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Effective Sleep Training Methods for Your Baby: The Camping Out Method

Sleep training baby can be a polarizing issue, there are so many different sleep training methods and everyone has their preferred method 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 Camping Out Method.


In This Article 


What is the Camping Out Sleep Training Method?

How Does the Camping Out Sleep Training Method Work?

Common Questions From New Parents 

Camping Out Method

 This method of sleep training is known by many names: the Chair Method, the Settle and Leave Method, but most commonly the Camping Out Method. Whichever name it goes by, it’s always considered one of the most gentle sleep training methods available to parents. Second only to the Pick-Up-Put-Down Method of sleep training, where a baby is picked up and comforted each time they fuss.

The Camping Out Method is a safe and potentially effective type of sleep training that can have a positive impact on your  family’s sleep when used properly. But as with all sleep training styles,  that doesn’t mean it’s right for every baby and every family. There are many sleep training methods that can help your baby develop good sleep habits. So, if one doesn’t work for your little one, try a different method!


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 lightly 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 Neonatal Nurse and Sleep Consultant Cara Dumaplin

What is the Camping Out Sleep Training Method?

The image of a parent camped out in a nursery rocking chair is the quintessential picture of early parenthood for good reason. Before baby learns self-soothing techniques they have trouble settling to sleep on their own. And that’s where parents come in! 

Baby asleep in Nested Bean Zen Sack.

Camping Out is a more gentle sleep training technique that is very commonly applied by parents. Sometimes they don’t even know they’re using it!

Essentially, with this sleep training method you stay in the room with your baby to help them settle down in preparation for sleep. Pull up a chair or set up some pillows next to their crib, and you can lay your hand on their chest or gently stroke them until they calm down. 

Camping out can help with sleep and settling problems in older babies and young children. It can also help with older children who are having problems getting to sleep, particularly if they feel anxious or frightened.  -

The goal with the Camping Out sleep training method is to eventually, slowly begin comforting your baby less and less until they are able to self-soothe and get to sleep on their own! 

How Does the Camping Out Sleep Training Method Work?

This sleep training method is centered around gradually reducing the amount of time you spend comforting your little one before they fall asleep. 

Expectant mom folding laundry in baby's nursery.

Step #1: 

For the first night, set up a mattress, pillows and blankets, or simply a chair next to your baby’s crib. Then lie or sit next to baby’s crib while you lightly pat or stroke them as they fall asleep. When your little one falls asleep you can quietly leave the room.

Step #2:

After you’ve spent a few nights touching your baby to help them soothe to sleep, begin shortening the amount of time you're comforting them through touch each night. The goal is that eventually they will be able to fall asleep without any physical contact. 

Step #3:

Once your baby can fall asleep without your touch, move your mattress or chair a foot or two away from the crib. After your baby falls asleep you can leave the room. 

Step #4:

Keep moving your mattress or chair gradually further away from the crib until you are completely out of the room. 

Step #5:

If your baby wakes up fussing during the middle of the night simply get back into your mattress or chair, whichever step you are at, and wait until your little one falls back asleep. 


A great way to help your baby along in their sleep training journey is to develop a consistent bedtime routine for them. This routine can include a bath, bedtime story, rocking in a calm, quiet nursery, and putting on their favorite sleep sack or sleep swaddle. Their bedtime routine 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. Adding this into your baby's routine will undoubtedly set them up for a good night!


Other Resources

American Academy of Pediatrics: Benefits of Behavioral Infant Sleep Intervention

National Library of Medicine: Infant sleep training: rest easy?


Common questions about the camping out method

What Type of Method is Camping Out Sleep Training?

The Camping Out Method is considered one of the least aggressive, most gradual methods. It allows parents to comfort their babies while working toward a more independent sleep routine.

Is Sleep Training Bad for Babies?

The term sleep training can often be controversial. It can conjure images of babies in a room alone crying for hours, but that's not the true intention of sleep training. When used correctly and with an understanding that sleep training styles can be modified to fit your baby's needs, sleep training is more like a teaching. It's a mechanism for your baby to learn how to fall asleep and connect sleep cycles independently. Which is intended to make their nights more peaceful.

Do All Babies Need Sleep Training?

No, certainly not. Although there are many different types of sleep training, some families choose to forego it completely. Sleep training doesn't work for all babies, and that is completely normal. There could be other things going on with your baby that are preventing them from being receptive to sleep training techniques, like them not being developmentally ready yet or even separation anxiety.

How Does Zen Sleepwear™ Help My Baby with Sleep Training?

Zen Sleepwear™ is gently weighted in key areas to mimic a parent’s touch on their chest. That soothing sensation helps babies feel more calm, so they can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

You Might Also Like…

Effective Sleep Training Methods for Your Baby: The Fading Method

Effective Sleep Training Methods for Your Baby: The Ferber Method

Sleep Training Guide: How to sleep train & when to start sleep training

Sleep Training Q +A with Taking Cara Babies

Athena S.

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