Sleep Training Connor

Ah mommy shaming… who knew sleep training was also grounds for unsolicited advice? If you’re reading this, I hope you too are curious about what I’m doing to get more sleep, be a happier human and have a well rested child.

Parents who sleep train their children reportedly are 70% less likely to have postpartum depression.

Sleep training isn’t necessarily cry it out, aka CIO. But even if it is, critics say CIO has a lasting negative impact on children primarily effecting how they handle and respond to stress. I ask, “Do you know how hard it is to study the effects of crying in a baby in regards to their development as an child or adult!?” How do you design a study that accounts for all other factors like environment, parents, diet, genetics, socioeconomics, etc… ??? Similarly to breastfed vs formula, no adult has ever been asked what choice their parents made for them.

That being said, sleep training your child teaches them how to self soothe and fall asleep, something many adults struggle with. Lack of sleep effects your overall health negatively. Shouldn’t we all want to learn how to fall asleep quick, stay asleep and fall back asleep should we wake up? According to one sleep book for infants and children, you learn the fundamentals of healthy sleep when you are very young.

Phew, glad we got that out of the way… 

So, Connor was waking up 3-5 times a night at 15 weeks old. I reached out to Boston NAPS for a phone call sleep consultation. The following Monday, I had an appointment to speak with one of their specialist.

I told her that Connor was still in our room, in a DockATot, would wake up and want to nurse, felt like he was eating more during the night than the day, took a pacifier when he would wake up sometimes and cry when it would fall out without falling back asleep, and napped on the go. Also that Tommy reluctantly was sleeping in our room most nights starting in the middle of the night.

Sleep Training 4 months old

Here were her tips:

First, never sleep train before 12 weeks. We are starting at 16 weeks.

Next we needed to create a good sleep environment and stay consistent! I was putting Connor to “bed” at random times based on when I wanted to go to bed transferring him from the swing downstairs to the Arm’s Reach often doing a dream feed because he woke up during the transfer

She recommended we lose the swaddle, the DockATot, the pacifier and potentially the baby shusher. She also suggested we put him in his crib in his room but since the boys will be sharing a room and Tommy ends up in our room, we decided to just leave Connor next to me for now.

Connor’s new bedtime was 8pm and no later. We needed to make sure he wasn’t overtired. It will move closer to 7, 7:30 she said.

For our routine, I change his diaper, read him a book, nurse him and then put him down sleepy but awake. When I put him down, he might cry and if he does, I needed to be prepared… 

It’s ok to let him cry. He will learn quick. Crying means that he is frustrated and annoyed. My primary reason for sleep training was that Connor needed to learn that the night is not for eating and for sanity as I was on the brink of exhaustion. I am choosing to still feed him once in the night until he is 6 months if he wakes up. Does he need it? Probably not but I’m OK with it. 

PLAN

If he starts crying after I put him down at 8, wait 10 minutes. Let him cry for 10 minutes, then go in for 10 seconds. All I should do is pat him, touch his hair, tell him I love him and “time to go to sleep.” Walk out of the room after 10 seconds. Don’t pick him up. 

If he continues to cry, double the time before going back in which now means 20 minutes. Wait 20 minutes if he continues to cry. Then go in room for 10 seconds, same thing. Then, wait again 40 minutes if still crying. Again, only go in for 10 seconds. 

It’s OK to never go in, too! We are teaching him how to master falling asleep on his own.

By 6 months, we plan to cut out the one feed in middle of night. But for now, here is our plan for after he falls asleep…  

Don’t feed before 2 am. If he wakes up, just leave him. I could do check in time intervals as outlined above or just leave him. When we get to 2 am, I can feed him whenever that is that he wakes up.

If though he is crying at 1:30 am and doesn’t stop until 2 am… I should wait for there to be a lull in his cries, then go scoop him up and feed. Feed him and then put right back down. 

For every other wake up after my one feed, just leave him until 6:30 am and use similar time intervals if needed.

Once it’s 6:30 am (or later) wait for lull in cries, turn off sound machine, open blinds, and get baby out of the room. Make sure he doesn’t fall back asleep for at least 20 minutes. 

So how did he do? 

First night, he cried for maybe a minute falling asleep. I didn’t have to use the 10/20/40 thing… This I credit largely to learning to put him to bed sleepy but awake since he was born. This is a second time mom thing so don’t worry if you’re a first timer.

He did however wake up a lot during the night. I was covered in milk by 2 am because my body was used to nursing him all night, every night. He was up at 12, 1, 1:30… but then fell asleep. I think I didn’t feed him until 2:30 actually but once he woke up, he did not want to go back to sleep. Tommy was in our bed and didn’t seem phased. Nick finally had it and moved him into Tommy’s room in the Arm’s Reach where he fell asleep at 5:15 (??? who knows really) until 7:30 am. He was crying off an on for a large part of the night and it was really hard. REALLY HARD. But having done this before, I knew this would be the worst night.

He woke up and gave me the biggest smile in the morning by the way!

Night #2, again Connor fell asleep right away no crying. Slept straight through to his feeding at 2:30 am, but kept waking up afterwards making me think the feeding might be a bad idea. Tommy again was in our room at this point and was not fazed by any crying. He finally fell asleep around 3:30/4 and slept until 7 am.

Night #3, fell asleep right away, woke up at 3:30 am for a feeding and then went back to sleep (with a pacifier) until 7:30 am.

Tonight technically is night 4, and again, he went to sleep without a peep really.

Tommy really doesn’t seem to be bothered by the crying so I feel confident putting them in the same room but I won’t yet. I’ll wait until I cut out the nighttime feed for my own convenience.

With our sleep consultant, I get a day of texting that she said people usually use around day 4 and then a follow up call around 2 weeks later. I think I’m going to wait to use our texting until next week. I feel bad that I used a pacifier to get Connor to fall back asleep yesterday but it worked and we all slept great!

I already feel like a brand new human after just 2 nights of not waking up 6 times! I did wake up last night 3 times (1x with Connor and 2x with Tommy but that’s another post). But the point is, I actually slept!

Feel free to leave questions below but I am not the expert! Just sharing our experience and plan so far!

 

 

Sleep Training Connor

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22 Comments

  • Emilie
    Reply

    How does the sleep training apply to naps? I have a 2.5 yr old and 8 week old. The older one was/is always a great sleeper, but #2 is terrible. I know in the next month or so we will be sleep training him too. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Sarah
      Reply

      For now, she told me that cat naps are still OK especially since he naps on the go… second child problems. She recommended the first nap be in his “crib” if possible. If I put him down for a nap, same crying method goes however, if he cries for 45 minutes, take him out of his room for ten minutes and then try again. I rarely put Connor “down” for naps because he naps on the go with us…

  • Allison
    Reply

    My baby is a day younger than Connor, and I’m so ready to do some sleep training. He’s my second and I tried to do the put him down drowsy but awake thing all along but it just never worked. He doesn’t wake up a ton at night but struggles to go back down after like 3am. And it takes multiple attempts to get him down at night. He doesn’t have a set bedtime because his naps are all over the place and I struggle to get him to go down for a late evening nap that he desperately needs. Did she give you any advice about naps? Did you stop the swaddle and dockatot cold turkey? I’m having trouble figuring out how to sleep train with my 2 year old around. I can’t just leave him alone downstairs while I’m with the baby. Ugh it’s so hard.

    • Sarah
      Reply

      Yep. Cold turkey, both were lost at same time. I’m not the expert but I’d say to watch to see if baby is overtired and start being consistent about putting him down at the same time each night. You’ll have to do the cry it out thing the first night or 4 but I rarely encounter someone whose child it took longer than 4 nights to master.

  • Marcela
    Reply

    I have a few questions :/

    Did you have to change feedings to get more during the day since you felt he was eating more at night? And are u supplementing (either with bottle of breast milk or formula) to make him last longer at night?

    Was nick on board with CIO? I would like to do it but my husband isn’t. Does Boston NAPS recommends others methods?

    • Sarah
      Reply

      Nick was on board before I was! lol. I was soooo hesitant. hah. No supplementing and now he just knows he has to eat more during the day! I don’t really follow a schedule.

  • Delia
    Reply

    Don’t feel bad about resorting to the paci! There’s a fine line between them relying on it & it being a tool; sounds like you did the right thing. My first was paci reliant and it sucked getting up every time it rolls away, but the second could kinda take it or leave it, so no shame in having it to help lull them back to sleep. Helps them regulate their breathing & that keeps them calm so they can fall back asleep. Now, I can’t sleep bc I’m sick, don’t mind me posting @ 4 am lol

  • Kelly
    Reply

    Thanks for the post! My little one is a few days older than Connor and is currently going through the 4 month wakeful period, not to mention he’s never been the most consistent with daytime naps and nighttime still includes several wake ups to nurse back to sleep. I totally see the value in sleep training and am working on convincing my husband too so we can start teaching him these valueable skills! How did things go with removing the dockatot?

    • Sarah
      Reply

      I think he sleeps better once we removed dock a tot! I think he may sleep better in a real crib to be honest. I think he wants the extra space! He’s a big boy.

  • Megabrooke
    Reply

    Instead of the paci, do they just recommend the sleep training/letting them cry? Did you put him down without the paci to start? We have a 5 mo old we’re going to start ST once she kicks a cold she has!

    • Megabrooke
      Reply

      Oh, also, what’d they suggest for managing your boobs that are used to nursing every two hours? That’s where I’m at, so also wondering what I’d do… pump? (But then they’ll just still make milk… supply/demand), or just hope they adjust… somehow??

      • Sarah
        Reply

        For two nights, I was drenched in milk and then they regulated! No tips yet for cutting out the night feed all together but I assume similarly, your body adjusts and just takes a few nights.

    • Sarah
      Reply

      No paci at all! They told us to just cut it out cold turkey. We are still using in morning when he wakes up between 3 and 6:30… I’m no supposed to be according to their methods but doing what works for our family

  • Ciara
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing! What was their reasoning behind trading the swaddle for a sleep sack? Also, what did they say about not using a shusher? My son will be 5 months this weekend. We swaddle him and use a sound machine at night. Was working, but since he’s graduated from the newborn phase of sleep, he wakes up at night now. No problems putting him to sleep at night. Been working to not interfere with him when he wakes (holding, feeding, etc).

  • Coleen
    Reply

    My kids are 16 and 17 so I have no need to read about sleep training anymore. I just had to click on this because your little boy is so stinkin’ cute! As is Tommy!

  • Amy
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing! We sleep trained our first but he has always been a pretty good sleeper (and we used a paci until 16 months or so). I’m terrified that #2 is going to be a bad sleeper so I am soaking up the sleep training info!

  • Emily
    Reply

    Thank you for writing this! I’ve sleep trained my first two and will sleep train again in the future. I hate when people say mean things about sleep training. I always think- great for you for waking up with your baby a million times a night for 3 years, Cheryl, but that shit doesn’t fly around this house.

  • Dianne
    Reply

    Sleep training is a good thing. It gave me back my sanity and everyone slept better. If used correctly it’s a great tool. It sounds like you got this!

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