Ok so a friend ask me a few weeks back to post about sleep training. First and foremost let me say I do not know everything about sleeping or a baby. I've only been doing this for a year. Also, my child wasn't hard at all to sleep train, so that makes it easier on me. I must give all credit to my sister, she is the one who told me what to do and how to do it. I did read Baby Wise, but after about 4 chapters I was over it. I wasn't willing to read an entire book that repeated itself over and over and over. The overall goal was- you put your child on your schedule. You decide when they sleep and eat. I can remember being 9 months pregnant and pulling the book back out bc I didn't feel "ready" ,but still the second time it was the same thing. So I closed the book and listened to my sister. She did this twice and I trusted her and every single piece of advice she gave me.
So here it goes... First of all you must have a miracle blanket. Not just any swaddle, it must be a miracle blanket. From day one I swaddled her. At first I only swaddled at night time. In hopes that she would figure out day vs. night. She slept all the time at first, no set nap time just lots of sleep, but at night time usually around 10 (at first) I swaddled her and put her down. Our first real routine was 10-2-6. When she woke up at two I never unswaddled her. (unless she was dirty) I fed her with the lights off and put her back down. I really think when I would unswaddle her she would wake up. The lights are a biggie too. Leave them off unless you want to get up! Then at six, I would unswaddle her, feed her and change her diaper. Gradually her naps became real naps, not just sleeping all day long. At this point I started swaddling her for naps too. She would take a morning nap, a short lunch nap, and then afternoon. I remember being worried that this was too much, but it wasn't. Eventually she quit the lunch time nap and developed 2 big naps. One at 8:30 and one at 1:30 we still to this day take these naps... same time every single day.
Back to night sleep- I started realizing by the time she was one month old that she was getting really fussy around 6 pm, so we assumed she was tired...Bingo we.were.right! So that night we gave her a bath at six, fed her, swaddled her and put her to bed. Crazy huh... I was a nervous wreck. I just knew I was screwing everything up bc the 10-2-6 thing wasn't bad. What in the heck was I doing? Crazy or not she slept til two just like always and woke at six. Shutup... I was pumped. I remember telling Tyler now all we need is that two o'clock feeding to stop and we have won this training game!
I am a big believer in rice cereal. Not just a little A LOT! The best way I can explain it is "runny applesauce" I started putting cereal in the 6:30 bottle and within a few weeks she quit waking up at two. So at this point I was thrilled. We hadn't even had to do the crying it out thing yet.
Seventeen weeks after she was born, I went back to work and was so glad we were on this fabulous schedule. Then all of a sudden one night she started waking up at 2:30 I can remember laying in bed and saying to Tyler "I know she isn't hungry", bc after all she had been sleeping all night. The first night I went in to check on her. I walked in her room (no lights) picked her up (without saying a word) and checked her diaper. She was wet, but nothing out of the normal. I changed her, laid her back down and without uttering a word walked out. The screaming did begin but didn't last too long. I know the no talking thing sounds mean, but she had to understand that it was night time, and at night time we sleep. Its dark and we don't talk or play. It only took a few night of this and she quickly figured out there was no point to scream her head off. This only happened a few nights and then it just stopped. Of course, we still will have nights when she doesn't feel good that things don't go so smoothly, but 95% of the time she sleeps soundly all night long.
So at this point she was swaddled from 6:30 pm to 6 am and sleeping great. The next battle was 6/7 months when she was too big for the miracle blanket. I was FREAKING out! How in the world was I going to do this? I just knew she would wake herself up with those hands. I decided to start with taking just her arms out during naps only. We gradually got rid of the swaddle and she rolled over on her belly and slept just fine. Some nights she falls asleep taking a bottle, other nights she is awake when I lay her down and she puts herself to sleep. Just tonight she talked for about 30 minutes before crashing, but never cried.
Today we are still on this schedule and she will be a year old in a few weeks. I am fine if she stays on this schedule for another year. Heck, I'd be fine is she were on this schedule for 10 more years. It works. Is it always easy on us? Nope, not at all. We have no life after 6 pm unless we have a babysitter. We eat dinner early and we don't sleep past 6 am most days, but I have a happy happy baby that knows exactly what to expect. She knows she will wake at 6...nap from 8:30- 9:30/10..then nap again from 1:30-2:30/3... then take a bath around 6:30 and go to bed by 7. Schedules are good for us. Even my students do better on schedules. Kids like to know what to expect.
Like I said earlier this blog was not at all intended to sound like I know everything about sleep training, because I DON'T! But maybe, just maybe it will help someone. It sure works well for us.
Have a great week!
XOXO Liza's mom