The Moms on Call Sleep Training Method: A Parent’s Guide

Mother with her sleeping newborn baby in home.

  • Moms on Call sleep training uses assisted and self soothing techniques to help babies fall asleep and stay asleep on their own. 
  • This method isn’t exclusively a cry-it-out technique, but it does have small bouts where you will have to hear your baby cry.
  • Soothing rounds are the backbone of this sleep training method. It’s performed in 3 rounds of crying backed by soothing.
  • The soothing rounds serve multiple purposes, the primary one being the production of longer stretches of sleep without the need to feed. 
  • Swaddling, white noise, light exposure, and temperature all play a huge part in the success of this method.

With all the baby sleep training resources available, it’s hard to know which is the best fit for you. Prime example: As a new mom I read everything I could get my hands on before my firstborn arrived and guess which method I chose. None. 

I was in information overload. There were so many options, all with their own advantages, but it was too overwhelming. That choice led to some major regret.

I sat in bed, grumpy baby in hand, looking to Dr. Google for the baby sleeping tips that would give rest to my weary bones. Luckily, with baby number two I had a plan. 

At the time I didn’t realize much of what I was doing was based on the Moms on Call method. I was just happy to sleep! Looking back I can clearly see that I was following their method—and boy am I thankful I did. 

If you’re like I was, confused with all the sleep training methods or worried that certain programs offer too much or not enough intervention, you’re not alone. The good news is, you’ve just stumbled on the Moms on Call sleep training method, which strikes a perfect balance! Ready to get started? Let’s jump right in! 

What is Moms on Call Sleep Training?

Created by two pediatric nurses, also moms themselves, you can count on Moms on Call as expert advice. This is much needed since recent studies show how critical sleep is to infant neurodevelopment. While their books do speak to all aspects of the day-to-day with your baby, it all points to one thing: sleep! 

Sleep training is their bread and butter and they’ve got plenty of glowing reviews to back it.

Based on a series of routines that differ according to age, this sleep training method uses a combination of assisted and self soothing. These are referred to in this method as “soothing rounds.” It gives your baby the space they need to develop healthy sleeping habits in appropriate increments. 

Now, your baby will be doing a bit of crying when you use this method. Not exactly what parents hope to hear, I know.

Luckily it’s not for long! We’ll get down to the nitty gritty in the soothing rounds section below, but don’t let that scare you off. Rest assured, it won’t be more than you can handle—you have my word!

Plus, the program promises that by the time your baby is 3 months old, they’ll be able to sleep a 12 hour night. You read that right—it’s not a typo, friend. Believe me, I double checked myself! With results like that and endless personal accounts of success, it’s a no-brainer. 

Asian new born baby sleep with crying.

Is Moms on Call a “Cry It Out” Method?

The Moms on Call sleeping method is not the same as the “cry it out” method. Also known as the extinction method, cry it out sleep training is just as it sounds. Your baby will cry until they finally settle and fall asleep. This method doesn’t involve any intervention from you. Once your baby is down to sleep it’s up to them to self soothe. 

Despite its bad rap, a 2020 study shows the cry it out method really isn’t as damaging as people claim. Even so, for some parents this method is too much to handle. I know for me, it was unbearable to hear my babies cry. There was no way I couldn’t adhere to the cry-it-out style. 

If you’re the same, the Moms on Call method is a better choice. While there is crying involved, the soothing rounds prevent it from being a constant as with crying it out.  

What are Soothing Rounds?

Soothing rounds are a critical element to the success of the Moms on Call sleeping method. What are soothing rounds? They’re a 3 round alternating regimen of crying and soothing times based upon the baby’s needs and your discretion. Here’s an example: 

Round 1
  • Baby begins to cry. Set a timer for 5 minutes.
  • If baby is still crying, go in, quickly soothe, and leave the room.
Round 2
  • If baby is still crying, set a timer for 5 minutes.
  • If baby is still crying after 5 minutes, go in, quickly soothe, and leave the room.
Round 3
  • If baby is still crying, set a timer for 5 minutes.
  • At this point, if baby is still crying after 5 minutes, go ahead and feed them.

There are several important points to note when it comes to soothing rounds.

The first is their length of cry time. Five minutes is used in the example above, but you don’t have to stick with that. If you’re more comfortable with a shorter time frame, try a 2-3 minute window first. 

Also, keep in mind that your soothing interval should be short. When you go in to soothe, stay no longer than one minute. Do not pick up your baby for this soothing process—soothe them while they’re lying down. Offering their pacifier and rubbing or patting them are great ways to offer comfort without picking them up. 

Sleeping newborn baby.

Why are Soothing Rounds so Important? 

At this point you might be wondering: What’s the point of enduring those tiny cries for comfort? Well, there’s a few reasons as to why soothing rounds are so important. 

  1. For starters, soothing rounds can give you long stretches with those night feeds. Babies can naturally wake in the night just like you and I. Only, we’ve already learned to just roll over and go back to sleep without a snack (well, most of the time). 
  1. Soothing rounds can help you and your baby differentiate between a shift in sleep cycle or a true need to feed. Giving your baby the chance to fall back asleep each time they wake through soothing rounds creates more sleep overtime for everyone. 
  1. As you may have guessed, these soothing rounds also give babies an opportunity to practice self-soothing. The ease of sleep associations like feeding, cuddling, and rocking may feel like solutions in the moment but only stand for more frustration later on. 

Soothing rounds eliminate these pitfalls, fostering the self soothing habits that lead to a full night of rest. 

When Is the Best Time to Start Moms on Call?

Generally, the idea is to start the program from infancy. The recommended timeframe to start is at 2 weeks old. Beginning the routine early helps mitigate any confusion with day time and night time. It also gets them (and, let’s be honest, you) acclimated to the soothing round routine. 

There may be an adjustment period and you might have an overtired baby from time to time but lean in. It’ll pass as baby adapts to the routine. 

It’s important to note there are a few instances when you’d want to delay starting this sleep training method.

First, if your baby isn’t feeding well then hold off on starting. Your baby can’t afford to stretch feedings when they’re still on the learning curve. Likewise, if they’re not gaining enough weight, it’s not the right time to start. 

Making Moms on Call Sleep Training Work for You

You’ve got all the basic information, but there’s a few more sleep tips and tricks to keep in mind. Tuck these in the back of your mind to ensure your sleep training is a great success!

  • Only go in for a soothing round when your baby has been actively crying. It can be tempting to want to check on them when you hear fussing and fiddling, but resist the urge. In the end, you’ll be glad you did when their self soothing skills come into play. 
  • Don’t underestimate the power of the swaddle blanket. Through years of research and thousands of babies, the creators of Moms on Call have an answer to how to swaddle your baby perfectly. This swaddling method puts safety first, not lacking in the tightening and positioning that make longer stretches of sleep.
  • You’ve likely heard the saying “never wake a sleeping baby.” Sure, it’s true in some cases, but in order to stick to this method it may be necessary. Too much day time sleep can cause confusion that leads to shorter and less sleep time at night. In short, follow the awake time schedule during the day but not at night.

Moms on call is the perfect balance for new parents searching for a method that isn’t totally hands off but still lends itself to an element of self soothing. Forming great habits that last through the toddler years and beyond, the MOC schedule could be the answer your family has been looking for. 

Young mother kissing her sleeping newborn baby in bed.


Will the Moms on Call sleep training method work with a busy schedule?

This method can be flexible if you need it to be. It will require some planning around your typical daily schedules though! You’ll want to try and mold your baby’s schedule around the day’s events without skipping vital parts of their established routine, namely their feed and nap times. 

As long as you’re sticking to the main principles with the soothing rounds and timed naps, you’ll be good!

Does Moms on Call sleep training work for breastfed babies?

There’s been some controversy over whether or not this sleep training method works for breastfed babies. It’s easy to see why. In order to stretch those night feeds, you want to try the soothing rounds first without feeding. 

This can be a little more difficult to do if a baby is in the habit of cluster feeding or simply finds comfort in being at the breast. Even so, breastfed babies have shown success in sleeping using this method. 

Is Moms on Call the same thing as Babywise?

Certain aspects of these popular programs are similar but there’s many noteworthy differences. Dream feeding is one of them. Moms on call doesn’t implement it while Babywise does.

Babywise appears less detailed in its sleep training regimen too. So long as your baby falls asleep without the associations, you can follow their program. 

This includes but is not limited to the cry it out method. With moms on call though, the soothing rounds are the cornerstone of their sleep training method. Though it ties in aspects of cry it out via the 5 minutes between soothing rounds, it doesn’t lean wholly on that method. 

Is there anything I can do to help my baby fall asleep without using props?

There’s a few things parents can do to create a sleep environment conducive to a good night’s sleep. Be sure the temperature is right—somewhere between 68 and 72 degrees fahrenheit. White noise from a sound machine is also a helpful tool as babies are used to the rushing sounds in utero.

Finally, the level of light exposure is very important. Black out curtains are your best friend when it comes to nighttime sleep. Letting in more light in the daytime for naps is key. It begins to make baby aware of what’s day and night. 

Can I room share on the Moms on Call sleep routine?

Moms on call doesn’t encourage parents to room share. If you think about it, it makes sense. Teaching your child to self soothe without you is hard enough as is. Add in your baby’s ability to hear or even see you in the same space? Not exactly a recipe for success.

For some parents, not room sharing isn’t an option though. If that’s the case, there’s a few things you can do to make the situation work for you. Make their sleep space as far from yours as possible. If there’s a half wall or freestanding divider that’s perfect. If not, you can create something yourself to block your baby’s visual of you. 

Be sure to incorporate all the pointers in the last question in your own sleep space, including temperature, noise, and light exposure. If possible, also try not putting baby down at the same time you’re going to sleep. This helps with the original issue of your baby seeing you, not allowing you to do the soothing rounds as the method prescribes.

The Moms on Call Sleep Training Method: A Parent’s Guide

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