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No Cry Sleep Training: How To Gently and Effectively Teach Your Baby To Sleep

No Cry Sleep Training

Sleep training is for evil people who hate their babies and like to hear them cry.  Is that the impression you’ve gotten when you’ve tried to find help on how to get your baby to sleep?  I’ve seen the judgment come out when someone posts about sleep training in mom groups online.  It can be brutal!

Here’s the thing.  Sleep training doesn’t mean that you are mean and selfish.  It just means you want your baby to get the best sleep he can and learn healthy sleep habits.  And yes, it means you might just want enough sleep to function.

If you are uncomfortable with the idea of sleep training you are not doomed to a life of exhaustion.  Here are 5 ways to help sleep train your baby without crying.

picture of a sleeping baby

No Cry Sleep Training

Sleep training without crying it out is completely possible. I used this no cry sleep method with all three of my kids. Yep, that includes twins. Twins that shared a room.

This method of sleep training works well with babies, and you can use it with toddlers too. Sleep training toddlers can be hard, but it is worth it to provide the good rest your family needs.

Sleep Training Isn’t Evil

Before we get into the how of sleep training, let’s take a look at the what and why.  Why do we sleep train?  Well, the short answer is we all like to sleep.  But in reality, sleep is a life skill that babies are not born knowing.

The definition of the word train is ‘to teach a person a particular skill or behavior.’  And that is what you do as a parent.  You teach your child how to sleep.  Sure, it would be great if it was intuitive, but for most babies, it is not.

Sleep is important for physical development and mental development, as any baby sleep site will tell you.  The only problem is that life is super new and exciting when you are brand new!  That means babies need help learning how to sleep.

Adults need sleep too.  We all know when we become parents we are going to be tired.  But being tired and being chronically exhausted are not the same thing.

We all function better with enough rest.  Pilots aren’t allowed to fly a plane if they haven’t had enough sleep.  People’s lives are on the line.

But we’re supposed to take care of helpless newborns on two hours of broken sleep a night for two months? Heck, we’re supposed to still drive around, work, take care of our family, and do everything while sleep deprived for months?

Sure, sounds reasonable.  Oh, wait, no it doesn’t.  It sounds very unsafe actually.  So wanting to encourage your baby to sleep so you too can rest is not selfish.

It’s healthy and a part of safety for everyone a parent interacts with, especially that newborn baby.

The no cry sleep training solution. You can teach your baby to sleep without crying it out. Learn how we successfully helped 3 kids (including twins!) learn to sleep at night using this gentle sleep training method. #sleep #sleeptraining #baby #training #naps #infant #twins #babytwins #babywise #nocry #nocrysleeptraining

Gentle Sleep Training

I am pro sleep training. That doesn’t mean I am pro cry it out sleep training.  I am not here to argue with those methods, they just weren’t for me.  If my child needs me in the middle of the night I go to them, no matter what.

I am pro sleep teaching, which meant I needed a no cry sleep solution.  Fortunately, there are multiple sleep training methods, and we did sleep train in our own way.  You can encourage good sleep habits without tears.

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Sleep Training Without Cry It Out

1. Create a Good Sleep Environment

Your baby needs a good sleep environment.  This doesn’t mean they need the most adorable nursery in the world.  They need a place to sleep that is safe and conducive to sleep.

A dark room, a bassinet or crib, a sound machine, and a swaddle.  Newborn babies sleep almost anywhere.  (It’s awesome, I wish I could do that.)  But as they get older that doesn’t work as well.  They need a place that screams sleep at them to help make positive sleep associations.

Decide on what sleep props you are comfortable using.  I love pacifiers, but that doesn’t mean it is a necessity.  Just think through what you are willing to use long term.

A good sleep environment will help your child realize this is time to sleep not play, will help with falling asleep, and will help them stay asleep.  (Get sleep prop recommendations from 8 real moms who love sleep: The Best Sleep Props)

2. Have a Consistent Bedtime Routine

A consistent bedtime routine teaches children that they are making the transition from awake time to sleep time.  And yes, babies benefit from this as well.

A good routine lets them know that sleep is expected.  It also helps your baby to understand that they can relax and don’t have to be hyper-aware of the world around them for a while.

A core bedtime routine can be very brief and grows with your child.  We use 4 main parts in the bedtime routines of our children.  The fun parts can change, but having a consistent routine will help your baby learn to sleep. (Learn the core parts of a good bedtime routine: Easy and Effective Bedtime Routines)

3. Keep a Consistent Daily Wake Time

I think most of us know that having a consistent bedtime is important.  But having a consistent wake time is just as important.

Think about it.  If you sleep in on a Sunday but still have to wake up early on Monday, it can be really hard to get to sleep on time Sunday night.  (Or at least it was before you had kids.)

Babies are the same way.  They are more likely to fall into a natural pattern in their days if they start at the same time every day.  How do you do this?

Your wake time is the first feeding of the day that is followed by awake time.  It is hard to stick to that time when a newborn actually sleeps in a bit, but it is worth it, in the long run, to keep that time the same. (Learn the value of the daily wake time: Setting Your Schedule Step One: Daily Wake Times)

4. Wake Your Babies To Eat During the Day

What?!  Wake a sleeping baby?  Yes.  100% yes.  During the day I wake my babies to eat.

Newborns generally have one long chunk of sleep in a 24 hour period.  I want the long chunk to be at night when I get to sleep too.  So don’t let your baby’s one five-hour stretch be in the middle of the day when you are awake.

More than that, if babies don’t get all the calories they need during the day they will wake up for them at night.  Wake that baby up and feed him.  It is hard at the moment, but it will help you out in the long-term.

5. Top Off the Tank Before Bed (aka Dream Feed)

I love the dream feed.  This is when you feed your baby after they have already gone to bed at night, but before you go to bed, generally between 9-11pm.

You don’t fully wake up your baby, try to keep everything as peaceful and sleep-inducing as possible.  Just wake your baby enough for them to eat.

This does a few things.  It gently resets the sleep cycle so you get that long sleep right as you are going to sleep.  It also makes sure your baby is nice and full, also helping your baby sleep longer while you are sleeping.

If my baby needs to eat every three hours, I don’t want to be trying to sleep an hour before she needs to eat again. I want to maximize my sleep by starting it as soon as my baby has eaten.  So top of the tank before you go to bed. (And yes, you can do a dream feed with twins.  Click here to learn how.)

How to sleep train without tears. You can help teach your baby to sleep without cry it out! Here are the tips we followed to get our babies to sleep through the night. #sleeptrain #notears #sleep #baby #newborn #babywise #twins
Want your baby to sleep at night but worry sleep training is to harsh? You can teach your baby to sleep without crying. Here are 5 tips to help your baby learn to sleep. Sleep training | No Cry Sleep | Baby Sleep | Good Sleep Habits #baby #newborn # sleep

These are five things you can do to help your baby sleep that will not cause tears.  They aren’t a guarantee your child will sleep through the night by a certain age, but they certainly help to form good sleep habits and combat common sleep problems.

As parents, we want to teach our children good sleep hygiene.  It is a skill they will need and use throughout their entire lives.  And as parents, we should get to sleep a bit too in order to be our best.  You can teach your child to sleep gently in order for your whole family to get the rest they need.

No Cry Sleep Training FAQ

Can you sleep train without crying?

Absolutely yes, you can sleep train without tears. Sleep training is about teaching your baby or toddler to self soothe and fall asleep on their own. Crying doesn’t have to be a part of the process.

How old should you start sleep training?

Most experts recommend sleep training between 4 and 6 months of age. But starting good sleep habits can start at birth.

Check with your pediatrician before attempting to drop middle of the night feedings to make sure your baby is ready to go longer between breastfeeding or formula feedings. If you think your baby is hungry, feed your baby. Good sleep habits can still be built even with nighttime feedings.

How can I teach my baby to sleep without crying?

1. Provide a good sleep environment that encourages rest.
2. Have a consistent bedtime routine that you use before naps and bedtime.
3. Have a daily wake time and your child at the same time every morning.
4. Wake your babies to eat during the day.
5. Utilize a dream feed to encourage nighttime sleep.

How can I teach my baby to sleep without crying?

1. Follow your child’s sleepy cues and get them to nap when they are drowsy but awake.
2. Use consistent key words and songs only at sleep times so your child knows it is time to rest.
3. Provide a lovey (once your child is old enough) that your child will find comforting as they fall asleep.
4. Having consistent nap and bedtimes so your child knows when sleep is expected.
5. Maintain a safe and comfortable sleep environment.

Does no cry sleep training work?

Absolutely, yes! No cry sleep training does work. It can take longer than cry it out or other extinction methods, but it does work.

We used this method on all three of our children and all slept through the night by 12 weeks old. Consistency and attention to sleep make it possible.

Looking for more help with sleep?  Try these posts!

Everything You Need to Know about Twin Sleep

How To Transition the Morning Nap to Independent Playtime

Transitions: Crib to Toddler Bed

What To Do When Your Toddler Climbs Out of the Crib

The ladies of the BFBN are tackling sleep training today!!  Be sure to visit all their posts and see what they have to say!

Christine Keys: How To Avoid Spending Money On A Sleep Consultant

Chronicles of a Babywise Mom: 6 Rules For Using Cry It Out as a Baby Sleep Training Method

Mama’s Organized Chaos: 3 Things To Try Before Hiring A Sleep Consultant

Twin Mom and More: Before You Hire a Sleep Consultant, Try These 5 Tips

Want your baby to sleep at night but worry sleep training is to harsh? You can teach your baby to sleep without crying. Here are 5 tips to help your baby learn to sleep. Sleep training | No Cry Sleep | Baby Sleep | Good Sleep Habits #baby #newborn # sleep
Want your baby to sleep at night but worry sleep training is to harsh? You can teach your baby to sleep without crying. Here are 5 tips to help your baby learn to sleep. Sleep training | No Cry Sleep | Baby Sleep | Good Sleep Habits #baby #newborn # sleep
Sleep training does not automatically equal cry it out! You can teach your baby to fall and stay asleep without just letting them cry. Here is how. #baby #sleep #training #CIO #naps #cry #it #out #babywise
Can you sleep train your baby without just resorting to cry it out? YES! You can teach healthy sleep habits without the tears. Here is a guide to help you out. (It even works with twins!!) #SleepTraining #NoCrySleepTraining #CryItOut #BabySleep #BabySleepTraining #WhenToSleepTrain #TwinSleepTraining
How to sleep train your baby gently. Yes, you can teach your baby to sleep without tears. Learn how a strong schedule, naps, and consistency will help your whole family rest, no cry it out or extinction needed. #SleepTraining #NoCrySleepTraining #BabySleep #BabywiseSleep
picture of sleeping baby with text: Real Mom Tips How To DO No Cry Sleep Training
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Wednesday 27th of November 2019

I love these tips! My seven month old is normally a great sleeper, but she's teething and having a rough time. Using a routine helped a lot. Now, she knows it's bedtime and all I have to do is turn off the light, turn on the white noise machine and get her lovey.


Wednesday 27th of November 2019

I'm so glad they helped! Teething is the worst. I hope she gets through it soon!

Vicky Glass

Sunday 4th of March 2018

We tried everything but once I stopped breastfeeding in the night he started sleeping longer (I stopped as I was expecting again and couldn't cope with 2 babies draining me). It just made me feel sad about all the previous attempts if it just turns out that he wasn't ready or needed more independence. It's still not completely effortless to get him to sleep but it's easier and it's amazing knowing that he won't wake up in the next 2 hours unless something is up #WanderingWednesday

Lori | Choosing Wisdom

Friday 2nd of March 2018

I must be evil. I did let my kids cry themselves to sleep. It wasn't extensive amounts of time. Usually, 10 minutes and I would go in to calm them down, but not get them out of bed. I found consistency to also be crucial! It is easy to let them sleep in or miss a nap, but there is always a price to pay later. Helping our kids learn to soothe themselves and sleep at regular intervals makes for healthy and happier babies and parents. #WanderingWednesday


Friday 2nd of March 2018

100% not evil! Teaching our children to sleep is so important. I'm not kidding when I say it is a life skill. Everyone needs quality sleep to function, so it is important for the entire family that baby learns to sleep. I hate the idea that teaching this skill is seen as evil. And I don't like that when people hear 'sleep training' they tend to only think of one method. There are many methods to help your child sleep, and all I can attest to is what worked for us. So that is what I write about. Every family needs to find what works for them, and I think it is awesome that you found what works for yours. Sleep matters, and teaching our kids to sleep is not evil.

Shiree | Confessions of Parenting

Wednesday 28th of February 2018

These are great tips! I have a 10-month-old that just can't seem to get the whole sleeping thing down. I think we need to get a consistent bedtime routine for him so that he can expect what comes next instead of freaking out that we are putting him in his crib for the night.


Wednesday 28th of February 2018

Consistency is hard but so helpful. Little ones are still learning what is a normal routine. I hope things get easier soon! You're doing a great job!

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