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Fading Sleep Training Method

Sleep training can be a polarizing issue, there are so many different methods and everyone has their preferred approach that works best for them. 

Here at Nested Bean we know every baby, and every family, is different. Sleep training is not a one size fits all situation. 

From the pick-up-put-down method to the cry-it-out method, there’s a reason why the spectrum of sleep training methods is so expansive - not every method works for every child

So, we’ve created resources to help break down the most popular, healthy sleep training methods. This time, we’re talking about the fading sleep training method. 

You’ll discover what makes fade it out sleep training so effective, and why parents around the world rely on it to get baby to sleep through the night. We’ll offer action steps to help you implement this approach and more advice on baby sleep in general.

Used in conjunction with baby sleep training, proper sleepwear (and maybe a good pacifier) can ease your baby’s journey to longer, more restful nights of sleep. 

Nested Bean’s weighted sleepwear soothes like a parent's touch and comes in a range of product types and sizes to grow with your baby! Zen Sleepwear is a recommended addition to sleep training by leading Sleep Consultants.  

That being said, let’s start with the basics - what is fading method sleep training?

Fading sleep training method.

What is the Fading Sleep Training Method?

Known as the Bedtime Fading Method, Fading Method, or the Fading Technique of sleep training, this is considered one of the less aggressive, more gradual methods of infant sleep training. The premise behind the fading sleep training method is that if baby isn’t ready to drift off to sleep they’ll likely resist being put down for bedtime. 

Baby asleep in Nested Bean Zen Footie.

The fading method sleep training is based on sleep patterns and cues your baby displays when they are ready to sleep. It requires a bit of investigation into your baby’s natural sleep schedule and their sleepy signs. These signs can include falling asleep, rubbing their eyes, yawning, etc.

Step one when trying to implement the fading sleep training method is to be diligent about keeping track of what time your baby naturally falls asleep. Once a specific bedtime is established you can start to shift bedtime to earlier or later depending on the schedule you want to keep. Those shifts should be gradual until you reach your desired bedtime. 

According to Sleep.org, “Once your baby is falling asleep more quickly, you can move bedtime earlier by 15 to 30 minutes. This process can be repeated until a baby's bedtime is where you want it.”

How does the Fading Method Sleep Training work?

As we mentioned, this sleep training method calls for a bit of an investigation into your little one’s natural habits and cues indicating that they are ready for bed. The best way to get started with the Fading Method is to take some time to track your baby’s natural habits. 

Mom holding baby in.

Step #1: Track Sleep Patterns and Cues

Write everything down! Keep a notebook or a pad of paper dedicated to keeping track of when your baby falls asleep naturally each night. If it’s helpful, you can also keep track of their sleepy cues in the same journal. What are the tell tale signs that your baby’s ready for bed? Maybe they rub their eyes or turn their head.

Step #2: Establish a Soothing Bedtime Routine

Once you’ve nailed down the time your baby is naturally ready for sleep. Start to develop a bedtime routine that you begin every night right before their natural sleep time. 

The bedtime routine can include a bath, bedtime story, rocking in a calm, quiet nursery, and putting on their favorite pajamas. It should be filled with soothing activities that fosters baby’s sleepiness, but most importantly it should happen like clockwork every night. 

This consistent bedtime routine will work to help cue to your baby that it’s time to start getting sleepy when going through the motions each night.

Step #3: Gradually Adjust Bedtime

Now that baby is falling asleep quickly after their nightly routine, you can begin adjusting their bedtime in 15 to 30 minute increments. If you want them to go to bed earlier than their natural sleep time, move the time you put them down to bed up by 15 minutes to start, or vice versa!

As you can see, the fading method sleep training is fairly simply and straightforward. And, it’s very gentle - so you won’t be as likely to deal with regressions or other disruptions associated with your baby fighting sleep

More Tips For Better Sleep Alongside the Association Fading Method

We hope you feel confident in your ability to implement the fading sleep training method after the step-by-step guide above! But before we wrap up this conversation on the association fading method, we want to offer a few more tips for better sleep in general:

  • Establish a Comfortable Sleep Environment: Ensure your baby’s sleep area is conducive to rest. This includes maintaining a cool, comfortable temperature, using blackout curtains to keep the room dark, and considering a white noise machine to drown out distracting sounds.
  • Daytime Naps Matter: Don’t overlook the importance of your baby nap schedule in overall sleep quality. Ensure your baby has a consistent nap schedule as it impacts their nighttime sleep. Overly tired babies often struggle more to fall asleep at night. We have a guide on when do toddlers stop napping to help you navigate this.
  • Watch the Diet: As your baby starts on solids, be mindful of their diet. Avoid foods that might cause discomfort or are harder to digest close to bedtime. Also, ensure they’re getting enough to eat during the day to prevent nighttime hunger. You may even consider dream feeds.
  • Limit Evening Stimulation: In the hours leading up to bedtime, avoid overly stimulating activities. Opt for calm, quiet play. Bright lights and loud noises can make it harder for your baby to wind down.
  • Use of Weighted Sleepwear: Consider introducing gently weighted sleepwear, like those offered by Nested Bean. The subtle weight mimics a parent’s touch, providing comfort and security, which can be particularly effective in easing the transition to sleep during sleep training. We have the best baby pajamas, best transitional sleep sack, best bamboo sleep sack, best sleep sack for winter, and even the best transition swaddle
  • Consistency in Bedtime Routine: Even as you adjust bedtime, keep the elements of your routine consistent. Whether it’s a bath, massage, story, or a lullaby, these activities should signal to your baby that it's time to wind down.
  • Parental Calmness: Babies are sensitive to their parents' emotions. If you’re calm and relaxed during bedtime routines, your baby is more likely to mirror that mood.
  • Patience with Progress: Understand that progress can be gradual. Some nights might be more challenging than others. Stay consistent with the method and adjust gently as needed.
  • Monitor and Adapt: Keep an eye on how your baby responds to changes. If certain adjustments don’t seem to work, it’s okay to reassess and try a different approach.
  • Seeking Professional Advice: If you have concerns or if your baby is having significant sleep issues, don’t hesitate to consult a pediatrician or a sleep specialist.

Implement these tips and you’ll be well on your way to better sleep for your child with the association fading method of sleep training. This means better sleep for you as a parent, too - everyone wins! 

Closing Thoughts on the Fading Sleep Training Method

Bedtime with a baby is not always as calm and stress-free as we might like, but by appropriately applying certain sleep training techniques we can help our baby get better, more consistent rest. 

According to the National Library of Medicine, in a controlled trial, bedtime fading or the Fading Method provided sleep benefits for babies that were 6 months of age or over. The study also noted that no negative effects on the child’s emotional well-being were seen from the use of the Fading Method. 

This is a safe and effective method of sleep training that can have a positive impact on your  family’s sleep when used properly. But remember, just because the Fading Method is a safe and effective method doesn’t mean it’s right for every baby and every family. 

There are many newborn sleep training methods to choose from. So, if one doesn’t work for your little one, try a different method! You can learn more about methods like the Ferber method or camping out sleep training in our blog. 

We also have tips on maintaining a good newborn bedtime routine in general, such as how to get baby to sleep through the night, conquering the crib transition, when should baby sleep in own room, signs of sleep regression in baby, how to help a teething baby sleep, and more.

At this point, though, it’s time to try the fading method sleep training - but not until you have the right sleepwear! From our weighted sleep sacks to weighted baby swaddles, and even the best baby pajamas - Nested Bean has the safe, effective solutions you need to finetune your baby’s sleep schedule

Check out our zipper swaddle, transitional swaddle, bamboo fabric swaddle, winter sleep sack, bamboo fabric sleep sack, and other sleepwear we have in store for you. After all, you can’t overlook the importance of how to dress baby for sleep. See what a difference our products can make in your parenthood journey by placing your order today!

Catherine Iannucci

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