The Weissbluth Method: A Guide to Infant Sleep Training

As a new parent, getting your infant to sleep through the night can be a daunting task. With various sleep training techniques available, it’s crucial to find one that suits your family’s needs. One such approach is the Weissbluth method, also known as the extinction method or no-peek method. Developed by Dr. Marc Weissbluth, author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, this method aims to help infants develop healthy sleep habits by teaching them to self-soothe.

Understanding the Weissbluth Method

The Weissbluth method differs from other sleep training techniques, such as the Ferber method, which involves progressive waiting and gradual extinction. The key difference is the level of parental intervention involved. In the Weissbluth method, parents allow their child to cry without intervening unless the child needs changing, feeding, or there is an emergency.

The Weissbluth Method: A Guide to Infant Sleep Training

Implementing the Weissbluth Method

Before attempting this sleep training technique, consult with your pediatrician to ensure your child is ready for sleep training. Once you get the green light, follow these steps:

  1. Observe your baby’s sleep cues and put them to bed as soon as they appear tired.
  2. Establish a consistent bedtime routine to help your child feel secure and understand that it’s time for sleep.
  3. Leave the room without intervening unless your child requires a night feed or there is an emergency.
  4. Remain consistent in your approach. The Weissbluth method is designed to work quickly, often within three to four days.

Addressing Concerns and Criticisms

Some experts argue that the Weissbluth method could lead to learned helplessness in children, causing them to give up on seeking comfort. However, proponents of the method argue that it is effective in teaching infants to self-soothe and establish healthy sleep patterns. It is essential to consider your child’s unique needs and your parenting philosophy before committing to any sleep training technique.

Independent Sleep Practices and Preparation

Prior to embarking on the Weissbluth method or any other sleep training technique, it is vital to establish independent sleep practices and prepare for sleep training. This involves creating a conducive sleep environment, addressing any sleep associations your child may have, and ensuring that their needs are met before attempting to teach them to self-soothe.

Pros and Cons of the Weissbluth Method

As with any sleep training technique, the Weissbluth method has its pros and cons. To help you decide whether this method is suitable for your family, consider the following advantages and disadvantages:


  • Speed: The Weissbluth method often yields results faster than the Ferber method, with some infants adapting to the new sleep routine in just a few days.
  • Self-soothing skills: By allowing infants to cry without intervention, the method teaches them to self-soothe and become less reliant on external factors for comfort during sleep.
  • Healthy sleep habits: The Weissbluth method encourages consistent bedtime routines and promotes long-term healthy sleep habits, which can have a positive impact on a child’s overall well-being and development.


  • Emotional challenge: For many parents, allowing their child to cry without comforting them can be emotionally difficult and may lead to feelings of guilt or anxiety.
  • Potential learned helplessness: Critics argue that the method may cause infants to develop learned helplessness, as they eventually stop seeking comfort from their caregivers.
  • Not a one-size-fits-all solution: The Weissbluth method may not be suitable for every baby or parent, as individual temperaments, needs, and parenting philosophies can vary greatly.

Ultimately, the decision to use the Weissbluth method should be based on a thorough understanding of its pros and cons and an honest assessment of whether it aligns with your family’s values and your child’s unique needs.

Final Thoughts

While the Weissbluth method may not be suitable for every family, it has proven to be an effective approach for many infants struggling with sleep problems. By considering your child’s unique needs and being consistent in your approach, you can help your child develop healthy sleep habits that will benefit them for years to come.


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