I’m excited to be back this week with some more mom talk with a few of my favorite bloggers! Without a doubt my most frequently asked question is about sleep training my kids. It’s a rough journey. When you bring your baby home from the hospital you have this sweet sleepy babe who appears to snooze most of the day and you think, “wow! I totally lucked out! My baby is perfect!” Haha oh my gosh I was there. Then around 2-4 weeks your baby wakes up and the real fun begins. I am no expert (far from it!) but I have sleep trained two completely opposite kids so I feel like I have an understanding of the highs and lows.
I think there are a few factors that play into a good sleeper. First of all, I truly believe some babies are just born with that desire to sleep and training is easy, I also think their little bodies need to be developed enough to allow longer periods of sleep (fuller bellies!) and consistency is KEY. The easiest way for me to discuss sleep training is to explain what we did with both of our kids so here we go:
Sweet Charlie was born on September 28, 2015 and weighed 6.8lbs. He was a tiny little peanut and really required a lot of effort to get into a groove. It took us 1-2 weeks to really figure out nursing, he only wanted to sleep in my arms and would cry all the time. I remember rocking him until 5am, sobbing and thinking how can this be motherhood? I was exhausted with Charlie. At 3 months we learned that Charlie had acid reflux (after lots and lots of spit up and tears) which was probably a significant reason in why he wasn’t sleeping well – he was starving! We started him on antibiotics and he was a new baby. We put him in the Magic Merlin at 3 months and he was a great sleeper! We started using this awake chart to map out a nap schedule and it really helped us find a groove. A sweet reader actually recommended this chart and I have shared it with all of my friends! Catching them before they are over-exhausted/over-stimulated makes your little one fall asleep so much more easily. I credit this chart for getting us on a sleep schedule with both our kids. At about 6 months we transitioned him out of the Merlin and were dealing with a few random wake ups during the night. We ultimately used the cry it out method to really teach him how to self soothe. I know a lot of people have reservations about crying it out and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart but it is effective. At 6 months we knew that Charlie was manipulating us in the middle of the night, looking for comfort when we knew he could sleep on his own. It only took a few nights and he has been a great sleeper ever since! Charlie now naps (usually, he has been fighting them more now that he is 3.5, I think he is almost done with naps) around 1:30/2pm, we start bedtime around 7:45 and he is usually asleep by 8:30pm.
Jack was born on November 29, 2017 and weighed 8.1lbs. Jack was born knowing what to do. He latched within a minute of being born, slept consistent 3-5 hour stretches every night and was night and day difference from Charlie. We had him in the SNOO but literally almost never turned on the motion. He was born a great sleeper! We put him in the Magic Merlin around 3 months and he didn’t love it so we used Swaddle Me swaddles (our favorite! we used these for travel when hey were young, too) and now he sleeps in these sleep sacks. The nights when Jack does cry or seems overly stimulated, we let him cry it out but it can last anywhere from 1-5 minutes. It’s never been bad and usually he sits in his crib and falls asleep on his own (with this little light up bear!). At 9 months we introduced this small blanket (he is OBSESSED) to help him self soothe and he still takes a pacifier. We used the same awake chart to get him on a nap and nighttime sleep schedule. Jack now naps at 9am and 1:30pm and goes to bed at 7pm.
Clearly both of our experiences were different but there are consistencies with both that I think have lead them to be successful sleepers. They are both getting the recommended hours of sleep for their age so I’m happy! Do I wish they slept in a little more? Always. What I would give to enjoy a cup of coffee before my kids wake up! But all in all, I think our techniques were effective. Make sure you pop over to see how my other favorite mom’s handled sleep training their kiddos! SO much insightful info if you’re in this stage of life and need all of the help.