I had heard about sleep training, but I did not know much about it. Let’s go ahead and rewind to the first 6 or so months of our journey with our baby. We are first time parents with no real world experience on the sleep portion of a baby. I had been around tons of babies and kids, but since they weren’t my own I was never around for the sleep part. I had no idea how it went or how it worked, or how hard it could be.
in the beginning
The first few weeks of her life are somewhat a blur of a lot of poopy blow out diapers, spit up and severe lack of sleep. This was mixed with a lot of emotions being totally in love with this new little being. Since I was breastfeeding, she was nursing around the clock ever 2-3 hours with no bottles in sight. If you have read any of my previous articles, you are well aware that it was so hard for us to get Lily to sleep. She was an active baby from the very beginning, never being still for even 30 seconds. Her max sleep was maybe 2 hours, but usually waking every 30 minutes to an hour because she just struggled to be still.
At first we had her sleeping in her swing, and then a rock and play, and when we needed to break that habit we moved to co-sleeping. She slept with me up until almost 5 months. This was the only way either one of us was getting any sleep at all, and it worked for that time period. For her naps, I held her… for every.single.one. Every day, every nap – since she was born. So yes, if you entered my house, the tidiness may have been lacking – BUT… the baby was getting her naps!
as she grew
Once she was rolling over and really starting to crawl, co-sleeping started to not work anymore as she wouldn’t allow me to safely hold her anymore. She was fighting me holding her to sleep, and I knew we were ready to FINALLY get her sleeping alone. I started by putting her in her pack and play crib, the regular crib was scary because she could go through. This was incredibly rough at first because she didn’t like being alone at first. I had seen all sorts of fun “sleep training” methods, but quite honestly, they scared me and the idea of letting her cried just made me sad. I had talked with a few mommy friends on this, and after a while of trying other ways, I decided to give this whole “sleep training” a go.
here’s how we tackled sleep training
Let me start by saying I did not do ANY sleep training until 6 months. Before that, she just would not be ready and they say babies are unable to do this any earlier.
I came up with a schedule first. Something that worked with her feeds, and naps being about every 3 hours apart from her wake time. If you are interested in printing this schedule off, click the image 🙂
Before laying her down, I made sure that the environment was the same in the room – every single time. Even if we are traveling, I make sure I can recreate the same space for her wherever we go.
First, the room is dark, almost pitch black. I have a sound machine that plays white noise, and usually almost every time I put her owlet monitor on her foot as well. Several binkies will be in her crib as well as her favorite lovies. Find what works for you and your baby, and what comforts them!
I start by singing a short song, usually “twinkle twinkle little star”. Then I tell her to go night night and I leave the room. This was so awful at first. She would cry and cry, and I would just do increments with her, slowly increasing the time each day. Maybe one day I would let her cry 2 minutes, then 3, then 5, then 7, then 10 and so on. At first she would take about 20-30 minutes to fall asleep. Each day as she started to catch on that time slowly decreased. After about a week and a half, it was only taking her about 5 minutes to fall asleep with hardly any crying at all.
Fast forward to about 7/8 months, when I put her in her crib, she doesn’t cry… she just GOES TO SLEEP! I couldn’t believe this. I thought the crying would traumatize her. Now that she is sleeping better and can self soothe she is a MUCH happier baby, and we have a much happier mommy!
Around 8 months we took a giant road trip in the car. 3,326 miles to be exact. How I did this, I do not know. I will not be leaving my house for quite some time now! Upon our return I decided it was finally time to move her into her own room and out of ours. This was a hard decision for me because I had originally pictured her being in our room until around a year old, especially because it just made nursing so much easier. However, I realized we were all disrupting each others sleep. Either she woke us up, or we would wake her. I just knew it was time to give her her own space.
The results of her being in her own room have been super great for all of us! Now we do not have to tip toe around at night and I can finally use my giant soaker tub. I am also happy to report that several nights this week she has only woken ONE time at night to nurse. She has also slept the rest of the night, from 7:30pm until 6:30/7am. I hope this pattern will continue, because the extra sleep has been so amazing for all of us. We have a happier baby and a happier mommy!
If you are a mommy going to attempt to sleep train you need some support. Please feel free to contact me below! You are not in this alone, and we will get some sleep!