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.
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.
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!