Last week Jacob and I made the decision to begin sleep training Hunter. Well, to be honest I decided I wanted to do it a while ago, but last week is when Jacob decided to hop on board… likely seeing me grouchy and sleep deprived.
Let me start out by telling you, bedtime is going great. We’re 1 week in and he’s figured it out. We still have a couple things to work on (naps and middle of the night), but we’ll get there.
It’s funny how a baby’s sleep can change daily. Hunter started sleeping through the night at 11 weeks and was golden until about 4 months. We hit a sleep regression, probably some growth spurts too, and sleep never got back to as good as it was. He could still sleep through the night, but then sometimes he wouldn’t. He was becoming a bit of a wild card.
At six months sleep started getting worse. Then he became mobile; crawling, pulling-up, and standing. After this, not only did he start waking up multiple times a night, getting him to bed was starting to take an hour of rocking/nursing/whatever I could think of doing.
Thanks to reader Maggie, I found the site Troublesome Tots and read A LOT about sleep training. Jacob read some too and got on board with what I wanted to do – cry it out. Troublesome Tots has soooooo many good reads + tons of information on cry it out. Here are a few, but there are definitely more articles I’m not linking to.
So bedtime was our big issue. Our goal was to have Hunter put him self to sleep. I knew lots of tears would be involved in the beginning so I told myself we would commit to doing it for a week. That way I couldn’t stop early as my mommy emotions kicked in.
Our plan: start Hunter’s bedtime routine about 30 minutes before bed. Routine [nurse, bath, baby massage, book, singing then into bed] Bedtime is usually around 7:30-8pm.
Day 1: He cried for 1 hour total before falling asleep. During that time I went in 2-3 times and laid him back down on his back (Ferber style – read link above), but that really just seemed to make him more upset, so we switched to the extinction/weissbluth method (leave and stay out – again, read link above). After being asleep, he woke 40 minutes later, I fed him and he went back to sleep. We were up multiple times that night.
Day 2: 45 minutes of crying and the start of sleep sitting. So so sad to see him doing this. Once he’s asleep I go check on him, and he was just sitting, rocking forward and back asleep. Eventually he turned himself into a forward fold asleep. Then he woke 30-40 minutes later, so I fed him and he went back to sleep. Same as the night before, lots of waking, but it was particularly challenging getting him back to sleep.
Day 3: Around 45 minutes of crying. I kept him up just a little bit too long + we had company over. I could tell he was a little overtired going to bed, and then woke 30 minutes later after falling asleep. I fed him, he went back to sleep and another night of nighttime wakings.
Day 4: The turning point – he was a very tired baby all day and was not napping well, which made me think it would be a worse night than the previous. But I was wrong! It took just 20 minutes of crying/noise making and he was asleep on his belly (his preferred way to sleep). Falling asleep on his belly was a first since we started this. Also, he didn’t wake after 30-40 minutes! I decided to just see what happened instead of doing a dream feed. He woke at 11:30pm, after 3 hours of sleep. I fed him and he easily went back to sleep. Then he didn’t wake up until 7:40am!
Day 5: New record - less than 10 minutes of crying and again, asleep on his belly. However, he woke up after 45 minutes. Fed him + back to sleep. Lots of nighttime waking, with a long almost 3 hour stretch of me trying to get him back to sleep. He just kept waking every time I’d put him back in his crib.
Day 6: Around 10-20 minutes of crying, and he stayed asleep past the 45 minute mark. I did a dream feed at 10pm, wishing and hoping he’d stay asleep, but we were up 3 times again.
Day 7: Today - he keeps falling asleep in an uncomfortable looking position and then waking up again. However, tonight we’re starting nighttime sleep training too (we got our pediatricians blessing that it’ll be a-okay yesterday). Hopefully it’s not as rough as I’m anticipating it will be.
I feel really good about our nighttime routine, and Hunter’s ability to put himself to sleep now at bedtime with just a typical 10-20 minutes of crying. I think after those first 3 days he really started to get it a little more. We’re just going to continue to be consistent and know that we’ll make it through this stage.
I’ll share more on how nighttime sleep training goes once we’re into it a bit.
Sleep well my friends.