Parenting 3 months ago by Liz Adams

Sleep Training Charlie and Jack

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:

Sleeptraining Charlie

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. 

Sleeptraining Jack

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. 

What sleep training techniques did you use? Are your kids good sleepers? The good news is that everyone sleeps eventually! One day we will all be bright eyes and bushy tailed again – ha!

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  1. Haha, everyone sleeps eventually – that’s true! When Charlie and Jack are older they’ll be so grateful for sleep like most of us! 😀

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  2. Have you done research on cio and the effects? You said at 6 months you knew he was” manipulating you for comfort.” You should just read that out loud and really take it in. Your 6 month old baby wanted comfort and you refused it. I’ve followed you for a few years and I know your a good mother but I think when it comes to promoting such methods you should really do some research. Here’s just one article: https://www.paperpinecone.com/content/training-sleep-training-history-behind-question?fbclid=IwAR277bLqJQriamqlwIHWJCR95CEaSqJxJ6QYoqlves1BCYTgolEuOwz9Cxg

  3. When did charlie grow out of his reflux? Our 4.5 month old has had it since he was a newborn. We tried to take him off his meds at 4 months but he still needs them! I feel like it’s never going to end. 😳 He’s eating solids now too which helps but isn’t the cure-all.

    1. 7 months! Like overnight! I also had to stop nursing because my milk was too thin for him – if that makes sense – and started him on Enfamil AR which is made with rice starch and is a little thicker. This helped a lot, too!

  4. Perfect timing! I have an 18 month old who also had some tummy issues as a newborn, but was easily sleep trained (we did cry it out Ferber method) at 5 months. Suddenly homeboy just does NOT want to even be in his room at night. He’ll fall asleep fine, but wake up sometimes with an hour (other times at midnight) and just scream and scream. The method we used at 5 months is useless now! Did Charlie go through anything like that? Our babe just went down to one afternoon nap 2-3:30 ish and bedtime is still 7. Worried about pushing it back because I need to drop him off at daycare by 8 ish.

    PS – amazing how different kids can be!

    1. Hm – Charlie has definitely had phases – hopefully this is just a phase for you! Do you have The Wonder Weeks app? I feel like that is always informative during these changes in routine. I would push his bedtime earlier! If he is only taking a 1.5 hour nap during the day I bet he is a little overly tired!

      1. My daycare provider said the same thing about Wonder Weeks. I had the app when he was an infant, but I got so obsessive tracking with it (first-time mom problems, haha). I’m more comfortable now, so I’ll try it again! Good point about being overtired – I think we may try putting him down a little earlier for that nap and see if he sleeps longer, too!

  5. Love this! My first didn’t sleep through night till over a year (even w cry it out) and sounds like Charlie. Pregnant with my second and praying for a baby who knows what to do and can sleep like Jack!

  6. Hi Liz, any tips and tricks for transition from crib to toddler bed? Our toddler doesn’t seem to want to stay in her bed for naps and she needs them still!

    1. Hi Becca,

      The crib to toddler bed transition can be tricky. Unfortunately for some children, that means afternoon nap goes away :-(. Try to incorporate your toddler in the transition, talk about a “big girl bed”, let her pick out new bedding, a special stuffed animal to have with her for “naps in the big girl bed.”

      Try to bring some items from the crib into the bed as well. If your child used a sleep sack, let them cuddle their old sleep sack like a blanket or keep it under the pillow.

      https://www.districtofsleep.com/

  7. I always recommend the book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Dr. Weissbluth to new parents. It saved me with my first, as she was not a great sleeper and we ended up sleep training. The book shares real life experiences and different methods to address how you want to train. We ended up using the Ferber, cry-it-out method, at it worked great. It was hard, but well worth the effort.

  8. When you say cry it out, do you mean you let them cry it out all night until they fall asleep or do you do check ins where you go in there room? I have a 7 month old that I believe needs sleep training and I’ve been reading the crybit method seems to be the most effective. Wanted to pick your brain! Such a coincidence that I came across your post just as I was looking into it.

    1. We let him cry it out and didn’t go in to soothe him (after month of soothing and not getting anywhere). The first night he cried for 47 minutes, the second for 26 and the third night for 3! Then we did it!

  9. What sleep sack did you transition Charlie to at 6 months (if any!) when you weaned off the magic Merlin? How was that transition? Thank you!

  10. Wow, you are so lucky! I love SNOO and it helped us a lot but I would never call my son a good sleeper. And a catnapper too! Both day and night – vulcano of energy! That is why I decided for sleep training. I used HWL method that my friend told me about. It was a gentle method, taught in a short book. In fact it was written like step-by-step guide what made it extreamly easy to understand. Short book and short training – after 4 nights we achieved straight 10 hours! For my boy that is a record!