Oh, where do I begin? Sleep Training. It was when Harper was about six months old that I realized I could no longer deal with swaddling, nursing to sleep, stick pacifier in mouth, and place her in the car seat that was nestled so safely in her crib. Yes, I'm serious. Car seat IN the crib. Imagine it. We were living it. THIS was Harper's sleep plan between months 3-6. Don't judge! I didn't know what else to do! Between her extreme reflux and her sleeping issues and her lack of weight gain, I was stressed. At about six months I decided it was time to get her laying in a crib at night with no crutches to help her fall asleep. How would I do this? Do I take her out of the car seat first? Do I stop nursing her first? Do I get rid of the pacifier first? I had NO IDEA. And it was then that we decided to hire a certified sleep trainer. Yes, people, I paid someone to come to our home to help us figure out how to get our daughter to fall asleep. And, it was (without a doubt) the BEST money we ever EVER spent on our child. I actually had (key word: HAD) a friend (who didn't have children!!) whom I later found out talked shit about me to her other friends because I did this. Be ye not so stupid. You should NEVER judge a mother and they way they parent their child especially when you do not have one of your own. Now that's out of the way...... The truth is, if I could go back, I would pay the money all over again. Knowing what I know now, I would have paid her TWICE the amount we did. What we learned from the sleep trainer has now helped us to sleep train not only our first child, but our second child too! Not only has it helped us directly... it's also helped many MANY of my friends. So this is what we did. And listen carefully, because it works. I'm telling you, IT WORKS!!!
It starts with age and then a routine. Make sure your baby is at least four months old AND at least 12 pounds. Decide what time you'd like to put your baby down to sleep each night. If you are going to give your baby a bath, start your routine 45-minutes before that time. No bath? Start your routine 30-minutes before that time. Goes like this: Give bath, get dressed, nurse or bottle feed (with lights on), wake baby up if fell asleep while eating, read short book, say goodnight, give kisses, turn off the light ("say goodnight to the light"), place baby in crib, hand baby tiny lovey, shut the door. Yes, it's really that easy. Is it that easy immediately? NO. The first two nights are hell. But once you get through that third night, you will have a sleep trained baby who will sleep through the night. TRUST.
The first night is the worst. As soon as you put your baby down in the crib, he or she will cry. Like, REALLY cry.
There are 3 levels of crying:
-Level 1 crying is whining.
-Level 2 crying is crying.
-Level 3 crying is hysterics.
On the first night, you do not answer to level 1 crying. Let your baby whine. You do not answer to level 2 crying. Let your baby cry. You answer to level 3 crying ONLY IF your baby cries for 5 minutes straight. Hear me on this. If your baby stops crying momentarily (for two seconds), the time resets! Your baby must cry nonstop for 5 minutes before you go in. If and when you go in, you DO NOT pick your baby up. You go over to the crib and you rub your baby's tummy, touch his face, tell him you love him, but you DO NOT PICK HIM UP! You do not stay in the room for longer than 15 seconds. Once you leave, your baby will begin to cry again. But remember that your baby must cry nonstop for 5 minutes before you go back in. This may go on for hours. We went in to Harper three times on the first night. It took her 45 minutes to fall asleep. We went in to Adler one time on the first night. It took him 50 minutes to fall asleep. If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, you use the same steps.
On the second night, you do not answer to level 1 crying. You do not answer to level 2 crying. You answer to level 3 crying ONLY IF your baby cries for 10 minutes straight. If your baby stops crying momentarily (for two seconds), the time resets. Repeat everything you did on the first night. We went in to Harper one time on the second night. It took her 20 minutes to fall asleep. We did not need to go into Adler at all on the second night. It took him 20 minutes to fall asleep. If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, you use the same steps.
On the third night, you do not answer to level 1 crying. You do not answer to level 2 crying. You answer to level 3 crying ONLY IF your baby cries for 15 minutes straight (which isn't going to happen, TRUST!). If your baby stops crying momentarily (for two seconds), the time resets. Repeat everything you did on the first night. We did not need to go into Harper at all on the third night. It took her 7 minutes to fall asleep. We did not need to go into Adler at all on the third night. He didn't even cry when we put him down. He was asleep in less than 5 minutes, and I listened to him babble himself to sleep (yes, he's an angel). If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, you use the same steps.
In regards to waking up in the middle of the night, Harper never woke up in the middle of the night. That was never her problem. Once she's asleep, she's asleep. Adler on the other hand, woke up in the middle of the night. But on all three nights of sleep training, we never had to go into him to soothe him. He woke up for short periods of time and whined and cried a bit, but after 10 minutes or so, he put himself back to sleep.
If you follow these steps, chances are, you will have a baby who sleeps 10 hours straight after three nights of sleep training. Of course there will be bumps along the way. As a matter of fact, just two weeks after sleep training Adler, I made the mistake of putting him in bed with us when he woke up at 4:30am. The next night, he woke up at 3am. Then the next night, he basically was no longer sleep trained and we had to start the sleep training process all over again.
Stick with it and you'll have your baby sleeping soundly in his crib.