Man, I get it. I’ve been there before. So incredibly sleep deprived that you stumble to the crying baby during the middle of the night, do what you need to do and have no recollection of it the next day. I know that dream-feeding is a real term for babies, but I believe it translates to parents too. I was dream-feeding, changing, soothing, comforting my baby for 4 solid months. Then I was staggering through the next day half-drunk like, half zombie like only to fall into the same cycle that night.
The truth is, I did this for 2 solid years with my third child. I never had the guts or willpower to sleep train him. I almost lost him at 6 weeks old to RSV, and from that moment on I couldn’t stomach to hear him cry. I ran to him with every fuss and before I knew it, he was 2 years old.
To this day he is still my worst sleeper, and I regret not sleep training him. But, live and learn is what I always say especially as a mom of 4.
I decided to take serious action with sleep training Jude early. My reasons probably look a lot like yours:
- I want to sleep.
- I want him to be in his own bed.
- I want to be able to travel with him this spring / summer without him waking everyone up in the hotel rooms.
- I want to be able to leave him with a sitter or my parents and let them put him down with a normal routine.
- I want to sleep, damnit!
I decided this would be the week to try a new sleep training method. I didn’t read books, so I’m not sure exactly what method this is called. I reached out to a good friend of mine who does this for a living and asked for her advice.
I started sleep training Sunday night. He cried 3-4 hours straight and was up every single hour. It. Was. Hell. However, today is Friday and he slept 10 hours straight last night without making a peep! He woke up because he had a blowout… I changed him, fed him and put him back down and he’s now on hour 12 of sleep!!!
This. Method. Works!
A few words of warning first.
- Your baby will cry. A lot. They aren’t crying because they are hungry, they are crying because they are used to you picking them up and comforting them.
- I don’t recommend sleep training alone if you are working a 9-5 job. I did all of the sleep training solo because I don’t work during the day. I’m not even kidding when I say I’ve felt drunk all week during the day due to sleep deprivation. If you do have to work, seek out help during this process. Whether it’s your partner, neighbor, sister, best friend, or hire a professional. Find someone to help you!
- Your baby needs to be more than 10 lbs. to start sleep training. After 10 lbs, experts say a baby has the capability to sleep through the night.
Sleep Training Steps:
- Have a routine: I have 4 kids, so I know routines are challenging. But create something that cues baby it’s time for bed. For us, I find a bath, lotion and feeding are cues for Jude that it’s bedtime. I have the white noise playing during our entire routine. After feeding him, I swaddle him up (HE STILL CANNOT ROLL OVER, WHEN HE CAN ROLL OVER I WILL HAVE TO REMOVE HIM FROM FULL SWADDLE) I then place him in his crib.
- White Noise and Darkness: If you don’t have a white noise machine, buy one. All of my kids have slept with them. Experts say it’s comforting for baby because it mimics the sounds from the womb. We have an Alexa in our room that we ask to play “white noise on loop” Make sure that white noise machine doesn’t shut off! Also, try to make the room as dark as possible.
- Baby will cry: Set your timer on your phone for 10 minutes. Try to keep your mind off the crying. After 10 minutes, go into baby’s room… do not talk to baby, do not turn on light, do not pick baby up. Simply rub baby’s belly, offer paci, lay your arm next to baby to mimic being held. Once baby settles, even if for 30 seconds… leave the room and set your timer for 12 minutes. Add 2 minutes every time you go in.
- The first nights will SUCK! Jude cried the entire night on day 1. I mean the entire night….. but I didn’t pick him up once. It was torture. I cried. My husband questioned what I was doing. I cried some more. But we made it through the night.
- Don’t Break the Streak! I was so tempted that first night to pick him up around 4 or 5 am, because I justified he had had enough, but I didn’t do it. I didn’t pick him up until it was time to wake up for the day. Then on night 5, he slept 10 hour straight!! Without making a peep.
So that is what has been working for us. Granted this is week 1, and I know there are many items to still tackle, like rolling over, teething, colds…. but today I’m happy with the progress we’ve made.
Comment below and tell me if you sleep train and what method worked for you!!!
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