Kim West (aka The Sleep Lady) has helped parents the world over get their babies sleeping through the night. Kim’s methods are gentle and baby-centred, so if you can’t bear to spend evenings standing outside the nursery door listening to crying, this might be the sleep plan for you. Her Sleep Lady Shuffle is suitable for babies from six months.
Here’s how it works: The first night, you put your baby down in the cot, drowsy but still awake, and sit in a chair next to the cot, holding her hand, stroking or patting if you need to, until she falls asleep. If she gets distressed, do whatever you need to do to calm her down, then start again. Once she’s got the hang of that, do exactly the same but ‘shuffle’ your chair a small distance away from the cot.
Over the next few nights you’ll progressively move your chair further away until it’s at the door, then just outside the door, and eventually you should find you can put her in her cot, say ‘night night’ and walk out. If she wakes in the night, you use exactly the same methods. The idea is not only will it get your baby going down easily at night but also will help her sleep through the night. The Sleep Shuffle teaches her to fall asleep on her own, so if she wakes she should be able to soothe herself back to sleep.
Might suit parents who:
Want a really gentle method of sleep training.
Might not suit parents who:
Are looking for super-fast results. This really does work but you need to commit a couple of weeks to it and you should reap the rewards for years.
Best age to try it at: Any time from six months.
"We tried the Sleep Shuffle when Tristan was about 10 months. I’d been cuddling him to sleep until then but it meant I often didn’t get downstairs until nearly 9pm! Other sleep plans failed because he’d cry hysterically when I left the room and get so distraught, sometimes to the point of being sick in his cot. I couldn’t cope with the tears – or three changes of bedding each night!"
"The Sleep Shuffle appealed to me because it seemed like a way to break the pattern of cuddling him to sleep but without us both getting upset. ‘It did take a few weeks, and sometimes it was two steps forward, one step back, but we got there eventually. Now I put him to bed, pull his door to, and then potter about putting clothes away for a few minutes before I go downstairs. Tristan’s happier for it, and sleeps through the night better, too – and I’ve got my evenings back!" Lucy, mum to Tristan, 18 months.
Want to read the book? The Sleep Lady’s Good Night Sleep Tight by Kim West