Fading Sleep Training

Learn About the Bedtime Fading Method for Baby Sleep Training

When it comes to baby sleep, some parents have no problem with it, while for others, it’s a constant battle at every stage. No one knows your baby like you do so it’s important to remember that every baby is different and reaches milestones, like sleeping through the night, in their own time.

Having a nighttime routine can be really helpful and with so many sleep training techniques to try, find the one that will work best given not just your baby’s temperament, but yours as well.

Sleep training can be challenging to say the least. A lot of parents like the fading technique for sleep training because it encourages independence without necessarily letting your baby cry it out. Keep reading for some more FAQs about the bedtime fading method.

What is the fading sleep training method?

The fading sleep training method is different from the fade out method of sleep training which entails literally “fading out” the part of the routine where you rock or feed your baby, gradually, over the course of a few days. This supports the idea that baby will fall asleep independently and involves what is called “timed check-ins.” That means you get baby ready for sleep, leave the room and come back in short intervals – typically no more than 5 minutes – to offer any reassurance your baby may need.  

The fading method, which is different from the above, is based on the theory that if a baby isn’t ready for sleep, they won’t willingly go down. The fading approach involves paying attention to your baby’s sleep habits and cues, and adjusting their schedule to find the bedtime that works best. The goal is to arrive at little to no resistance to bedtime.

Does the fading method work?

Like with all sleep training techniques, the fading method works if you stick with it. Sleep training takes patience and persistence, and for some, sleep training of any kind can be stressful. No one likes to see their baby in distress and let’s face it, up until now they have relied on you for absolutely everything! So “training” them to become independent, particularly at night when they’re alone in their sleep space, is an ongoing process. Only you will know what’s best for your baby and if they end up learning to fall asleep on their own after a few fitful nights, then it was worth it.

Why use the bedtime fading method?

Babycenter.com has this to say about bedtime fading and fading sleep training:

“Fading advocates say self-soothing is an essential skill all children need to master on their journey to independence, just like learning to walk. Rocking or nursing your baby to sleep is wonderfully cozy, but the risk is that he'll end up relying on you to comfort him every time he wakes during the night.

The fading approach helps parents find the right balance between helping too much and too little.”

How do you do bedtime fading?

According to the website What to Expect, these are the steps for bedtime fading:

The bedtime fading method of sleep training involves a little sleuthing around before you actually start to shift her tuck-in hour. Here’s how to begin the process:

  • Keep a log. Jot down your baby’s sleep times so you can track when she usually naps and settles at night. Use the time your baby naturally falls asleep at night as her temporary bedtime, even if it’s a late hour like 10 p.m.
  • Learn the cues. Fussing, eye rubbing, ear pulling, turning her head and yawning are all signs your baby is tired and needs to head to bed.
  • Start your routine. Once you know her sleep signals and her current bedtime, begin the tuck-in process ahead of time, including a bath, book, one more feeding and a little song.
  • Offer comfort. If she cries, wait a bit before going to her as she may pipe down on her own. But if she doesn’t, pick her up for an interval of 20 or 30 minutes and try again.
  • Shift her bedtime. Every couple of nights, move her bedtime 15 minutes earlier or later, depending on your goal for the ideal new bedtime, and follow the tuck-in process, keeping it low-key and calm.
  • Arrive at the new hour. Keep shifting her bedtime by 15 minutes every couple of nights until you’ve settled on a new time that suits both your schedule and your baby’s sleep needs. A bedtime of between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. generally works best for babies.

What are the best tips to sleep training a baby?

Consistency and more consistency. Have we mentioned being consistent? Establishing healthy “getting ready for sleep” routines is an important part of sleep training. These cues may change as baby grows older, but they should essentially stay the same…. Bath, books, food, snuggle time, soft music, lower lights… eventually these things will become routine, all of which signals it’s time for bed!

A great tool to help with sleep training is Dreamland Baby’s line of products, all designed with better sleep in mind. Whether it’s your newborn who loves our weighted sleep swaddle, or your toddler who prefers to sleep in our weighted sleep sack, our products are designed to help baby feel calm, fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer. The gentle weight naturally reduces stress and increases relaxation through deep-pressure stimulation to give baby feelings of security and comfort - just like a hug!  This typically results in longer stretches of quality sleep for baby… which means everyone gets a good night’s sleep, too!

What can you do to help a baby fall asleep quicker?

When done correctly, sleep training can be done over a 3-4 night period on average. For some families, however, sleep training takes weeks and changes again as new milestones are reached. Typically, the first few nights of sleep training can be difficult as baby learns to self soothe, fall asleep, and/or stay asleep independently.  But once your little one understands that quality sleep is possible without the additional feeding, snuggling, and rocking they’ve become so accustomed to, it’s time for everyone under the same roof to enjoy the benefits of better sleep!

How do weighted sleep sacks improve baby sleep?

The Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sacks are good for baby because the gentle weight helps them feel secure and “held.”  This can also help calm a fussy baby and help him fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Sleep sacks also eliminate the need for anything extra in baby’s crib. No blankets, no toys, just baby in his crib, bassinet or co-sleeper, in nothing but his wearable blanket - which according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), is the safest way for baby to sleep. 

Keep in mind, weighted sleep sacks are considered safe as long as the weight of the sleep sack is no more than 10% of your baby’s body weight. So a 10-pound baby should wear a sleep sack weighing no more than one pound. A 20- pound baby should wear a sleep sack no more than 2 pounds, and so on. As your child grows older, there is some wiggle room by about a pound or two, so always read the manufacturer’s instructions, and when in doubt about anything baby related, consult with your pediatrician.

Dream Weighted Sleep Swaddle, 0-6 months