Sleep Training

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Sleep training

So the last few weeks I’ve posted a lot about the LACK of sleep I’ve been getting and all the different things I’ve been trying to help solve that. Between swaddles and suits and beds and this and that. Every time I posted something, I got a lot of messages enquiring if that one thing worked or made a difference. So, I’m going let you know what so far, has worked for us.

Finnegan was an amazing sleeper. At three weeks old we bought the Ollie swaddle and he started sleeping 7 hours. He regressed around 5 months and I started co-sleeping with him till he was almost 8 months. Then we decided to sleep train. In one day. He was able to fall asleep in his crib and sleep through the night with zero issue and same with his naps.

So, I’m a firm believer in sleep training because I’ve seen the results.

River has never been as great of a sleeper. He has always known his days and nights. We established that early. But his stretches have never exceeded four hours. Maybe 3 times he did a 5 hour stretch. And then after that first stretch he would wake every hour to hour 1/2. Most nights I was getting up 6 to 7 times. S H U T U P. talk about surviving off iced coffee. (prior to children i never drank coffee)

At rivers four month check I spoke with his doctor about being ready to sleep train him. She said she felt comfortable with that and also said it was a good time.

So here’s our method that works for us. And for our boys.

During the day we follow a version of the baby wise method.
We wake, feed, play, sleep. So immediately after River wakes I nurse him till he pulls off. Then he’s a happy camper and we hang out for the next hour 1/2. Then it’s down for a nap for an hour 1/2 – 2 hours. Then wake, feed, play, back down. (if i notice I’m starting to fuss after being up an hour or hour 15 min then i put him down, we aren’t crazy strict that i has to be that much time up)

Sometimes in the evening we keep him up for 2 hours or so and cluster feed during that time. So I’ll nurse him more often and I also will heat a bottle of expressed breast milk and keep feeding that to him. I like to do that because I know exactly how much milk he’s eaten, I don’t have to keep pulling my shirt up, I can still play with Finn, and it helps river continue to work with taking bottles.

Around 8 pm we give him a bath. Most nights I don’t wash him I just let him sit in there a few minutes to cue into the start of bedtime routine. After bath we go into his room, I usually stop talking to him at this point, use dim lighting, I use this lotion to give a baby massage, put a onsie on, put young living lavender essential oil or gentle baby essential oil on the bottom of his feet, diffuse lavender and cedarwood in his room, put his sleep sack on, turn on the sound machine which we keep set to “white noise” lights off, nurse him one last time, then we use the dock a tot in his crib, set him down and walk out.
He doesn’t ever cry at this point. He is usually tired and again he knows it’s bed time.
From here, if he wakes before a 6 hour stretch, I will go in, no talking, no picking up, I will give him his pacifier and then walk back out. Our experience has been he goes right back to sleep, if he starts to cry again, I set a 5 minute timer and then will go back in give paci, walk out. I’ll repeat this as long as needed and I will start to move up the increments.
1. 5 minutes
2. 5 minutes
3. 6 minutes
4. 7 minutes
5. 8 minutes
6. 8 minutes
7. 9 minutes
8. 10 minutes
9. 10 minutes
Because of his age i would stay at 10 minutes and wouldn’t let him cry longer. When I sleep trained Finn I went to 15 minutes because he was much older and was able to get his own pacifier.
I have never had to do more than two 5 minute “sessions” with river.
As a mother you know your baby. You know in your gut if it’s time to pick them up and feed them. So you go with that.
The biggest peice of advice I have is, once you start you have to commit. If not, you’re hurting the baby more. If out of frustration one day you let them cry but then the next day feel bad and don’t, what’s that teaching them? It’s confusing for them. Then they think well why am I getting held today but maybe not tomorrow? This is out of love not out of frustration. If you stick to it it should only take a day or two. With tweaks here and there.

So river usually still is waking about 3 or four hours around midnight, we do the above. ( i started writing this last week, he is now not waking anymore and doing a consistent 5-6 first stretch) Paci and out. It usually takes one time. Once he has done 6 hours or more I will nurse him. Then back stretch, If he wakes before doing 2-3 hours, paci and I walk out. If he does a 2 or 3 hour I will nurse him. That’s putting us usually around 5 or 6 am. He usually will go back down again after that and then he starts waking around 630-730 am. At that time I go in say good morning! Take his sleep sack off and turn the lights on and start talking to him. I want him to now know it’s morning and day and it’s the correct time for him to be awake and alert.
Then it all starts again, in about an hour 1/2 it’s back down. White noise. Sleep sack. In his crib in the dock a tot. No talking.
I always have woken the boys up. You hear a lot of people say never wake a sleeping baby. Well, I wake my babies. First because it’s a nap. Not nighttime. Second, if they sleep too long they will sleep into when they should have been feeding and they will wake up famished, pissed and overly hungry and it’s no fun. And again, I am nursing. It’s important in these first months to build a supply and your body know it need enough milk to feed. If you are going too long without feeding your body may think it doesn’t need to produce. And I am not willing to mess with my supply.
Best of luck and I hope this helps a bit. I promise that’s it’s a little bit of short term Uncomfortability for long term comfortability.
Message me if you have any questions.

Here’s the products we are using that work for us:

Mam pacifiers
Dock a tot
Sound machine
Ollie swaddle we used from first born in the hospital till 4 months. then he started breaking free and getting frustrated that his arms were down. we were able to keep finn in his ollie till he was 8 months.
Zipadee Zip this is now what he sleeps in and he does amazing. he loves being able to have his hands up near his face and this swaddle allows him to do that but still manages the amount he can move so he doesn’t startle himself.

good luck!! and again this doesn’t work for everyone, but for us its been a god send both times xx

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