A couple weeks ago I left off with an update on bedtime sleep training. Nighttime was our next step in sleep training. We decided to jump right into it. While training Hunter to sleep through the night, I also dropped the dream feed too! Here’s how it all started.
Hunter’s 9 month check up consisted of us mostly talking about sleep (I had been getting up with him at night 2-3 times for loooonnnngggg stretches). Jacob and I wanted to get our pediatricians take on letting him cry at night. She was totally down with it, and reassured us that babies won’t be emotionally scarred by crying for long periods of time. She also assured us that it really is in his best interest. Teaching your baby to sleep through the night, and put themselves to sleep gets harder and harder the older the baby gets. She said the best time is before they are 1 year, and after that habits get harder and harder to break.
Our plan was to put him down like normal for bedtime (between 7:30-8pm), and then after the dreamfeed, let him cry if he wakes in the middle of the night. I had my notepad by the bed so that when he woke me I could write down the time instead of trying to remember how long he’d been crying in my middle of the night daze. I also planned to just try and focus on getting myself to fall back to sleep during the nighttime crying.
Day 1 of nighttime sleep training (which was actually also day 7 of bedtime sleep training):
7pm nurse + start bedtime routine (bath, baby massage, books, singing)
7:50pm in bed (put down awake) – he had a rough time falling asleep, waking + crying 3-4 times
10pm dreamfeed + back to bed
12:30am the crying began… but just for 10 minutes!
5:50am awake for the day
6:55pm nurse + start bedtime routine
7:45pm in bed
8:50pm woke, 5 minutes of crying, put himself back to sleep
Sometime between 11:30pm-12:45am (I forgot to write it down until the morning) he woke and cried a few minutes and went back to sleep
5:45am awake for the day
7:20pm nurse + start bedtime routine
8pm in bed
…….. no middle of the night crying!
5am wake + nursed on just one side + put back down semi-awake
7:45am awake for the day
7pm nurse + he got to stay up longer, we were out and away from home
9:30pm headed home, he fell asleep in car, then stayed asleep when I moved him from the carseat to crib at 10pm
10:30pm awake and crying… for a long time
11:20pm finally back to sleep
5:35am woke + nursed +put back down semi-awake
8:15am awake for the day
7pm nurse + start bedtime routine
7:55pm in bed
5:45am woke + nursed + put back down semi-awake
7:05 awake for the day
7:20pm nursed + start bedtime routine
7:45pm in bed
11pm woke, cried a couple minutes, then fell back to sleep
4:15am woke + nursed + put back down semi-awake
7:30 awake for the day
* I decided to try cutting out the dreamfeed because he wasn’t really staying asleep for it. Plus, I just had this feeling that he didn’t need it anymore. Thankfully I was right!
- It looks like I only recorded for 6 days. After that we knew that he got it.
- In reality it took him about 2 days to figure it out. The night he cried for 50 minutes was probably just because we kept him up so late and he didn’t get to fall asleep like normal.
- 4am was my cut off time. If he woke before then, I’d let him cry. If he woke after 4am, I’d nurse him and put him back to sleep (unless it was morning time).
- I think starting with bedtime training taught him how to self soothe, which he then figured out how to do in the middle of the night too.
- When he wakes and cries we don’t go into his room. No comforting (it seems to make it worse when we go in), we just let him figure it out. We never really set a limit for how long we’d let him cry… it kind of turned into ‘just let him cry until he gets it’ – he needs to go back to sleep on his own to learn.
- So many times we wished we had a nighttime video monitor to see if he was okay. We knew that he was, but as the crying would continue or pick up in intensity (usually at bedtime), that’s when we would begin to question ourselves.
- Jacob and I were a team on this. I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been if we weren’t together and on the same page. We kept each other strong throughout it with our end goal in mind – solid nighttime sleep.
It’s funny reading through how it was then, and seeing how it is now. He’s consistently sleeping from 7:45-8pm (with 0-10 minutes of crying at bedtime) until about 6-7am. When he wakes I’ll nurse him and typically he’s pretty awake and ready to start the day, but there have been a couple times lately where I was able to put him back down and he’d fall back to sleep until past 8am!
I am so glad we decided to sleep train. Hunter’s a champ and made it so much easier than I thought it would be. We anticipated lots of crying at night, but thankfully, that wasn’t the case.
Anyone else with a similar experience? Or the opposite? Did you try sleep training and have lots of tears? Sharing is caring!