Gentle sleep training methods

Gentle Sleep Training Methods Explained: Top 5 Main Methods

With so many different sleep training methods out there, it can be hard to know where to start. However, it’s crucial to find a sleep training method that aligns with your parenting style and one that’s gentle and effective. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some gentle sleep training methods that can help you and your baby sleep better.

Gentle sleep training methods are a more gentle approach to helping your baby learn how to fall asleep and stay asleep. The five main approaches are: gradual extinction, the pick-up/put-down method, fading, nap consolidation, and scheduled awakenings. These methods involve working with your baby’s individual needs and gradually encouraging healthier sleep habits.

Gentle sleep training methods are a great way to sleep train your baby or toddler without the stress and fuss of other cry-it-out sleep training methods. Many moms, including myself, have found gentle sleep training methods to be very effective. For a more in-depth look at what gentle sleep training methods are, and further explanation of the five main approaches, continue reading. We’ll cover each one in depth, plus a few more, so you can make the decision of which gentle sleep training methods work best for you.

Gentle Sleep Training Methods Explained

Contrary to popular belief, sleep training doesn’t have to involve hours of crying and distress for your little one. Allowing your baby to cry for extended periods through the night can have more negative effects than it is beneficial. Gentle sleep training methods prioritize your child’s emotional wellbeing and aim to create a calming and soothing bedtime routine that fosters healthy sleep habits for both the parent and the child.

These methods often involve techniques such as gradual, fading, pick-up-put-down, and the no-cry method. Some parents even used co-sleep as a way to gradually sleep train their little ones. The purpose of using gentle sleep training methods is to teach your baby to fall asleep on their own and stay asleep without the use of cry-it-out methods.

The five main approaches of gentle sleep training are gradual extinction, the pick-up/put-down method, fading, nap consolidation, and scheduled awakenings. By implementing these gentle strategies, your baby can learn to fall asleep independently and feel secure and comforted throughout the night. Let’s look at each one in more detail, as well as a few others.

The Gradual Sleep Training Method

The gradual sleep training method involves slowly weaning your baby off of nighttime feedings or bedtime rocking, and comforting them during the night. It’s a gentle approach that takes time, but it can be effective in helping your baby learn to self-soothe and gradually sleep for longer periods. Start by setting a feeding schedule and slightly stretching out the time between feedings each night. You can also try gradually reducing the amount of time you spend comforting your baby during the night until they feel comfortable enough to sleep on their own.

The Pick-Up/Put-Down Sleep Training Method

The pick-up/put-down method involves picking your baby up when they start to cry and putting them back down once they’ve calmed down. This method can be helpful for babies who need reassurance. Start by putting your baby down awake and staying with them until they fall asleep. If they wake up during the night, pick them up and console them until they’re calm, and then put them back down again. Repeat as needed, and over time, your baby should learn to become comfortable with being in bed throughout the night.

This is the method that’s worked best for my son. It took a little time, and a lot of patience, but was very well worth it. In the end he felt confident enough to sleep in bed through the night knowing that he is safe and I am near.

The Fading Sleep Training Method

The fading method involves gradually reducing the amount of comfort you give your baby during the night. This method can be helpful for babies who have trouble falling asleep independently. Start by comforting your baby as you usually do, but gradually reduce the amount of time you spend with them each night until they can fall asleep on their own. This method can take time, but it’s a gentle approach that can be effective for some babies.

The Nap Consolidation Sleep Training Method

The nap consolidation method involves reducing the number of daytime naps and consolidating them into one or two longer naps. This can help your baby get more consistent, quality sleep during the day and wake up less frequently during the night. Start by reducing the amount of time your baby sleeps in a day until they are taking one or two consistent naps during the day.

The goal is to allow your baby to spend time during the day using their energy to learn, play, and spend time with loved one, with consistent rest breaks. By using their energy to learn, play, and explore, they will be ready to sleep and easier to console during the night. Allowing one or two consistent nap during the day ensure they aren’t over-tired, or overstimulated which can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep during the night.

The Scheduled Awakenings Sleep Training Method

The scheduled awakenings method involves setting a consistent wake-up time for your baby. This is a great way to teach your baby the difference between night and day, and get them into a routine of waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day. Start by getting up with your baby when they start stirring in the morning, which helps them to associate that time with waking up. You can also try using a noise machine or playing white noise while your baby is sleeping to help condition them to the sound of their alarm clock when it goes off in the morning.

The Bedtime Routine Method

The bedtime routine method involves creating a consistent bedtime routine that helps your baby wind down and prepare for sleep. This method can be helpful for babies who have trouble falling asleep or settling down at night. Start by establishing a consistent bedtime routine that includes calming activities like a warm bath, reading a book, or singing a lullaby. Stick to this routine every night, and over time, your baby should associate these activities with sleep and have an easier time falling and staying asleep.

The Co-Sleeping Method

The co-sleeping method involves sleeping in the same room or bed as your baby. This method can be helpful for breastfeeding moms, babies who need frequent comfort, or for those who just want to keep a close eye on their little one. However, it’s important to remember that safe co-sleeping practices should always be followed to prevent any potential hazards. Co-sleeping is the best option for every family.


Sleep training can be a difficult and emotional journey, but implementing gentle sleep training methods can help your baby learn to sleep comfortably, while also giving you peace of mind. It’s crucial to find a method that aligns with your parenting style and one that’s effective and sustainable in the long term. Remember, every baby is unique, so it may take some trial and error to find the right method for your little one. Above all, be patient, stay consistent, and trust yourself as you navigate this new adventure of motherhood.

Further Reading

Attachment Parenting Sleep Training: Breakdown, Plus 7 Helpful Tips

Gentle Parenting: What Is It and Why It Works

Recommended Resources

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