Sleep Training - What Worked for Us
My 5-month Grayson pic that I posted on Social Media had a few comments that went something like “how the f*%^ do you get your 5 month old to sleep 12 hours?!”
Jon and I are both research nuts. Sometimes I think we should just let time pass rather than obsess about whatever it is we’re obsessing about, but it’s fun to learn in the process.
It had been a while since we sleep trained Liv and Grayson is a totally different baby so I knew we had to go about it in a new way. He still had reflux, slow to gain weight (yet eat likes a champ so I’m not sure what’s going on there) and was a terrible sleeper. Like, some nights up every 45 minutes, others he would give a 5-7 stretch. I couldn’t figure it out. Nor could this “over-functioner” deal with the inconsistency and unpredictability of what my night was going to be.
So we enlisted the help of an amazing sleep consultant through The Baby Sleep Site. I couldn’t see through the fog to put together a game plan, everything I read seemed conflicting. So over the Fourth of July, when he was a little over four months, we went for it. I should preface for two weeks before this we really worked on “Fixed Feedings” meaning he would go to bed at 7pm, I would dream feed him around 10:30 and then only feed him again at 3am or later. So, if he woke up anytime between the dream feed and 3am, he would not eat. We would go to him and soothe him, but he needed to learn to not expect the boob whenever we cried. This actually worked for my sanity and Jon was able to help and I’d like to say that Grayson started to get used to it.
Ok, so two weeks later, we sort of threw out the sleep consultants recommendation at the last second. I just couldn’t stomach the “check and repeat” or the Ferber method. I don’t have the patience for that nor do I think G’s temperament would have been OK with that.
I found this article about sleep training in 3 days and bingo. The premise is Cry It Out, but they have some rules to abide by to make it successful. First night, he cried for a few minutes initially at bed time, dream feed was a success, but then he was up from 4-4:30 crying, 5:15-5:30 crying and then up for good at 6am. We never went to him at all. I actually went into the basement for the 4am cry because it was pretty brutal. When he officially woke for the day he was smiling and happy.
Second night, same routine. Cried for a few minutes at bed time and then again once around 4am for 30 minutes, up for the day at 7:30am. Third night, nothing. Like what? Seriously?
I should add that we also sleep trained his naps at the same time. This article provided a great structure for that as well. In hindsight, I needed a) time on my side, to wait until he was 4 months old and developmentally ready for sleep training b) to allow him to cry. I never wanted him to feel pain or alone so I would go to him at the first peep. Every time. c) a gameplan d) supportive hubs & mommy friends
I can successfully say that since the Fourth of July, he can put himself to sleep for naps and at night! He has moments where he wakes up and cries, sometimes we go to him, other times he can soothe himself back to sleep. Total Gamechanger. Honestly. I can rely on 6-8 hours of sleep per night. I am rested. Happy. Patient. I can focus at work. I have started working out again! And most importantly, I'm sure my husband and mom appreciate the less snappy version of myself. Guys, I was a total bitch on no sleep. I'm so sorry!