Can You Sleep Train a Newborn?

Posted by in No-Cry Newborn Sleep

Parents of newborns are very tired people. Sleep becomes their holy grail. In their blurry-eyed state they sometimes they ask really crazy questions. Can you sleep train a newborn? is the one of the irrational questions that sleep-deprived people ask. Here are four reasons that that question doesn’t make any sense:


Gabriel, 5 day old

Reason 1: They already know how to sleep.

In the womb babies sleep twenty hours a day or more. That is a lot of practice. Clearly they already know how to sleep, so no training is necessary!

Reason 2: They aren’t old enough to learn anything.

“Training” is defined as the act of teaching someone a particular skill. Have you ever seen a newborn baby? They function purely on instinct and reflex. The idea that you can actually “teach them” doesn’t make sense, particularly because sleep is a biological function.

Reason 3: They are hungry. All the time.

In the womb a baby was fed through the umbilical cord 24/7. Even if you feed an infant every hour or two it’s still a drastic reduction of incoming nourishment. And a newborn stomach is incredibly tiny. At birth it’s only about the size of a cherry. By one month it’s still only about the size of an egg. And with an easily-digestible diet this itsy-bitsy stomach fills and empties almost instantaneously.

Reason 4:  They grow at the speed of light.

Newborns typically double their birth weight in the first three to six months. To make sense of that – take your current weight. Double it. And imagine what it would take to do that in three to six months! And new babies achieve this incredible amount of growth on a liquid diet with a mini-sized stomach.  Frequent feedings are the means to their growth and survival – day and night.


So what’s a parent to do?

As difficult as it may be for parents to respond to a multitude of night-wakings during the newborn months, it’s a reality that newborns will wake up for nighttime feedings, and they can’t be trained out of it. However, there is good news!

If you understand that newborns need a massive amount of sleep, day and night, but also that you cannot possibly train them to sleep “through the night,” you can accept that this is normal infant behavior. And by respecting, instead of fighting your newborn’s sleep needs, you’ll find that your baby sleeps more peacefully, and also, that this sleepless time passes quickly.

For learning more about how newborn babies sleep plus many tips and suggestions for helping your new baby sleep better, check out The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Newborns.