The Difference Between Sleep Training and Sleep Schedules

Healthy Slumber for Mother and Child- Sleep Training vs. Sleep Schedules

Beauty sleep for new mothers can sound like a far-fetched idea. It is a familiar story; it goes like this…. baby doesn’t like to sleep in his crib, he doesn’t fall asleep with ease, or he cries a lot at night.’ After a hard day of work, all that a mother craves for is to sleep like a baby, but that might not be possible without sleep training and managing your child’s sleep schedules.

A study published in the journal of the National Sleep Foundation shows that babies have different sleep patterns at every stage in life. A newborn under three months would undoubtedly need up to 17 hours of sleep every day. Infants between 4 and 11 months need at least 12 hours every day while toddlers between 1 and two years need at least 11 hours of sleep. Preschoolers of age 3 to 5 years need no less than 10 hours of shut-eye.
There is a whole world of information out there on sleep schedules and sleep training. The most important thing, however, is getting your baby to sleep enough hours on a routine that also allows you to rest well.


Sleep Schedules vs. Sleep Training

Despite common belief, there is a clear difference between sleep schedules and sleep training. The significant difference is age- even before they are ready to start sleep training, toddlers have a sleep schedule derived from their natural sleeping cycle. Parents may need both sleep training and schedules to facilitate healthy sleeping habits in their child. Sleep schedule adapts to a baby’s sleeping needs. It is essential that during the first six months a mother tries to understand her child and adapt to his/her needs. Sleep training, on the other hand, starts after six weeks to enable the child to sleep with ease.
With sleep schedules, the baby naturally falls asleep without inducements. There is no sleeping routine. Sleep training, on the other hand, relies on methods like a warm bath, dim lights, lullaby and bedtime stories. Training capitalizes on external stimuli to teach the child to sleep and wake up at the right time.

The right schedules follow the baby’s behavioral cues as to when they start getting sleepy, how frequent they wake during the night and nap during the day. Babies naturally outgrow them with age, physical and cognitive development. Training doesn’t need to rely on the baby’s behavioral patterns and age- it seeks to reinforce proper sleeping patterns through mental conditioning.

With work and other daily routines, mothers have to embrace sleep training to ensure that they also get enough rest at night. Sleep training aims to reduce nighttime wakes. The psychological conditioning relies on timely feeding, playing and resting. Sleep schedules, on the other hand, are majorly observatory. As a mother, you take time to understand a child’s sleeping needs to facilitate a healthy pattern in the future.

Your child will always have a different sleeping schedule. It is their signature pattern that speaks not only of their age but also internal factors such as wellness and rate of metabolism. Sleep training on the hand is extremely flexible. You can share the same techniques as your neighbor whose child is a little older, bigger or of a different gender.


Parents plan periods of sleeping and waking for their babies to promote good health. Sleep schedules, however, vary depending on age and the child’s natural sleeping behaviors. Mothers should try to keep the sleeping schedule updated adapted with time.

0-6 Months

Under six months of age, babies require between 14 and 17 hours of sleep every day. Newborns can only stay awake for a maximum of two hours before they start feeling drowsy. Before sleep training, parents should first try to understand the child’s sleeping patterns. T
he day starts as early as 6 am after 13 or 14 hours of sleep. During the day, your baby will have three naps totaling around 5 hours of sleep. They might also sleep a bit earlier at night. From 7 or 8 pm he/she will sleep for five straight hours before waking up for feeding.
Set a flexible sleeping schedule pegged for your child’s needs. Sleep training cannot start until they are six months old, so this the time to train yourself to follow their schedule. A baby’s sleep cycle is primarily made up of two stages- rapid eye movement and non-rapid eye movement. A newborn would spend half their sleeping time in each step, with one cycle lasting for about an hour.

During this period, you can learn essential cues that will come in hand during the sleep training period. Observe how they start to act when tired and drowsy-most babies cry while rubbing the eyes. You want to catch you child before they are over tired and exhausted. By doing this your child will learn to fall asleep with little assistance. You will also be able to reduce nighttime wakes because they will be more likely to calm on their own when they awake during the night. Equally, your baby should learn the difference between day and night. Let them be active during the day. You can go for a stroll with them or let them play with toys. Even for babies too young to play, opening the shades to allow in daylight is served as a cue. Night times need to be quiet and calm with dim lights. Sleep training techniques advocate for routines such as a warm bath, and a bedtime story in a soothing voice.

6-9 months

For infants between 6 and nine months needing 12 hours of sleep, parents would schedule two naps during the day between feeding and playing, and a long rest at night with feeding or soothing at intervals of six hours.

The six months period is also a time when much is happening with the child. For starters, they have started teething at this period and learning about their environmental these new experiences will impact your child’s sleeping patterns. Through proper guidance, your child can be a sound sleeper. Full night sleeps- at age six months and beyond, it is likely that your child will sleep through the night without the need for night time feeding. Together with the two-hour naps during the day the total amount of time would come to between 12 and 15 hours.

Nevertheless, since your child is developing motor skills and becoming active, they will likely wake up frequently by rolling over. Combined with the teething pain, you might have to bring your best soothing skills on board. It also calls on flexibility on your sleeping schedule to be there for them. As they approach the one year mark, many babies reduce their daytime napping hours. If he or she is still napping three times during the day, you might want to shorten the last one towards evening. This will help them sleep better with little night wakes.


Experts give the go-ahead for sleep training for babies ages six weeks and older. Sleep training is essentially the process of teaching a baby to sleep with ease and stay asleep through the night. It helps with babies who have trouble falling asleep, and those who keep their mothers sleepless with night wakes and crying at 3 am.

Preparing your child for training

For your baby to quickly learn the favorable sleeping patterns you have in mind, below are ways to make him/her ready for the training. Medical checkup- sleep and wellness are joined at the hip. If your baby has poor sleeping patterns, the underlying factor could be ill health or a medical condition. Consider talking to a pediatrician before starting the training program.

Daytime schedule

Day time routines have an impact on how much the baby sleeps at night. A predictable daytime schedule can help the baby settle in faster and make it through the night. Aim to feed them, read them stories, and lay them to nap at the same time every day.

Bedtime routine

For ages between 6 months and five years, you can start training your baby to adjust to a bedtime routine. This psychological conditioning achieves the same effect as a lullaby. It could be a warm bath and a bedtime story before bed, white noise or dimming the light. Bedtime -bedtime should be consistent. Pick a time between 7 and 8 pm after their evening meal. Sleeping is much more comfortable when they aren’t overtired.

Sleep Training Techniques

There are many techniques designed to improve the sleeping habits of your baby. You can customize a method that best suits your child’s situation. Also, in all the formulas, scientists insist on consistency as the key to success.

Start on a training method that you will follow through without confusing the baby. The success of these techniques is also pegged on how the child responds to them. You might have to choose a new approach or pause for a few days to pick up again if your child doesn’t like a technique.

The Cry It Out Approach

The developers of this technique advocate that it is okay to let your child cry out when you put them to bed and leave the room. However, you are not to completely ignore a child’s cry at night. It is a pragmatic approach that aims to help the child learn to sleep on their own through short periods of crying and comforting as they lie in the crib

You are not advised to pick them up when they cry at night. Pediatricians agree that for your baby to go back to sleep when they awake in the middle of the night, they must learn to soothe themselves. When used wisely, the Cry Out approach may let you have a peace of mind and beauty a night’s sleep.

The No Tears approach

The No Tears approach is the exact opposite of the Cry Out method. With no tears approach, you are encouraged to comfort the baby until they fall asleep and to do the same again when they awake and let out a battle cry.

Many parents find this to be a demanding approach – it is more suitable for days when you are well rested. You can train your girl or boy to fall asleep on their own if you are quick to answer to her cries. This method relies on assurance. You will have to rush to him/her quickly and assure her that you are there, then leave the room shortly. Your presence is all. You are not required to pick her up or play with her.

The Fading Approach sleep

The fading approach falls in the middle of the no tears, and the cry put technique. In this training, parents are advised to sit near the baby in their room until they fall asleep. You will be comforting the baby when they need to, but every night, you will be moving your chair further and further away from the crib till they learn how to soothe themselves.

Ensuring Your baby Stays on Routine

Feed them during the day. Encourage the baby to feed enough during the day, so they don’t wake at night because of hunger. Let the baby crawl and play more during the day, so they are craving for rest by nightfall. This way they will learn to understand that daytime is for eating and playing and night time for sleeping.

Don’t respond every time they wake up. Even adults wake during the night and go back to dose off afterwards. It is the same for kids. Allow the baby to fall asleep by themselves when they awake in the night. But of course, you will have to attend to them if the crying doesn’t stop. Open the blinds during the day- It is wise to help your babies understand the difference between night and day. Open the blinds to let in the light, even when they are napping during the day. On the other hand, their room should be quiet and dark at darkness.


Mothering is probably the most demanding job on the land, but when the years pass, and you see them healthy and conquering the world you will pat yourself on the back. For now, schedules and training as discussed above will help you get through the night shifts.’

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