Baby Whisperer: Sensible Sleep

The steps to take to create sensible sleep for baby. How to create healthy sleep habits for babies. Baby Whisperer sleep tips.

The steps to take to create sensible sleep for baby. How to create healthy sleep habits for babies. Baby Whisperer sleep tips.

In the book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, Tracy Hogg talks about steps to creating sensible sleep. This starts on page 172.

  • Start as you mean to go on. For more on this idea, see Baby Whisperer: Start as You Mean to Go On. In terms of sleep, just think through how you want your child to sleep in the long run. Everything you do teaches your baby. If you teach him that he needs to be rocked for 30 minutes before a nap, that is what he is going to need in order to fall asleep. I remember when Kaitlyn was 5 days old. For the first time, she wasn’t just falling asleep. I sat down and started to rock her. Before she was born, I had decided we wouldn’t start CIO until she was 3 weeks old. As I rocked her and she didn’t fall asleep, I realized that was silly. Why would I teach her to need to be rocked only to take that away a few weeks later? That didn’t seem fair to her. So I put her in her bed and braced myself. She actually went to sleep without a peep.
  • Independence is not neglect. I know we often feel guilty about teaching our kids independence, especially with our first child. But do know it is not neglect. You are doing what is best for your child.
  • Observe without intervention. Understand your baby’s sleep cycle and observe and don’t interfere with that cycle. Let baby fall asleep on own.
  • Don’t make your baby dependent on props. This is anything from a pacifier, to nursing to sleep, to being held or rocked. Know that when you use these things, you are teaching your child to be dependent on them. Also, Hogg points out that a prop is different from a transitional object. A transitional object is something your child adopts; your child chooses and controls rather than mom or dad choosing and controlling. But this doesn’t usually happen until 7-8 months old according to Hogg. Let baby discover how to calm herself.
  • Develop bedtime and naptime rituals. Do it the same way each time. See this post for more: Sleep Routines to Get Your Baby Sleeping Well.
  • Know how your baby goes to sleep. Nothing works for everyone. You must get to know your baby, and that will take some time. This is a good time to use your log: BW Tips and Tricks: Keep a Log and Problem Solving Tip: Detailed Log. I know some moms like to distract themselves during sleep training with earplugs or an iPod or something. Hogg recommends this (though she isn’t really a CIO advocate, see below). My husband would try to get me to do the same. The problem I see with such a practice is that it doesn’t allow you to get to know your baby. I have to know and monitor my babies cries. By listening each time, I get to know the pattern. I can also judge if something is wrong. So I personally like to listen and listen well (even though it is sad for me).

Hogg does not advocate CIO, though she does advocate baby learning to sleep on own. I am honestly a bit confused as to her exact CIO policy because her method for baby learning to sleep does involve crying, though she says it doesn’t. I am not really sure. If you are interested in trying her method, you will have to read her book and interpret it.

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Reader Comments/Advice:

  • Jasmine said…
    If you read her third book “The Babywhisperer Solves All Your Problems” you’ll find a lot more detail and ways to troubleshoot. In fact she provides techniques to use besides CIO that help you with getting the baby to sleep without props. She does differentiate between what she calls a mantra cry (the noises/cry a baby sometimes makes when settling) which you don’t rush into and a serious cry which you attend. The techniques used are the wind down routine, the shush/pat, and the pick up put down when appropriate. Anyway that other book helped me tremendously, and so has your blog. Thanks!The steps to take to create sensible sleep for baby. How to create healthy sleep habits for babies. Baby Whisperer sleep tips.
    September 15, 2008 1:25 PM
  • Plowmanators said…
    Jasmine, that is good information. Thanks!
    September 22, 2008 3:29 PM
  • Jessica said…
    I echo Jasmine. From what I remember of Hogg’s book her method including picking the baby up and when they stopped crying immediately putting them down. Didn’t she say she had to do that over 100 times with one baby?I must admit that I am a rocker (a BW no-no) and I do not regret it. That is what is best for our family. To me, that is part of me being a mother, a very enjoyable part. I do understand why others do not rock. Each family, and child, are so very different.
    September 15, 2008 4:40 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    Thanks Jessica! You are right, you have to do what works for each baby.
    September 22, 2008 3:30 PM
  • Lorri said…
    Yeah her method is that they don’t CIO ALONE. She says she is an advocate for your baby and that changing a routine for a baby- ie not rocking them any more etc- and then letting them try to figure it out on their own is not the way to do things.I have to admit, I tried her PU/PD method last week. My little one didn’t have any problems falling asleep for naps or for night time-but once he woke up-he had a hard time getting himself back to sleep. So I thought that maybe him falling asleep on his own to go to bed might be a fluke.After doing that routine for a week I haven’t seen a single bit of improvement like I did following Babywise. At this point he actually doesn’t even fall asleep initially like he use to. I have learned that when I’m in the room with my baby when he is trying to sleep-he wants to be picked up. Hogg says that after they start crying, you pick them up until they stop and then immediately put them down-continuing the shush and patting until they’ve fallen into a deep sleep. I’m not sure how the babies don’t then use that as a sleep prop-she doesn’t explain that.


    Some kids though-like my scooter are social butterflies and if there is someone in the room with them-but that person isn’t playing with them or picking them up-it makes them more mad and they won’t ever go to sleep. My husband and I evaluated the past week. We decided that being in the room with little Scoots does more damage than having him fall asleep on his own without us in there.
    September 16, 2008 11:36 AM
    Plowmanators said…
    Lorri, thanks for more clarification–I think her initial idea of CIO and my initial idea of CIO. My son was the same as your son 🙂
    September 22, 2008 3:33 PM

  • bradysmom said…
    Jessica – I am a rocker too. However, I don’t rock to sleep. I work, so I don’t see my LO all day. I put him to bed and after he eats I put him on my chest and we sit and rock in teh rocking chair, while patting his back, for maybe a minute. I do this 1 – to see if there are any more burps in there; and 2 – that’s my time to cuddle with him. I also feel like it helps him to just wind down and cuddle with mommy. I know BW says it’s a no-no, but it’s a very special time for me! And most of the time when I put him in his crib he’s awake. Just my 2 cents! 🙂
    September 16, 2008 12:29 PM
    Plowmanators said…
    Bradysmom, I don’t think rocking while awake would be considered a no-no for BW at all.
    September 22, 2008 3:35 PM
  • Jessica said…
    Lorri – I have never understood how that particular method isn’t considered a sleep prop either. I read another book (Lull A Baby Sleep Plan, I believe) where the author encouraged you to sit by your baby’s bed and sing, read, talk, etc. them to sleep. She said that as long as your baby went to sleep in their own bed that it was not a sleep prop.Bradysmom – I have just recently gone back to work (this week) for 3 days and I know what you mean about wanting to cuddle with your little one. About the rocking, BW thinks it is fine as long as you are not using it to get your baby to sleep. That is where I part with BW. Frequently, I do rock my little girl to sleep and at times she doesn’t want it, she will wiggle and want you to just lay her in her crib. I would say it is a sleep prop for her because when I go to sit in the rocker she starts crying but all I have to do is insert the pacifier and those little peepers close. Hopefully, I don’t get razzed to bad for that, ha!
    September 16, 2008 6:06 PM

10 thoughts on “Baby Whisperer: Sensible Sleep”

  1. Hi- thanks so much in advance for helping me with this! I am having some issues with my daughter, here is some background info:she is 9 weeks oldshe was born 5 weeks pre-termshe has severe refluxI rock her to sleep and/or use the paci (I used CIO with my son and will with her too, but want to wait until the reflux issue is a little better).Ok, so bedtime is a mess. She is on a pretty good 3 hour schedule all day with the exception of a catnapping problem we are trying to fix…so from about 4/4:30 on into the evening she is a mess…wants to eat at least every two hours, will only take short naps and is fussy. we usually hold her for these naps since she will sleep a little longer this way. Bedtime is at 8pm but lately she hasn’t been actually going to sleep for the night until closer to 10! I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. She wants to eat right before going to bed again so we feed her (expressed breast milk) and she will go to sleep and wake up 30 min later and want to eat more (she may do this a couple of times) before going to bed for the night. She is probably overstimulated and having a hard time settling down, but I don’t know how to fix the problem. We also have a 3 year old boy and it makes it so hard to try to get her to nap longer etc. when we have him running around. I like BW but it almost makes you feel like a failer when things don’t go like they should, you know? She usually gets up just once to eat in the middle of the night, but last night was horrible – she ate twice and was awake, fussy and throwing up all night long (thanks so a nasty reflux flare up).ANY ADVICE would be helpful – thank you so much!!!!

  2. I am also having problems with sleep props. My baby boy is sttn no problem, but I am concerned about how to drop rocking him to sleep. Is it too late? Is the damage already done? First of all, he is 14 weeks and I honestly enjoy rocking him to sleep. And lately it hasn't been taking as long. I usually swaddle him then we rock and say prayers. Usually by the time I am done with prayers he is almost out (approx 5-10 minute process) and I put him in his crib. Occasionally we do have a bad night where it takes 10 or more minutes to put him to bed, but my hubby is concerned that we are setting ourselves up for later. To be honest, I enjoy the time together and love cuddling him, but I don't want to worry about long term damage. If I were to swaddle him and put him right in his crib, he usually ends up getting crying so hard that he won't go to sleep. Even after an hour or more. It's so draining for both of us that I haven't wanted to fight the battle.What to do?

  3. LMP,First, it isn't too late to teach him to sleep on his own if you want to.But you have to want to. If you are hesitant or unsure, it won't work. You have to be committed to it.Odds are that it will cause sleeping problems in the future; however, there are moms who rock who don't have trouble in the future. So it is up to you. I think the fact that he sleeps through the night is a good sign that he is doing okay. See the CIO blog index for posts to help you decide if you want to do this and if so, how.

  4. Hi! You are beyon awesome and I tell all my friends to look at your blog! Here is my dilema… We've been swaddling since day one, but I am feeling like it might be time to drop it. My baby boy is 6.5 months. I am nervous about it though because the swaddle holds the very egde of his binki in so if he stops sucking it doesn't fall so it prevents from me having to go and give it to him everytime he drops it. The binki is for sure a love- hate relationship! SO, I feel like if I drop the swaddle I am dropping the binki too and I think that might be really hard for my baby. He LOVES his binki and I really don't care if he has it, I just don't want to have to keep going in there and giving it to him. And, sometimes when he gets his hand out and can find his binki he turns it to the side and chews on it and plays with it so I think it could be a distraction to him. Also, when he gets his arms out of his swaddle sometimes he sucks on his fingers and plays with them and I feel like there is no way he'll go back to sleep. I was wondering if you have any advice? He really is such a great, easy baby, I just am nervous cause I don't want to mess him up too bad. Thanks!!!

  5. P.S.- we use the Soothie Binkis and I hear that they are sometimes hard for babies to keep in their mouths and that others are easier, but he doesn't like any other ones… Thanks a million!

  6. Ali, thanks :)I don't have personal pacifier experience, so I can't really give you great advice.One thing I have read is that babies will learn to find it (the pacifier) on their own sometime between 6-8 months old usually, so he might be able to do that. If you think he is ready for the swaddle drop, I would go for it. Try one arm out first to see how it goes (but that might mess things up with him finding and reinserting the pacifier). Good luck!

  7. Oh, and I was thinking, if you would like me to post this as a "help a reader out" post, I will do that. Then you could get some commentary from other moms with experience in pacifiers.

  8. hello,quick question about my lil man who is 14 wks,my son is a champion sleeper for naps and nighttime which I thank babywise and this quick referance quide for but since i was very insistant that he went up to his crib for all naps and sleep since he was 2 wks.. but i am comming to realise he has an extremely difficult time falling asleep in social settings or really whenever being held in arms at all, i feel bad that i will know he is tierd but will cry until put in bed…? I have tried getting him to sleep in my arms while at home so he knows he can fall asleep comfortably with me too but again cries until he is put in crib… : (i never thoguht i would have the reverse problem of what most mothers have…. do you have any ideas for helping him get to sleep/nap when in arms or out??? strange question i know but i need to help him with this because obviously cant always stay home at nap timethnks,

  9. I need advice please how to do a babywise routine when your daughter only sleeps 45 min naps and you are in a 4 hour 3.5 hour feeding schedule


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