Have you wondered if you should start sleep-training now or wait till your child is a bit older, may be wait till the baby starts solids or may even walking or perhaps wait wait till your child hits the one year mark? Are you hoping the problem will resolve itself as your baby grows up?
Whatever your bench mark, I have listed a few pointers that may help you with your decision.
Firstly if you want to sleep train your baby then it is very likely that you and your baby are not sleeping well. Perhaps your baby needs multiple feeds in the middle of the night to keep going back to sleep or may be your little one is used to being walked to sleep and expects that every couple of hours or some such scenario. If your baby is: a. looking for frequent comforting in the middle of the night b. is of average weight for his/her age, and c. is not ill... then it will most likely help to sleep train your baby.
Typically I find that you can sleep train any time after your child has crossed the 4th month regression period. If your baby has developed a sleep dependency like rocking, feeding, patting, swinging, bouncing and other such to sleep or stay asleep, then it will most likely not change or improve unless you work on eliminating that dependency which is what sleep training will work on doing. That said the easiest way to inculcate good sleep habits is to be on the right track from the day you bring your baby back home from the hospital. Its easier to inculcate good habits right from day one rather that uprooting learned habits later on.
While it is important that your baby is ready to be sleep trained, it is probably more important that You are ready to sleep train. Sleep training involves a decent amount focused and disciplined effort on the part of the parents in changing the habits your baby has developed. Are you ready for that?
Lastly change takes time and creating habits takes longer. Have you ever changed or tried to change any habits in your life? Has it been easy to stick to it? If you say no, its most likely because you didn’t do it long enough. Research suggests that to create new habits its important to keep at the changed behavior for 3 -4 weeks continuously. This applies to your baby too. So best to choose a time when you don’t have any major events like holidays, family weddings etc when you plan to start sleep training.
Hope these tips help you choose the right time to embark on sleep training. One last piece of advice - I have found that sleep training is easiest before the first birthday. It's not like you can't sleep train after, but just that the work and effort involved gets increased as that child grows up.