Thursday, February 25, 2016

Sleep Training Your Baby


There is nothing a new mom wants more than for her sweet baby to sleep through the night.  I remember with Brynn, Steve and I had a talk where we each stated something that was super important to us when parenting. One specific rule that we absolutely wanted to stick to.  Steve's was that our baby would not sleep in our bed & have a bedtime, and mine was that we would have family dinners at the dinner table together.  I remember spending many hours scouring the internet, blogs, books etc on how to sleep train our sweet Brynn.  After combining several things from several places we did it and Brynn was always a rock star sleeper!


Upon becoming pregnant with Jolie, I was scared! I was spoiled, spoiled rotten.  I had been sleeping a full nights sleep for well over two years.  My baby slept all night, and took great naps, how could I go into zombie mode again! EEEk!

For the first three months, just like we did with Brynn we had no set schedule.  Went with the flow and winged it.  Sleep deprived, delirious...the usual newborn mom routine!

I decided that since our sleep training worked so well with Brynn that I would implement the exact routine with our sweet Jolie, in hopes that we would reap the same rewards.  We did just that and in a weeks time our second baby was sleeping through the night 11/12 hours straight each night.
With this success I have had many friends ask how did we do it?  Now, I am by no means an expert, but I do have two sleeping babes, so here is what worked for us...and here is our go to plan.

Our Day Time Routine:
6: bottle
9:00 yogurt, fruit
10:00 bottle
10:00 nap
1:00 bottle
2:00 nap
4/4:30 late afternoon nap if she lays down.
5:00 dinner (veggie)
6:00 bath
7:00 bottle/bed


Basics:
You need a routine.  Routine, routine, routine.  Babies thrive on routine, and if they know what to expect it helps immensly.
Create a sleep friendly environment.  (more on this later)
Wean middle of the night feedings.
Don't fret, sleep training does not have to mean crying it out.

OK, so to start with, routine.  This to me, is the most important part of the whole deal.  If you do the same things each night leading up til bed time, baby will know what is coming.
We do a bedtime routine of 7-7.  So, we start at 6.  At six we do bath time.  This wears them out and is a great part of a bedtime routine.  We always use lavendar soap.  Now, I don't know if this really is calming, but we have always done this.  Afterwards we do lavender lotion, jammies and bottle.  It is then very close to 7.  I take Jolie in her nursery, rock her in the rocking chair until she is drowsy but sill awake.  This is important.  If you put them in the crib awake they still have to learn to self soothe and put themselves to bed.  This is a key sleep skill.

Environment:
I used a black out shade in both of my kids rooms.  This darkens the room and is another signal for sleep.  If the room is light and bright you have the chance of baby waking up and being distracted by something in the room.  SO, blackout shade = essential!
Second...white noise machine!  This is my number one baby gift for all new moms.  It mimics the sound that babies hear in the womb.  I always, always start this from day one home from the hospital. White noise machine..get it. Target. $20.
I can't sing this thing enough praises.  It also will signal sleep when you turn it on, and also helps with blocking out background noise in the house.  I still to this day use a white noise machine in my almost three year olds room.  Dishes, loud cars, crying baby, dog barking...anything that could possibly wake one up...the white machine blocks it out.
At the time that I transfer my kids to their cribs and own rooms, I give them the aden and anais security blanket.  It is a small little breathable blanket with silk rim.  Both of my girls took to this immediately.  It gave them a sense of security being in the crib and both will rub the silk between their fingers and on the face and fall asleep. 

Next, Sleep training doesn't have to mean cry it out!
While I am not against cry it out by any means, I can't just let them scream for hours and hours.  To each their own, but this is what I read and what had worked for us both times.
I lay the baby down at seven and set the timer.  The first night I will go back in the room every five minutes and pat their booty, shhhh them, tell them its ok, mommy is still there.  However, I will not pick them up, and I do not stay in their room more than a minute.  I continue this every five minutes until they fall asleep.
Second night,  same routine but every ten minutes.
Third night, same routine every 15 minutes.
Fourth, every 20.

Now, I have not had either one of my girls have to go past day four.   By day four both of my girls were sleeping through the night.  Not to say that they never cry or fuss but if they do its not for very long at all.

Weaning: With Brynn she weaned herself and was sleeping through the night by week 6.  With Jolie, different story.  She was still waking up at between 2 and three and 5/6.

I waited until the full 6 months to cut out the middle of the night feeding.  Everything I read said that between 4-6 months babies do not need a middle of the night feeding anymore.  So, I waited until the 6 months to cut off fully.  I started with night one taking her normal 6oz bottle down to 5 oz, then 4 oz, then 3oz and then 2 and then nothing at all.  I am not going to lie...that last night Jolie cried for an hour and a half.  I went in there and pat her booty and soothed her back to sleep every five/ten minutes and by the second night she was fine and sleeping through.  Now, every night she sleeps until 5:30/6 am.  I will feed her at this time and try to get her to go back down.  Most the time she will, but sometimes not, in which case we start our day.

Also, important to note, this routine will get screwed up several times throughout the year...teething, sick, a new milestone like rolling over or crawling...and you will have to retrain sometimes.

I definitely don't consider myself to be a sleep expert.  However, I do know that I used the same technique on each child and it worked both times!  I found tremendous help in reading other blogs and other mommies sleep routines and I hope that this will help another fellow sleep deprived mama out there!

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