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5 Tips For Successful Baby Sleep Training Every Parent Should Know

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, explores five essential tips for successful baby sleep training that every parent should consider.

“Newborns typically sleep in short bursts, totalling 14-17 hours daily, but without a schedule. They have shorter sleep cycles and spend more time in REM sleep, which is lighter and easier to wake up from. “For parents, Sleep becomes a series of naps rather than a full night’s rest,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“Most babies are ready for sleep training around four to six months. At this stage, they’ve typically begun to develop more predictable sleep patterns and may be able to sleep for longer stretches at night. They’re also developmentally capable of learning to self-soothe, a key skill for successful sleep training.”

Before starting sleep training, ensure your baby is healthy and check with your paediatrician to confirm it’s a suitable time to begin.

What Is Sleep Training?

Sleep training is the process of helping a baby learn to fall asleep independently and stay asleep through the night. It’s important to understand that the goal is not to force a baby to sleep but to create an environment and establish habits that encourage natural, healthy sleep patterns.

Choose the Right Method for Your Family


Several sleep training methods exist, from the Cry-It-Out (CIO) to gentler approaches like the No Tears or Chair method. The CIO method involves allowing your baby to cry for a set period before offering comfort and teaching self-soothing. In contrast, gentler methods involve a more gradual withdrawal of parental presence from your baby’s sleep process.


Research a method that aligns with your parenting philosophy and what will work best for your baby. Consistency is key, so picking a technique you can follow through with is crucial.

Establish a Consistent Bedtime Routine


A consistent bedtime routine is foundational for successful sleep training. This routine could involve a warm bath, a quiet storytime, or gentle lullabies. The aim is to create a series of predictable, calming activities that calm your baby and prepare them for sleep. Start the routine at the same time each evening to establish a regular circadian rhythm.

Create an Ideal Sleep Environment


The sleep environment can significantly impact your baby’s ability to fall and stay asleep. Ensure the room is calm, quiet, and dark. The crib should be free of toys, pillows, and blankets to minimise distractions and ensure safety. Be mindful of your baby’s sleepwear. Choose comfortable, season-appropriate pyjamas to keep your baby at a comfortable temperature throughout the night.

Be Patient and Consistent


Sleep training is not a one-night miracle. It’s a slow and steady process that requires patience and consistency. Remember the progress made during difficult times and stay the course.


If a method isn’t working after a fair trial, it’s okay to reassess and try a different approach. However, give each method enough time to see if it’s effective for your baby.

Additional Considerations


  • Responsive vs. Scheduled Check-Ins: Decide if you’ll check on your baby at set intervals or based on their cues. Both approaches have merits, but the key is to provide comfort without undoing the progress of learning to self-soothe.
  • Handling Night Wakings: Establish a consistent approach to night wakings. Decide how you’ll respond to feedings, nappy changes, and comfort needs during the night to maintain the structure of sleep training.
  • Daytime Naps: Don’t overlook the importance of daytime naps. An overtired baby may have more difficulty settling down at night.
  • Parental Support: Sleep training can be emotionally taxing for parents. It’s essential to have a support system, whether it’s your partner, family, friends, or a parenting group. Share the responsibilities and support each other through the process.


“Remember, every baby is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Be flexible, seek support when needed, and trust your instincts as a parent. With time and dedication, successful sleep training is within reach, paving the way for restful nights and happier days,” concludes Hewlett.

About Affinity Health


Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health coverage provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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