Sleep Training 10-Month-Old Babies: The Professional Tactics

Author Image By Paula McLaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH •  Updated: 02/03/24 •  Sleep / Sleep Training

Is your 10-month-old still waking up multiple times during the night, only able to sleep when being held, and resisting naps, leaving you feeling exhausted and desperate for a full night’s sleep? You’re not alone.

In addition to establishing healthy sleep routines, sleep training a 10-month-old is one of the most effective methods to help your baby (and you) achieve the necessary rest.

In this guide, I will draw on over 40 years of childcare experience to assist your baby in learning to self-soothe and sleep for longer periods. Continue reading to discover the best approach to sleep training 10-month-old babies that will suit your family perfectly.

Sleep Training 10 Month Old Baby Featured

What Is Sleep Training?

Will Sleep Training Harm A 10-Month-Old?

Contrary to some concerns, sleep training done properly does not harm children. Research shows it can actually benefit both parents and babies.

A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics divided infants into two groups – one went through sleep training, and the other did not. They measured the babies’ cortisol stress levels, parental satisfaction, parental stress, and the children’s attachment styles at one year old.

Results found that babies who were sleep-trained had decreased cortisol by the end of the training, indicating lower stress.

And at one year old, there was no difference in attachment style or behavior between the groups.

So with the right methods and environment, sleep training helps babies learn to self-soothe without negatively impacting development.

Looking to get your little one to sleep quickly and effortlessly? Check out my Bedtime and Nap Cheat Sheet and master the art of making daytime naps and bedtimes as seamless as possible.

How Long Does It Take To Sleep Train A 10-Month-Old?

The length of time it takes to sleep train a 10-month-old will depend greatly on your resolve and your baby’s temperament. 

And in truth… there is no set time for how long sleep training at 10 months should take and you may experience periods of success followed by periods when your little one wakes more at night or struggles to settle.

But in my experience, sleep training a 10-month-old usually takes anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks for the change to stick.

Preparing for Sleep Training

At 10 months of age, babies are learning lots of new skills rapidly, such as crawling, pulling to stand, and cruising, which can impact their sleep patterns and trigger sleep regressions resulting in them fighting sleep and waking more often at night.

And with these sleep disruptions, you may want to start sleep training. 

However, there are several things you should always have in place BEFORE you start sleep training.

These tactics are the foundation of my nannying career and I firmly believe that by implementing them, you will make sleep training run more smoothly and in some cases… avoid having to sleep train at all.

This is because there is so much more to sleep training than just picking a method and implementing it.

So before you dive into sleep training your 10-month-old, put this essential list in place so that you can begin to guide your little one towards independent sleep and self-soothing naturally:

10 Month Old Sleep Training Tips
  1. Establish a bedtime routine. First and foremost (and this is something I am always emphasizing) creating a consistent bedtime routine is essential for your baby. Start with calming activities an hour before bed. Follow this with a bath, maybe a baby massage, reading a bedtime book, feeding, and then bed. Consistency is key to setting your baby’s sleep-wake cycle, making it easier for them to know when it’s time to sleep.
  2. Make a marked difference between daytime and nighttime sleep. Daytime naps can be accompanied by housework in the background, TV noises, and vacuuming, for example. Nighttime sleep should be dark, quiet, and cozy. Nighttime interactions and feedings must be low-key with little to no talking and no bright lights. Consider using a nightlight to help keep the sleep environment consistent.
  3. Put baby down to sleep while drowsy but not fast asleep. I know this is easier said than done… but try to encourage your little one to fall into a deep sleep independently. Try warming their blankets so your 10-month-old is not getting into a cold crib and if they squirm slightly, gently rest your hand on their tummy to reassure them you’re still there.
  4. Ensure the environment in your baby’s room promotes sleep. Consider using a nightlight or white noise machine to provide comfort and to help the room feel cozy. Soft sheets and comfortable sleepwear will also help your little one feel relaxed and snuggly.
  5. Be consistent. Consistency is key to setting your baby’s sleep-wake cycle, making it easier for them to know when it’s time to sleep. Stick to the same routine at the same time every night and avoid making exceptions, even on weekends. It is very important to keep bedtimes and naps on schedule and at the same times daily. 
  6. Ensure your little one is getting enough age-appropriate daytime sleep to avoid overtiredness which can disrupt the entire sleep schedule. Also, keep an eye on your baby’s wake windows to ensure they’re not awake for too long to prevent overstimulation. For a 10-month-old, this is typically around 3-4 hours. Read my post on the 10-month sleep schedule to learn what to expect.
  7. Get outside in the fresh air and natural light every day to balance your baby’s circadian rhythm and melatonin levels and promote healthy sleep.
  8. Pay attention to baby’s diet. Avoid sugary or caffeinated food and drinks in the evening and make sure they have plenty to eat during the day so that hunger is not the cause of nighttime waking. 10-month-olds need between 750 and 900 calories a day, of which about 400 to 500 calories should come from breast milk or formula.
  9. Let baby practice being awake and alone in the crib without the pressure of going to sleep. Putting your little one in the crib to look at an interesting mobile, like this one from Manhattan Toys while you take a quick shower is a good way of getting them used to being awake alone in their sleep space. This can help with teaching them to self-soothe and not always cry out on waking.
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Suitable Sleep Training Methods For A 10-Month-Old

If, after implementing the preparation steps above, your little one is still struggling to self-soothe then you will need to decide which sleep training method to try.

I am in favor of gentle sleep training techniques at this age that avoid causing excessive distress for you or your baby.

Remember, each baby’s sleep pattern is unique, so you may need to adapt these techniques to suit your baby’s individual needs and consult with a pediatrician for personalized advice.

Here are the most suitable methods for sleep training 10-month-old babies:

Sleep Training Methods For 10 Month Old Babies

1. The Chair Method (My Favorite)

The Chair Method is my go-to sleep training method for 10-month-old babies and one that I have found to be very effective. 

To implement this gradual and comforting method, stay in the room with your little one after you have said goodnight, and sit next to their bed until they fall asleep.

Night after night, move the chair further away from the crib. 

If your baby whines, wait a little while to see if they’ll resettle by themselves. If they don’t, offer a pat or rub on the tummy to soothe your baby back to sleep, then return to your chair.

2. The Self-Soothe Technique

The self-soothe sleep method is a more subtle sleep training style and the one I would always recommend parents try if the Chair Method has not worked.

It involves helping your baby to fall asleep on their own without any assistance from you by putting into place a routine that gives them the best possible chance to fall asleep independently.

This means weaning off contact napping, having a consistent nap and bedtime routine, putting your baby down when they are drowsy and not fast asleep, and gradually reducing the amount of time you spend with your baby settling them.

(Essentially all the sleep habit tips I outlined at the beginning of this post)

You can also consider using a pacifier at night if it helps baby settle.

3. The Check and Console Method

The Check and Console Method involves going into your baby’s room at timed intervals to offer comfort without picking them up. 

This reassurance can be singing a lullaby, rubbing their tummy, offering a gentle forehead stroke, or a rub on the back of the hand. 

Once your baby has settled back down, you leave them to settle themselves into a deep sleep independently. 

It helps to teach self-soothing, as you reassure your child without fully intervening. Gradually, you increase the time between checks, promoting independence and sleep.

4. The Pick-Up, Put-Down Method

Also known as the “No Tears” approach, the Pick-Up, Put-Down method also involves putting your baby down when drowsy but not fast asleep… but unlike the Chair Method, you leave them for a short while, and if your baby fusses, you pick your baby up until they are calm then put them down again. 

You repeat this method until your baby manages to fall asleep without being held.

As this is a gentle sleep training method, it will be less stressful for you and your baby, but it can take longer to achieve results. Therefore, the Pick-Up, Put-Down Method can be very tiring for parents.

But many have had great success with it so give it a try if your baby needs a lot of physical reassurance to settle.

5. The Ferber Method

The Ferber Method is a very well-known sleep training technique. It is commonly interchanged with Graduated Extinction, however, the difference is that The Ferber Method involves using set time intervals to leave your baby to cry before offering comfort (2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes).

It’s a structured approach that many parents find effective. However, at 10 months of age, I would recommend trying the Chair Method or the Self-Soothe technique first as these are gentler sleep training techniques.

To learn more about the Ferber Method read my post: Ferber Method: A Proven Sleep Training Technique For Infants

6. The Cry-It-Out

Also known as the extinction method, the Cry-It-Out (CIO) Method is a stricter sleep training approach where you say goodnight and leave your baby to fall asleep without returning. 

It can be challenging but yields quick results for some families. 

I am not a fan of the cry-it-out method and believe it should only be used as a last resort if you’ve tried all of my tips and other techniques without success.

But I would not be doing my job if I didn’t provide you with all the options for sleep training 10-month-old babies.

To learn more about the Cry-It-Out Method read this post: The Truth About The Cry-It-Out Method From A Norland Nanny

Nap Sleep Training A 10-Month-Old

When you’re sleep training your 10-month-old, naps will play a crucial role in the success of your baby’s nighttime sleep as they will reinforce the healthy sleep habit you are trying to establish.

When you’re sleep training your 10-month-old, naps will play a crucial role. 

Your baby’s circadian rhythm is now more established so a consistent nap schedule is very achievable.

At 10 months of age, most babies are ready for two naps per day, typically in the mid-morning and early afternoon after the midday meal lasting about 1-2 hours.

To ensure nap time success, follow these tips:

To learn more about what your 10-month-old’s sleep and nap schedule should look like, read this post: The Perfect 10-Month-Old Sleep Schedule

Consider reading my article on sleep training for naps for more specific advice about helping babies learn to sleep independently during the day: Sleep Training For Naps.

Baby Sleep Training Books I Recommend

When implementing sleep training for your 10-month-old baby, it is really helpful to be well-informed about the subject.

Reading this article will certainly have helped! 

But reading some books about specific sleep training methods will be even more helpful. 

However, you must remember that your little one is a unique individual and you need to adapt to your baby’s individual needs. 

Follow the advice that feels right for you and your baby and do not embark upon a sleep training method just because it is ‘supposed’ to work quickly. 

I have read many books on the subject as well as acquired a lot of experience over the years about what sleep training method works for which age group. 

So without further ado, here are a few of my favorite books that I suggest reading when sleep training 10-month-old babies. 

1. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth

A fantastic sleep training resource for parents of young babies is “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. It’s full of research-based tips and a step-by-step plan to help you understand the importance of sleep and how to foster it in your baby’s life.

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Mark Weissbluth, M.D

In this brilliant book, backed by decades of research and case studies, Dr. Weissbluth presents the Ferber method, a gentle form of sleep training that involves teaching babies to fall asleep independently with check-ins.

Charts and routines cover naps, nighttime sleep, and adjusting schedules. The book also addresses common issues like bedsharing, co-sleeping, night wakings, and daytime sleepiness giving you an all-inclusive sleep training approach!

  • Provides individualized plans based on baby's exact age
  • Evidence-based and developmentally appropriate
  • Addresses a wide variety of common sleep questions
  • Offers flexibility within routines based on baby's temperament and needs
  • Teaches independent sleep skills
  • Requires consistency to see full effects
  • Focuses heavily on rigid routines and schedules
  • May be overwhelming amount of information for some
  • The adaption of the Ferber Method can be difficult for some babies to handle
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2. The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley

The No Cry Sleep Solution provides strategies that steer clear of letting your baby cry it out. Instead, it offers gentler alternatives to help your baby sleep through the night. It’s particularly favored by parents of 0-5 year olds seeking a softer sleep training method.

The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Gently guiding your toddler to better sleep becomes less of a battle with this book. The No-Cry Sleep Solution aims to provide you with researched, kind methods that respect your child's needs. 

Implementing the tips provided feels relevant and doable, as each chapter follows through with advice matched to common situations. 

What's truly beneficial is the understanding of sleep you gain. It's a relief to have your experiences validated and then addressed, flipping the script on bedtime struggles.

You're not just reading; you're learning and applying new strategies each night.

  • Endorsed by many parents over the last 18 years for its effectiveness
  • Focused on gentle techniques
  • Includes valuable research insights
  • Offers specific advice for 1-5 year olds
  • Follows a gentle child-centred approach
  • Covers a variety of bedtime issues such as night wakings and getting your toddler to stay in bed
  • May not work for every child
  • Some information might overlap with books you've previously read
  • The solutions require patience and time
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3. The Gentle Sleep Book by Sarah Ockwell

The Gentle Sleep Book by Sarah Ockwell provides a holistic insight into childhood sleep and explains that very often our expectations are way too high when we expect our little ones to sleep through the night and that we aim for this perfection when they are not developmentally programmed to do so.

In a lot of ways, this is a book that makes parents who are battling with sleep issues feel ‘OK’ with what they are doing whether that be co-sleeping or nursing to sleep.

The Gentle Sleep Book: Sleep Solutions for Parents of Newborns to Five-Year-Olds

Sarah Ockwell Smith provides a holistic insight into childhood sleep in this book. She explains that very often our expectations are way too high when we expect our little ones to sleep through the night and that we aim for this perfection when they are not developmentally programmed to do so.

In a lot of ways, this is a book that makes parents who are battling with sleep issues feel ‘OK’ with what they are doing whether that be co-sleeping or nursing to sleep.

If you are happy to take this more relaxed approach to sleep training then this is probably the book for you.

  • Offers a gentle approach to sleep training
  • Offers reliable evidence-based advice
  • Deals with night wakings as well as bedtime issues
  • Offers advice for each developmental stage
  • Covers how to deal with daytime nap issues too
  • Mentions that bed sharing is OK... which is not for everyone
  • The solutions take time... however, there's never a quick fix
  • May be considered more of a parent self-help book than a sleep training book
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Where To Buy Sleep Training Books

There are endless places to buy sleep training books. Amazon is the first place most people think of when looking for books… 

However, you can try looking for free books (or for a significantly reduced price) at garage sales, libraries, charity shops, and online second-hand book shops such as Awesome Books and Better World Books.

Your friends and family may even have a copy you can borrow, so ask around!

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Addressing Common Sleep Training Challenges

Sleep training 10-month-old babies can involve addressing some additional challenges that arise from where your baby is at in their development.

Common issues that you may have to address include:

  1. Teething Discomfort: Your baby may experience discomfort from teething that disrupts sleep. If your little one is suffering from teething pain offer a teething toy or a cold washcloth to chew on before bed to alleviate gum pain.
  2. Navigating Sleep Regressions: Sleep regressions often occur around 10 months. If you suspect this to be the cause of your little one’s disrupted sleep, try to maintain a calm and consistent bedtime routine to help your baby cope. During regressions, extra comfort is key, but continue to try and encourage self-soothing so that your baby learns to settle back to sleep independently. To learn more about how to handle the 10-month sleep regression, read this post: The 10-Month Sleep Regression Survival Guide.
  3. Check For Stressors: If there has been a major change in routine, your baby’s sleep can easily be disrupted. Whatever is going on try to maintain a peaceful and cozy sleep environment and routine to instill security. White noise machines and audio apps are great ways to offer comfort during this phase. Consider using a night light too.
  4. Daytime Sleep: This is very important as adequate age-appropriate naps will reduce the chances of overtiredness. An overtired baby will most definitely struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep so getting daytime sleep right can be a game changer and improve nighttime sleep significantly. Aim for two naps a day, each 1-2 hours long.
  5. Nap Transition: If your little one has not yet transitioned from 3 to 2 naps… they will do so very soon. Be flexible during this time and try to avoid your little one becoming overtired. Take a look at our post on how to handle nap transitions: Mastering The 3 To 2 Nap Transition Effortlessly.

When To Seek Medical Advice

If you notice unusual sleep patterns in your baby, or you have a gut feeling that something is not right… contact your pediatrician.

Look for symptoms like constant wakefulness or unusual fussiness as these could mean sleep deprivation or illness.

If your baby is snoring or appears to having trouble breathing when they sleep, act quickly and consult a medical professional as this might be a sign of sleep apnea.

It is important to take your 10-month-old for regular check-ups as this can catch sleep issues early on.

Other signs that you need to seek medical advice for include:

Always remember, seeking medical advice is a proactive step in ensuring your child’s well-being. If you have any doubts about your little one’s health or sleep habits, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare provider. 

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Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Training 10-Month-Old Babies

In this section, you will find answers to the most common concerns regarding sleep training your 10-month-old that I have been asked many times throughout my career.

Q: Is there a different approach for sleep training if you start at 10 months vs. earlier?

A: Yes, certain sleep training methods are more suitable for different ages. For a 10-month-old I would recommend The Chair Method as this can offer gentle comfort without you having to pick your baby up or let them cry excessively. It also works well with older babies who are more prone to separation anxiety

Q: Is it too late to sleep train a 10-month-old?

A: No, it’s never too late to sleep train! All children need to learn to self-soothe and the sooner you start laying the foundations of healthy sleep, the better. 

Q: How do you sleep train a stubborn 10 month old?

A: For a stubborn 10-month-old, you must be incredibly consistent with the sleep training method you have chosen. Create a calm bedtime routine and a comfortable sleep environment. Your resolve is crucial; give the method time to work, typically a few weeks. 

Q: How can you successfully sleep train a breastfed 10-month-old baby?

A: Successfully sleep training a breastfed baby involves timing feeds to avoid associating them with sleep. Start by separating nursing from sleeping by at least 30 minutes to help baby associate sleep with being put in their crib, rather than feeding. You could also offer breast milk in a bottle to wean them off always being held by you before bedtime. Ensure your baby is well-fed throughout the day to minimize nighttime hunger.

Q: How long should a 10-month-old be allowed to cry-it-out during sleep training before intervening?

A: The Cry It Out method does not have a set crying duration. You simply leave your baby to cry until they fall asleep by themselves. This can take anywhere from 10-60 minutes.

Please note, I have never been a fan of letting babies cry it out and although this sleep training method is proven to work and not harm babies, I believe there are gentler ways to sleep train that cause far less emotional stress for both parent and baby.

Q: Why does my baby cry hysterically in his sleep 10 months?

A: At 10 months, babies often experience separation anxiety or are challenged by developmental milestones like teething. Some 10-month-olds may experience nightmares but this is rare. These factors can cause crying in sleep. To help limit nighttime crying, address the discomfort, and help baby resettle to sleep.

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Author Image Bio
Paula McLaren is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and a highly qualified childcare expert with over 40 years of experience as a Norland Nanny. She holds a BA (Hons) in Early Years Development & Learning (0-6 Years) and the prestigious Norland Diploma. Paula has worked as a night nanny, run a successful daycare center in London, and helped raise countless children using her tried and tested developmental and guidance methods.

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