You asked

When do I start and what are the stages of sleep training?

Sleep training is helping the baby to learn to sleep through the night. Some babies just seem to fall into a regular routine quickly and easily. But others have either difficulty in getting to sleep, or getting back to sleep once they have been wakened. These babies may require some intervention on your part to help settle them into a routine.

All families have different expectations when it comes to sleep patterns. An eight or nine month old baby that wakes up twice during a night may have one family upset and unable to tolerate this habit, while another family may enjoy the nightly awakenings as time to be with baby. If sleep is a problem for your family, then you may want to consider some of the following points.

• Some babies are born good sleepers. Others are born fussy or wakeful and perhaps just need a little more structure or more cuddling to help them sleep better.

• Every baby is unique. So if the sleep strategies you developed for previous children aren't working with this baby, try something new or different.

• Use what method, or parts of a method that works best for the baby. It isn't necessary to follow any one method to the letter. Perhaps one part will work just fine for your baby.

• Common sense sometimes is the best "method." Parents will often find their own ways of getting their babies into good sleep habits. If it's not broken, don't fix it.

There are parents who are anxious to begin sleep training as soon as they get home from the hospital; babies aren't ready for training for the first few months of life. What can be done is make sure that the baby's room is conducive to sleeping, so there will be a foundation to begin sleep training in the future.

Try these tips to help baby learn the difference between sleep and awake time:

1.    Help the baby to regulate their internal clock by exposing them to indirect sunlight or daylight in between nap times.
2.    Have the baby take their naps in their own room.
3.    Have room darkening curtains in the baby's room.
4.    Place a white noise machine with a continuous function in the baby's room.
5.    Keep the ambient temperature of baby's room between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
6.    Remove any crib mobiles and electronic crib toys. Babies don't need these objects and they may actually keep the baby from sleeping well.

More questions

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Colic won’t harm your baby in any way and most babies outgrow it by the time they are between three months and four months old.
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