Let me just start by saying sleep training is NOT for everyone. If you don’t want to hear your child crying, screaming or whimpering… then don’t do it! But do not tell me that I’m a bad Mom because I let my child cry. I’m actually better at “momming” when I get my sleep! I need sleep, I don’t function without sleep.
The Good: the good is you and your babe get sleep! If you’re a new mom, you will learn that naptimes are LIFE. You get to have down time, you get to rest, you get to clean up the house, you get to do what you want & you get to nap too if you want to! And as for bedtime, you get alone time.. yes, ALONE time. You can binge watch your favorite show, eat chocolate without having to hide it from your toddler, hangout with your significant other, even have sex with that significant other!… there are so many gooooooods.
The Bad: the bad is your whole life now revolves around the sleep schedule. Once you make the schedule, and your babe follows the schedule, its very hard to break that schedule. A playdate at 10:00AM? Nope! Thats naptime, we cant leave the house at that time. A birthday party that starts at 1:00PM? UGHH! Thats 2nd naptime! We cant go because if we do, the babe will be hella cranky. Which leads into…
The Ugly: the ugly is having a baby who will only sleep in a crib. The ugly is not being able to leave the house because you can anticipate a full on meltdown because of an overtired, cranky babe. The ugly can get ugly, make you lose your patience, make you wish your child can sleep anywhere and make you wish you never had that stupid schedule! But then the…
The Beautiful: oooooh the beautiful is just so beautiful! Its, SLEEP! and a well rested, happy child & mommy. It truly makes the ugly all worth it.
I sleep trained both my boys at 4 months old and have never regretted it. I often get asked, “how did you do it, did they scream the whole time and did it actually work?” The answer.. Consistency, no and yes. In order to sleep train, you need to: do your research, be consistent & you need to have a schedule. I read books, I followed @takingCarababies (she’s amazing) and I was apart of a “sleep training” group on Facebook.
I found that the CIO (cry it out) method was best for me/us. Both my boys were in the Halo, in a dockatot in my room until they were 4 months old. I’ll never forget, Johnny cried the first night in his crib for 35 minutes and I proceeded to drink a whole bottle of wine. The second night, he only cried for 10 minutes and by the third night he went right to sleep. Its amazing how quickly babies can grasp the concept of consistency and routine. I knew he was fed, was burped and had a clean diaper. He was crying the first night because he was used to me nursing him, then rocking him to sleep & putting him to bed fully asleep. He was used to the “comfort” of falling asleep on me. As for middle of the night wake ups, I would let him whine or cry, find his binky and pray he would go back to sleep. If he cried for more than 15 minutes, I would go in, pat his back, give him the binky and walk out. After night 3, he slept through the whole night. Johnny was in his crib up until we moved and I transitioned him into a “big boy bed”. I should’ve kept him in his crib, because that transition was definitely not as smooth!! As for Xander, he will stay in his crib until college.
I changed things up when it came to Xander, because I started following @takingcarababies. She basically tells you NOT to ever rock, nurse or lull your baby to sleep. So, I feed him, burp him, change his diaper and put him directly into the crib. He didn’t cry like Johnny did on that first night in the crib, because he was never “used to” that rocking comfort of falling asleep in my arms. I also used the Magic Merlin Sleep Suit when I transitioned him to the crib and it was the best crutch. Xander loved his swaddle and dockatot, hes a snuggler. He literally can’t go to bed unless he has his snuggies from Slumberkins. He was in the sleepsuit until he hit 6 months old and started rolling and since then, he has just been in his sleep sack. I found it much easier to sleep train Xander, I learned from my “mistakes” with Johnny and also found more tools in helping the process. Research is knowledge!
So whats my routine like? Its the same every night for both boys. Johnny knows what to anticipate so there are not fights, tantrums or surprises which makes us all happy! Even if we’re out at night, I make sure both boys get into the tub before bed. For Xander, I feel that it signifies that its bedtime, not nap time and for Johnny… who wants a dirty, smelly footed toddler crawling in their bed at 1:00 in the morning?!
- 6:15PM Dinner
- 6:45PM Bathtime
- 7:00PM Storytime (2 books only)
- 7:15PM Bed
- 7:30AM Wake up!
I am by NO means a sleep expert, but I do know what worked for me and maybe this blog post will now help you?! What I can say is that if you’re on the fence about sleep training, do it. Your baby will not remember crying that first, second or maybe even third night. They won’t feel like you’re abandoning them. What they will feel is well rested & happy, and so will you!!
- Instagram: @takingcarababies
- Facebook: Taking Cara Babies & Taking Cara Babies – The ABC’s
- of sleep
- Facebook: Respectful Sleep Training/Learning
- The Wonder Weeks (there is an APP & Book)
- Baby Sleep Trainer Way by Natalie Wiles (She also has great youtube videos on this)
- Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman