SLEEP! The magical word among moms and dads alike. When ‘they’ tell you sleep is nonexistent with a newborn, you can’t really imagine it until you are a new parent. But, what ‘they’ don’t tell you is that you will NEVER sleep! Between teething, cuddles, and whatever other things are keeping your baby awake, sleep is now a pure luxury. You get to the point where you just literally POP out of bed at the first cry and walk into the nursery with one eye glued shut. And just when you think you will get some sleep, your sleep schedule is so off that even 8 hours is still screaming, COFFEE and more COFFEE!!Around 4-5 months I began researching sleep training and different methods. Before I tell you about the method we chose, this isn’t for everyone. Some parents don’t feel comfortable doing any sort of cry it out (CIO) method. I am just sharing what worked for our family. In no way do I think the CIO method was harmful or neglectful to my baby or we wouldn’t have used it. Moral of the story- do what works for your family! Savannah knows we love and care for her and not for a minute do I think she doubts that. We made sure she was comfortable, fed, had a clean diaper, and safe in her crib.
We chose to use the Ferber Method, or progressive sleep method. You put your baby down to sleep while still awake (but sleepy) and check on him/her in increasing intervals of time. After 2 nights, Savannah was sleeping all by herself! When you go into the room to check on baby, you don’t pick baby up, but just give baby pacifier or put your hand on them to soothe. This way they learn to soothe themselves and fall asleep. I read somewhere in the Ferber method research that the reasoning behind this is because babies don’t like falling asleep in one place and waking in another. For example, if you were to hold baby to fall asleep and then put them in crib, when they wake up they are in a totally different spot! I would advise reading the Ferber method book to dive deeper into the subject, and I didn’t necessarily do that but wish I had.
The first thing I would advise is to evaluate your baby’s current bedtime. We put her down to bed around 9 or 10pm when she was younger (newborn-4 months). Once we realized her bedtime should be around 7pm, she slept so much better! It sounds counterproductive, but it really does make for better sleep and gives me and my husband alone time at night to unwind.For the sleep training, we used the chart provided on this website. It lists the waiting times in between checking on your baby. The best advice I have when you are pulling your hair out listening to your baby cry is STAY BUSY! The first night I did yoga (bad choice since there is no relaxing involved). The second night I did a high intensity workout to blow off the steam and stress of listening to her cry! The first night took 45 minutes for her to go to sleep on her own and the second night was around 15-20 minutes. That’s it!! And now she goes to bed like clockwork every night at 7pm! We lay her down in her crib and she may let out a whimper or two, but she goes right to sleep. We pray this carries into her toddlerhood! The hardest part of the sleep training for us was listening to her cry.
We also did this method at the same time for naps. She is currently in the process of switching from two naps to one longer morning nap, around 2 hours. Same methods used, laying her down awake to fall asleep on her own. As a mother, you get used to knowing their sleep patterns and when they are ready to take a nap. Here’s some other helpful tools to have while sleep training:
Fish tank for crib
By no means am I a sleep expert. In fact, last night she was up several times wanting to breastfeed for comfort as a new tooth came through. If you stay consistent and keep a bedtime routine, that has seemed to work the best for us. Also, I am still breastfeeding at 14 months, so it seems babies wake more throughout the night when breastfed. But her waking on average only once per night I will take! She typically sleeps from 7pm to 7:30 or 8 am with one or two wakings in between. I wasn’t consistent with the middle of the night wakings, being so tired. I could just give her the pacifier and she may learn to soothe herself back to sleep but I breastfeed. I guess its the easy way out! So this is just what has worked for us. But I would highly recommend it for others struggling with the bedtime routine!
Please post any questions you have in the comments. We are on this journey together!
Thanks for reading!