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Getting Started

I cannot stress enough that the success of this program and your little one's ability to cope well with the changes is primarily based on the things you do before your little one even gets into their sleep space. 

Please take these notes down and keep them front of mind during any changes you make:

  • Keep a close eye on awake periods - it's critical that your little one isn't awake for too long at a time. Remember, awake periods count from when they wake, not when they get out of their bed.
  • Do NOT let your little one get drowsy at all during their awake period.  Zoning out, lulling, or staring off on feeds will absolutely affect your little one's ability to settle well. If your babe is zoning out on feeds in the car or pram for example, not only are they keeping the unwanted associations there (e.g. feeding means sleep), but you risk that period of lulling taking away their appetite for a good sleep shortly thereafter.
  • Take note on how your little one is responding to the particular method you have chosen. Is he or she is getting more worked up with you in the room? Is a particular form of comfort making things worse? Some babies get far more upset when you try to pat them. For others, having you in the room can make things worse. If they're not responding well, change things up and find the method that works for you. You may use verbal comfort only or stroke your little one's face rather than giving them a pat, for example.
  • When choosing your methods, remember that children respond well to consistency, so try not to mix things up too often.
  • Don't overplay your role when it comes to settles!
  • The first two naps of the day are the ones we expect to extend past one hour in length - they are the most important naps of the day. Most little ones don't drop to one nap a day until after 14 months.
  • Check out the nap guide to see how many naps are required each day. If in doubt, it's better to have your little one take an extra nap rather than putting them to bed over-tired.
  • Time wait periods. What might seem like 5 minutes is most likely much shorter. Timing starts when crying starts, not just when they are just whinging or talking.

Remember that making changes isn't a very comfortable feeling for your little one, so expect a harder few days to begin with. Your baby has become used to particular patterns to induce sleep, and when the role you play becomes their 'normal', changing that means they need to let go of those old ways. They are tired, but it's important that they learn an internal way to get to sleep without the reliance on you. This takes a little time, however the outcome will be a deeper and better quality sleep, and the impact that will have on you and your little one's physical and mental well being is insurmountable!

I define self settling as the ability for your little one to put themself off to sleep from wide awake time and time again, without the use of any external measures (e.g. dummy) that they may have come to rely on as a result of repetitive patterns. 

When your babe has the ability to self settle, not only do they sleep for longer stretches, but their quality and depth of sleep also changes for the better.

Awake Times

Committing to the right awake times is so important for easier settles. It is much harder for your little one to self settle when they are over or under tired. 

I don't recommend waiting for dramatic tired signs. By the time you see your little one rubbing their red eyes, crying or irritable, they are most likely already overtired. On the contrary I also don't recommend putting your little one down on their first tired signs. I would instead use a general age awake time guide and around 15 minutes before their awake time is due to be over look for signs of zoning out, losing interest or becoming placid. This 'calm before the storm' is a great point to put your little one down.


This is a primary concern for the parents I work with, and unfortunately it is often unavoidable. I understand the change process can bring about crying, however you are still able to give comfort and show responsiveness. Rest easy in knowing that you are making a right choice in undertaking a program that is PROVEN to quickly and effectively getting your little one on track!

External Measures:

Examples of props or sleep associations that may be problematic:

(yes even if you only use them for a moment or sometimes). They keep little ones in lighter stages of sleep, and require your babe to wake up in order to use them.  It is during this wake-up that you may be called upon to play a greater role.

Using motion on a regular basis such as the car, pram, carrier, baby swing, fit ball, or rocking the cot can absolutely become problematic for your little one, as they may come to need it in order to induce sleep. These measures also often become harder as your little one gets older, so ensuring that the roles you play are sustainable is so important. Trust me, rocking an 18 month old to sleep isn't all that fun, especially as they get older and start to resist sleep more and more!

Feeding to sleep
This is one of the most common reasons I work with clients. If your child has learned that before each sleep a feed must happen, this is what they will come to need in order to fall asleep every time. This doesn’t need to be the case. By implementing a feed, play and sleep pattern, and keeping your little one awake on feeds, they will not only have more effective feed habits but will also not rely on feeds a number of times a night in order to induce sleep.

Now I'm all for families finding what's best for them to achieve great sleep, however for many people, co-sleeping is simply not the case. It is also not recommended due to safety risks for infants.

Remember you don't want to swap one prop for another. So for example, there is no point getting your little one to stop being rocked to sleep but then instead relying on being patted to sleep. Again, it will only be a matter of time before you're back to square one and you may find yourself patting your babe to sleep four times a night instead.

Day structure is really important - the most important changes are made even before your little one goes to bed!

Please note that this program isn't recommended if you're co-sleeping. If your little one sleeps in your room, make as much space between their cot and your bed as possible.

On the day you begin, all changes should be made from the first settle of the evening. During that day, get your little one to sleep as best as you can throughout the day to ensure they are well rested for the first settle of the night.

As always, it's so important to clearly define each section of your baby's day as discrete periods of FEED, PLAY, and SLEEP. This includes keeping bub wide awake during feeds even if they have just woken. They MUST be kept engaged from the beginning to the end of the feed. Just ensuring they are awake by the end of the feed isn't enough.

Keep a close eye on awake times. During their awake time give them plenty of opportunity to interact, roll around, play etc. If they are using their awake time to zone out or lull, this will eat away at their desire for the sleep ahead, or they simply wont exert enough energy to settle well at their next sleep opportunity. Keep an eye out for signs of getting tired 15 minutes before they're due for their next nap.

I recommend solids approximately 45 minutes after a milk feed, but this doesn't matter too much. If your little one is above 9 months of age and you have been recommended to move the milk feed to after solids I would only make this change if your little one isn't taking solids well. If they are, I would stay with milk first. If you do move solids first make sure they are still 50 min away from naps, 40 min away from bedtime.

If you do need to put solids first, I recommend that the milk feed still finishes at least 50 minutes before their next sleep is due. For example, if your little one's awake time is 2.5 hours and they are milk feed first, I would offer their milk within 15 minutes of waking and then wait about an hour until offering solids (in the periods that you want to offer solids). Follow this with their period of play, and then off to bed, unless after last nap you can do solids first then the feed 40 min before bedtime. When having solids first, I would offer solids at some point once they are up from their nap (if you are offering solids in this particular awake period), followed by a milk feed around an hour later, play time, and then into bed at their awake time mark. If it is an awake period where you aren't offering solids, then I would put the milk feed on waking.

If your little one has solids after their last nap (essentially like a dinner) rather than offering a milk feed after the last nap, I would rather offer solids around 30 minutes after they wake and then a milk feed 45 minutes before bed. Often however, if their awake period isn't that long, you may find that they cannot have effective feeds before bed if you're trying to fit in a feed, solids then another feed 40 min before bed.


3 month olds often have 4 - 5 naps per day.

Morning wake up between 5:30 - 8:00am.

On waking, milk feed and then play (including short periods of tummy time as your little one tolerates).

Nap 1

Around 1 hour after waking. This nap should be more than one sleep cycle (more than 1 hour in length).

On waking, offer a milk feed and then play.

Nap 2

Around 1hr 15min after waking. This nap should be more than one sleep cycle (more than 1 hour in length).

On waking, offer a milk feed and then play.

Nap 3

Around 1hr15min - 1hr30min after waking. This nap may be a single sleep cycle or a lengthier nap.

On waking, offer a milk feed and then play.

nap 4

Around 1hr30min after waking. Again, this nap is okay to be only one sleep cycle.

On waking, hold off on a milk feed. Instead, you could:  Play;  Milk feed 40 minutes prior to bedtime being due;  Bath;  Book/song;  Bed.

OR you can feed after waking from the last nap, followed by play. Then feed 40 minutes before bed is due;  Bath;  Book/song;  Bed.

Bedtime to be 5:45am at the earliest, and 7:30pm at the latest.

Awake time between 4th nap (last nap) of the day and bedtime should be approximately 1hr15min.

It is appropriate for a 3 month old to be having 1 - 2 night feeds. I would ensure the 1st is after 11pm (to discourage too many further night wakings from occurring) and the 2nd (if required), to be a minimum of 4hrs later. By 3.5 - 4 months of age, my clients who self settle only require one night feed.

Babies around 3 months of age often have a hard time staying wide awake on feeds. Their milk feed is at the beginning of the awake periods to minimise the chance of them getting too drowsy or falling asleep on the feed, which often leads to ‘snack feeding' and 'snack sleeping'. Try to engage your little one as much as possible during their feeds during the day - talking, touching etc. The more alert they are, the better feed they will take and the bigger their appetite for sleep will be when their next sleep period is due.