newborn baby sleeping
Sleep New Baby Night Waking

Sleep Training Tips You Can Start Tonight (That Don’t Include Crying It Out)

By Emily Ramirez
This post was written in partnership with HarperCollins and contains affiliate links. All of the opinions and sleep fantasies are our own.

As someone who went 0/2 with good sleepers, I spent a lot of time hunting for sleep training tips.

In that process, I learned that sleep training doesn’t have to be the black and white, one size fits all program it can feel like when you’re researching it. There are so many options, ranging from small changes you can make today, to more rigorous and structured plans you can consider down the road if needed.

I also learned I was not the first person to struggle with that whole “drowsy but awake” thing, which is why when HarperCollins sent me their new book, Dozy Bear and the Secret of Sleep, it seemed like a great chance to partner up on a post about gentle ways of getting the job done.

dozy bear and the secret of sleep
Dozy Bear

If you’re looking for some ways to start laying the groundwork for good sleep habits, or even some possible solutions for transitioning your almost sleeper into a bonafide actual sleeper, these are a few things you can try tonight.

Sleep training tips

lectrofan sound machine Sleep Training Tips

Get creative with sound

Carefully curated sound can be used to not only block out environmental distractions (read: screaming toddler), but also provide a sense of security by mimicking the sounds baby would hear in the womb.

There are many different ways to do this. Using a noise machine (Lectrofan is my favorite) which creates a steady stream of sound, can be incredibly helpful.

An interesting note about sounds: There is a whole rainbow of sounds, ranging from white to black noise. White noise gets a lot of attention, but its high frequency, static-like sound can be too much for some. Pink noise, like the hum of a fan or an air conditioner, has a mix of high and low frequencies and has been shown to promote deeper sleep. Brown noise brings it even a notch lower with more bass tones and can be compared to the sound of the wind, or ocean waves. You can also completely ditch the colored noise for something like whale sounds, or you know, Barry Manilow. The point is, don’t be afraid to experiment. You never know what might work for your mini-audiophile.

lavender to help baby sleep

Follow your nose

Scent can be a powerful tool to help signal it’s time to cut the crap and get ye butt to bed. Incorporating a specific smell into your routine can not only help serve as another gentle reminder that bedtime is coming but some scents, like lavender, for example, are believed to be calming in nature.

Earth Mama and Honest Company all have products that have been tested and proven to be safe for your demon of the night adorable little baby, though not all babies will tolerate scented products.

It’s also worth mentioning essential oils since they are big right now. The safety of essential oil use on and around babies is not clear. Some sources will say it’s fine, while others are very staunchly against it. I personally think the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and if you are considering using them, I’d suggest researching it to make sure it is safe for your situation.

mom singing to baby to help baby sleep

Put those golden pipes to use

Consistency is key with establishing a bedtime routine, and even something as simple as singing or humming the same song a few times can be an effective cue that gets the message across. It’s one of the easiest sleep training tips out there.

baby massage to help baby sleep training

Let your hands do the talking

Who doesn’t love a good massage? Using massage as part of your nightly routine can not only serve as a cue that bedtime has arrived, but it can also help promote better sleep. It’s also free, and an excuse to give those chubby baby legs an extra squeeze.

Don’t be afraid of the dark

Keeping the house bright during the day, and making sure the room is dark at night can help promote a healthy circadian rhythm, and therefore assist in training your little to sleep like one of those peaceful angel babies in the diaper commercials. Black out curtains might become your new best friend when you realize the sun doesn’t set until 9pm, a full two hours past baby’s bedtime.

mom reading to baby

Take your book game to the next level

Reading before bed isn’t a novel concept (ha!), but there are special books out there designed to induce sleep. Dozy Bear and the Secret of Sleep truly teaches your child how to relax and fall asleep. It uses rhythmic prose, artful design that mimics the colors of the transition of dusk to dark, and includes lines like “Deep, long breaths, innn – and – ouuuuuuut, inn – and – ouuuuuuut, innn – and – ouuuuuuut.

As you read the book you realize how many tricks and techniques there are to learning how to wind down and go to sleep that we just acquire over time (or don’t) so I love that it’s all compiled in a sweet, gentle book so kids have these tools right from the get go.

No guarantees it won’t also work on you, so get your affairs in order before cracking the (book) spine, ya hear?

Just as with any kid advice, not all of this (or any of this) will work for everyone. But these sleep training tips are simple enough and affordable enough to at least give them a shot before busting out the big guns (read: wine and ear plugs). Good luck, my fellow non-sleepers! Sending restful thoughts your way.

Our next reco: Newborn Sleep: Start With This One Goal

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