Recently, I have been asked by moms whose babies are notorious catnappers whether the Wake to Sleep method might be the way to get them extending their naps and connecting their sleep cycles. Given this, I thought it might be best to write a blog post on the pros and cons of using this method, so parents can make an educated decision on whether to try it.
The Wake to Sleep method is often used for babies who wake frequently at nap time after 1 sleep cycle (within about 30-40 mins) or wake exactly the same time every night. It is specifically designed for babies who are habitual wakers and not babies who have problems self-soothing.
What is the Wake to Sleep Method?
The way the Wake to Sleep method works is that you go in and lightly rouse your baby (e.g. slight noise, a gentle shake, etc). before they would ordinarily wake and then help them transition to the next sleep cycle by helping them reach a deeper stage of sleep. When trying this method it is best to try for 3 – 5 days to see if it has helped.
- Can potentially help a baby who is too young to start sleep training (under 4 months).
- It is risky because you could fully wake your baby and make it harder for them to return to sleep.
- If the waking is not habitual and they are waking for an entirely different reason (e.g. scheduling issues, sleep association or over tiredness) then it won’t fix the underlying problem.
- You don’t want to create a sleep association that you then have to work on breaking.
- The ultimate goal for babies is to reach them how to put themselves to sleep and to return to sleep independently. Using this method does not do this.
So should you use the Wake to Sleep method? The answer is: it depends. If you have a little baby that is still in the newborn phase you might be okay with giving it ago, but if your baby is closer to 4 months or over then it is probably not worth the risk. It is better to get to the root of the problem and teach your baby the skills they need to fall asleep and return to sleep after a sleep cycle and at brief awakenings overnight.
If you are not sure what your baby’s particular reason for these wakings are, please do not hesitate to make contact and talk this through with me. I’d be happy to help! I offer packages for many different needs and budgets.