overnight at all?

  38. Ros says

    Thank you for posting this idea. We had got ourselves into a bit of a pickle with sleep, mainly because our poor little girl has suffered terribly with reflux, primarily caused by food intolerances. After finally getting medication that worked and finally figuring out the primary food culprits, we were left with a beautiful 18 month old girl who simply couldn’t go to sleep by herself. I am adamantly against CIO but we had often resorted to taking our girl out in the car to get her to sleep, sometimes even in the middle of the night, it was quite frankly getting dangerous (driving with sleep deprivation in the small hours of the morning is not something I recommend to anyone). We are only on night two of this method but it seems to be very effective with minimal distress- I like the fact that you check so regularly on your little one. I remember going to a friends house and listening to them ‘sleep train’ their child which left their child crying for 2 hours straight and promising to my girl that I would never to that to her. But we needed to find something to resolve her sleeping habits. As soon as I read this method is seemed to make sense and so far it is working, there are still some tears but she calms down quickly and even started singing and talking to herself before dropping off to sleep tonight. I can’t even begin to tell you my relief! Fingers crossed it keeps working!


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