All About Weissbluth Sleep Training

How Is Weissbluth Sleep Training Different from Ferber Sleep Training?

Looking forward to nighttime is something that new parents will dread each night. The newest addition to your family is the one who isn’t letting anyone get any sleep! At this point, it seems like uninterrupted and peaceful nights of sleep are so far in the past they you can’t even remember what it was like! You might think that there is no solution in sight. The joys of parenthood…

You might have heard the term “Ferberizing” before or from somewhere. This is referring to the Ferber sleep training method that you can read up on my post here. In this post though, we’ll be going over the alternative – the Weissbluth sleep training method. This method is named after Dr. Mark Weissbluth, the author of “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child”. Dr. Weissbluth believes that a child’s sleeping patterns indicate their quality of life. He also thinks that parents can utilize routine and consistency to ultimately improve their child’s sleeping habits. This is where the Weissbluth sleep training method revolves around. This method and the Ferber method are completely two different methods, and I’m going to cover the differences between them below.

What Is Weissbluth Sleep Training?

Dr. Weissbluth created this sleep training method around the idea that by implementing quality sleep guidelines as soon as your baby first starts coming home, will create a foundation for them to avoid several sleep problems in their future. One reason why parents typically get this method and the Ferber sleep training method mixed up is because both these methods share the similarity of allowing your baby to cry and learn how to self-soothe themselves. Despite a common similarity, these methods and what they entail are quite different from each other.

In the Ferber sleep training method, parents make regular check-ins at steady increasing intervals to their child’s room to give them comfort and reassurance. The difference between Ferber sleep training and this particular method – the parent does not provide their child comfort from crying and waking up throughout the night.

In this method, the first step is to let your baby down for sleep as early as possible. The second step is to not go to your baby’s room in any circumstance, unless you absolutely have to (in case of an emergency). Dr. Weissbluth also suggests to begin implementing longer sleep intervals throughout the night. He suggests doing this regardless, even if your baby experiences shorter naps throughout the day.

The main goal behind this sleep training method is the result of high-quality sleep for your baby. Dr. Weissbluth claims that his method produces the fastest results out of both his and the Ferber method. This is most likely because your baby will learn to self-soothe themselves. They’ll most likely achieve this faster simply because you won’t be responding to their cries and will advance in a quicker period of time compared to Ferber sleep training method.

This sleep training method should be able to show you some results in just 3 to 4 days, compared to the Ferber sleep training method which takes potentially two weeks to notice an improvement. However, this method is highly dependent on watching for when your baby is tired and laying them down for sleep immediately once you notice that they are showing signs sleepiness.

I had the opportunity to test out both methods during my daughter’s sleep regression. From me personally AND my daughter, the Weissbluth method is much more effective for us. I’m sure the results will differ between parents and their children due to the uniqueness of their needs for sleep and how they react, but the great part is that parents can pick and choose between both methods and find out which method works best for them.

Tips to Increase Success with the Weissbluth Method

If you’re going to give this method a go, you should definitely ask your pediatrician for any advice beforehand. It’s not recommended to use this method for babies who are younger than six months old, because they will still be waking up throughout the night for a feeding and/or changing. It’s a wonderful idea to get your baby checked for any possible medical conditions or other factors that might be keeping them awake before you begin any sleep training method.

Here Are Some Tips That Will Definitely Help Your Success Rate:

  • The Early Bird Catches the Worm – This is probably the most beneficial tip for using this sleep training method. By starting as early as you can, you and your baby will be able to capitalize on the benefits that sleep training has to offer. By creating habits that are beneficial for your baby’s sleep early in their life, it will be easier for them to learn how to get to sleep and stay asleep, which will result in you and them getting much more needed sleep.
  • Establish Your Own Daytime Nap Cycle for Them. Even if this doesn’t sound like the most logical option, naps are absolutely crucial when you are trying to sleep-train your child. Naps throughout the day will help even out your baby and prevent them from becoming too tired at night. Plus, it should help with their normal circadian rhythm development. It’s suggested that you use a morning nap roughly at 9 AM, a middle of the day nap at roughly 12 to 2 PM (if your baby is under nine months old), and a third nap sometime in the evening.
  • Support Is Key – Sleep training is hard, and you are going to want all the support you can possibly get. Regardless if you’re using the Weissbluth method or the Ferber method, putting all the responsibility and stress that comes along with sleep training, let alone babies in general, is not something that one person should have to handle. Try to get all the help from your family and even friends if you are able to.
  • Sleepy, But Still Awake – When you are putting your baby down to sleep, make sure that they aren’t so tired to the point that they are exhausted. They should show signs of sleepiness, but still be awake. This tip can be applied to sleep training in general, and your goal for the most part should be getting your baby to fall asleep when they are still awake, but drowsy.
  • Consistency Is the Key – Once you finally found a rhythm that works for you and your baby, take note of everything you did so that you can keep repeating it. This way, your baby can learn the patterns that you apply to their day and night-time routines so that they can soothe themselves to sleep and stay asleep. Sleep routines seem to work faster based on the maturity of the baby. If you can’t see yourself without checking in on your baby, you might want to try a different sleep training method, or an alternative solution that’s more fitting to your parenting style.

How Exactly Should I Do the Sleep Training Portion?

The best time and the ideal time to put your baby in their crib is when they are showing signs of sleepiness. They shouldn’t be completely asleep when you put them in their crib. Some of the most common signs of sleepiness include a cranky baby, a baby who is not alert, or something as simple as rubbing their eyes are all signs that your baby wants to go to sleep.

Remember that you shouldn’t rock or feed your baby to sleep when you’re using this method. Rather, you should be letting them fuss around in their crib. By intervening too much, and helping them fall sleep entirely from things you do, you’ll prevent them from sleeping throughout the night, because they’ll want you to help them get back to sleep each time. Try giving them a comfort item, or use a regular toy/object every day and use a night time routine to keep your baby asleep.

Leave the room even if your baby is crying. You can even listen right outside the door and hear if anything changes. Another great idea is to use a baby camera, so that when you do leave the room, you can have eyes and ears on them even without you being there. It’s a great idea to keep an eye on them while following the correct instructions for implementing the Weissbluth sleep training. As time passes, your child will eventually fall sleep without you in the room.

Never cut corners and take away their nighttime sleep and switch it out for daytime sleep. Yes, your baby needs naps throughout the day, but you don’t want do anything to disrupt their nighttime sleep, especially if you have a routine already set. If you notice that your baby seems to be more awake the following day, you can try skipping a nap instead and trying to reach bed time with minimal changes to the schedule as possible.

Is Weissbluth Sleep Training Worth It?

While Weissbluth sleep training is different from Ferber sleep training, it’s similar enough in the sense that you are implementing the “cry it out” method with its own twists of not checking in on your baby. You might dismiss this method based on the fact that you’re going to need to not check-in on them when you hear them crying or in distress. That’s perfectly okay too.

This method has been studied before, and doesn’t have any negative psychological effects on your baby. This is a great method for parents to consider, because self-soothing is an absolutely vital skill for your baby to learn so that they can get to sleep by themselves, as well as getting rid of bad sleep associations that they might’ve developed. It is absolutely worth a try if you are interested, but you can always take a look at the Ferber method if you prefer checking in on them instead. You can read about that here.

Good luck to all parents who are trying these methods or any form of sleep training. I know it’s difficult, frustrating, and can take quite a while before you get things right. Feel free to ask any questions or leave comments below as always!

About the Author Elizabeth

Hi everyone, I'm Elizabeth. My beautiful daughter Alice keeps me awake occasionally...but when I'm busy and can't sleep, I post parenting tips and different ways you can get your baby to sleep soundly through the night, and even naps!