Category Archives: Sleep Training
I’m not sure I could ask for a more amazing, happy, easy baby. When Dr. Brown said that T could/should be sleeping 8 hours at a time, I was very worried. I didn’t think there would be any way to accomplish that without a huge fight, and I don’t wanna fight with my baby! Turns out, no fight necessary for this awesome dude. Here’s a quick recap of our sleep training adventure so far:
Night 1: Had fever from shots and got Tylenol. Put himself to sleep in less than 3 minutes with zero crying after a good ten minute snuggle session. Woke once after 6 hours to eat.
Night 2: Put himself to sleep in ten minutes with one minute and forty seconds of fussing. Not crying. Woke after 4 hours, but put himself back to sleep after Dad retrieved his nu-nu and started his musical seahorse. 3 minutes of crying. Woke again 2.5 hours later (6.5 hours since his last meal) to eat. Went right back to sleep for another 4 hours. Woke up happily jibber-jabbering in his crib while I brushed teeth, went potty, etc.
Night 3: Put himself to sleep in less than ten minutes with about 2 minutes of crying. Woke after 6 hours, but went back to sleep very quickly with help from a nu-nu and trusty Mr. Seahorse. Woke an hour later (yep, that’s 7 hours of sleep!) to eat and went right back to sleep for 3 hours. Woke up happy for the day!
Night 4: Put himself to sleep in under 5 minutes with no crying/fussing. Woke after 5 hours, fussed for less than 2 minutes, put himself back to sleep. Woke again after another 2 hours (7 hour stretch!!) to eat, fell back asleep for another 3 hours & woke up very happy for the morning!
Night 5: Put himself to sleep quickly. No crying. No fussing, either. Woke up after 6 hours to eat, then slept another 3.5 hours, and woke ready to start the day at 5:30am. I was definitely NOT ready to start the day, so I convinced him to cuddle in bed with me for almost 2 hours. He nursed and slept a little, then jibber-jabbered until about 7:30.
Night 6: Got a late start… we were at my parent’s house celebrating my husband’s birthday. He had spent the day with my mom while hubby & I took a few hours to ourselves to go on a date. Still put himself to sleep quickly with no crying. Woke up after 5 hours screaming for me. We tried to give him the nu-nu to get him back to sleep, but to no avail. He wanted mom. I nursed him. We had missed each other, I guess. The whole process took about an hour since we tried to nu-nu him first for about 20 minutes. Then he went back to sleep for another 4 hours. When he woke up at 6, I brought him in bed with me to nurse and cuddle. We fell back asleep for two hours! It was lovely.
I think he’s doing great… We couldn’t ask for more! Aside from the “I miss Mommy” bump in the road last night, this has gone ridiculously smoothly. I thought there would be more tears involved. I can’t believe that he pretty much did this all by himself without any crying!!! It’s a miracle, I think! If we can eliminate that “give me my nu-nu, please” waking at 1am, we’ll be doing perfectly! I don’t mind getting up to feed him at 3-4 after seven or eight hours of sleep… In fact, I really enjoy it! I miss him at night! I’m wondering, though, how this is going to go once I go back to work. I wouldn’t be shocked if there were more night wakings.
And, now… because I simply couldn’t resist:
To cry it out, or not to cry it out… that is the question.
Our story starts a little over a month ago. Around the 3-month mark, T started to regress in his nighttime sleep. Seriously. He had been going to bed around 10, sleeping a 5-6 hour stretch, waking to eat sometime between 3am & 4am, then sleeping another 2-4 hours. Perfect. Amazing. I can handle that!
Suddenly he was sleeping for 3 hours, waking to eat at 1am, sleeping for 2 hours, waking to eat at 3am, then waking up every hour after that until finally starting the day at 7am. With John working nights, I was alone and responsible for every night waking. Needless to say, I was exhausted! Dr. Brown had warned us that this would happen. At T’s 2-month visit she said that he would likely regress soon because between 3-4 months babies begin to remember being rocked to sleep in mom’s arms. She warned us that he would likely wake up in his crib frightened and unable to soothe himself.
I vaguely remembered her words as I rocked T to sleep for the millionth time one night. So, naturally, I did a google search for “sleep training.” I found dozens and dozens of cry it out techniques… but that totally freaked me out.
Some of them suggested letting your baby cry for more than an hour! NO WAY could I just leave T in a crib to cry himself to sleep. Just thinking about it makes me tear up. I know, I know… it’s the quickest way for him to learn to put himself to sleep and soothe himself, blah blah blah. Whatever.
I didn’t think he was ready for that. I wasn’t ready for that!
So, we compromised.
I would nurse/rock T to sleep at the beginning of the night. I would teach him to soothe himself during subsequent night wakings by letting him fuss in very small intervals, going to check on him every 3, 5, and 7 minutes. After a 6 hour stretch, I would feed him if he woke up. The first night went very well. T woke up after three hours and cried (not screamed) for a total of 22 minutes before putting himself to sleep. I went in after 3 minutes, then again after 5 minutes, then again after two 7-minute intervals. Before the third 7-minute interval was up, T was sleeping like a baby. He slept until 5am, when I fed him and we snuggled for a few hours before starting the day.
We went through this process for several nights. By the third night, T slept through the night! I was so proud, although my boobs were in serious pain when we woke up. Everything was going perfectly. T was well-rested, I was well-rested, John wasn’t hearing us complain anymore.
We went on vacation. Oh, vacation. What a love/hate relationship we have. Of course, being in a new place and all out of his routine, T went back to waking up once, twice, or thrice (yes, thrice) a night. Obviously, I felt like an idiot for wasting all that time sleep training right before we went out of town. When we got back, I was frustrated. And tired. And John was working nights. I was in no condition to start the process over. Honestly, it’s emotionally draining to hear your baby cry for any length of time. No one told me that! So, basically, for the past couple of weeks T has been sleeping in bed with me.
After T’s 4-month well baby visit, we decided it was time. Dr. Brown mentioned that it would be easier in the middle of the night if T would put himself to sleep at the beginning of the night. She suggested changing our nighttime routine by nursing first, then bathing/rocking T until he was sleepy, but still awake. She said he is absolutely capable of sleeping for 8 hours at a time. We tried it last night, and ya know what?
He didn’t even cry.
He was asleep in less than 7 minutes. Probably way less. His musical seahorse plays for 7 minutes. By the time it went off, I didn’t hear him crying. I went in to check on him, and he was sleeping like… well, like a baby. He slept for 6 hours. I fed him, then he slept for another 4 hours.
Hopefully, this is the start of something new. I will definitely keep you posted.