I’ve had many momma’s read my latest Instagram post on Paxton’s 5 month update and so many of you have messaged me privately asking for sleep training advice. I decided to write this post as a guide of what worked for Nick and I and how we got to where we are now which is sleeping at 7:00 each night and waking up at 7:00 am.
So let’s start off at the beginning and where we were a month ago. Nap times weren’t regular and Paxton seemed really grumpy because he wasn’t getting good rests during the day. When it was time to put him down in his crib he would cry in my arms until I would rock him into a sleep coma.
At bedtime, we would do what I thought was a “routine” which was giving him a bottle and rocking him to sleep and then very gently placing him in his crib, hoping to not wake him up or I would have to soothe him back to sleep again.
We would do a dream feed before Nick and I went to sleep (which we are currently working on dropping). Then Paxton would wake up at 1:00, 4:00 and somewhere between 5:30-6, fall back asleep and go till 7:00.
As you can see this was not sustainable! So with a lot of help from my sister by encouraging us to just do it, we finally made it! It’s taken a month of being consistent in our sleep training and the results are amazing!! Paxton wakes up a happier baby, we aren’t sleep deprived and our days run a lot smoother then before.
So if you’re thinking of sleep training your little one, don’t be discouraged! Your baby can make it through the night and will thank you for it with big smiles and coos the next morning.
It’s all about breaking the bad habits and being consistent. Here’s a breakdown of what we did differently:
1. Establish nap times.
It’s important to have designated nap times- baby starts to rely on this consistency and also thrives from the predictable sleep patterns during the day. Paxton has his first morning nap at 8:30-9:30/10:00 and the second nap at 12:30-2:30.
2. Have a wake up time and a bedtime.
You might think, he is just a baby so why have a wakeup and bed time?? I’ve learned to set up your baby for success. When he or she is a toddler they will need a bedtime and a time they wake up and surprisingly so do babies. This helps with sleep training!
3. Get into a bedtime routine.
This helps them slowly wind down and by the time their bedtime arrives they are ready to sleep without hassle. Our routine is bath time after supper, pjs, a bit of a play time/story time and then last bottle before bed.
4. Find things that help soothe your baby without it being you.
Our mistake was every time he cried we would go in and feed him to soothe him back to sleep. We would also rock him in order for him to fall asleep. He became very dependent on us to soothe him. Now we’ve found other methods! He has a soother he sucks on for the first few minutes of being placed in his crib, he wears a heavy sleep sack and likes the weight of it (and because he wiggles during the night it’s always covering him), a sound machine with white noise and his “bear blanket” that he loves to cuddle with.
5. Have an E.A.S.Y schedule.
We found having periods through the day that were consistent with eat, activity/awake time, sleep/you time or the Feed, Wake, Sleep pattern to be effective in helping Paxton learn that he doesn’t need food to fall asleep. Having small periods of awake time after he eats but before he goes down for his sleep teach him not to be reliant of the bottle to fall asleep. This becomes very important later on when he’s learning to put himself back sleep in the middle of the night. Check out these two books for more information- Preparation for Parenting and The Baby Whisperer solves all your problems (by teaching you how to ask the right questions)
You ready to start sleep training? Really you just have to say tonight is the night and go for it! So this is how you start:
- Do your bedtime routine and give him a few cuddles (no rocking to sleep), put him in his sleep sack, give him his soother and blanket and put him on his back in his crib…. and then leave. Seriously. That’s it.
- When he cries and he will, leave him. The first night Paxton cried for maybe 40 minutes at bedtime and then again at those regular wake up times during the night. But the next night it wasn’t as bad… he cried for 25 minutes at bedtime and woke up 2 times instead of 3 times during the night. Each morning Paxton woke up beaming and so happy! So don’t think this will scar or hurt your baby. Each night gets better and better until it slowly becomes their new routine.
- If you’d like to go in if they’ve been crying for too long, you can comfort them by holding them for a minute or two, stroking their face, giving them their soother again and laying them back in their crib. No feeding them to soothe or rocking them back to sleep. Eventually they’ll figure out how to soothe themselves without your help during the night!
- At nap times, do the same thing! Consistency is everything. Make sure they’re in their crib, lights out and given all the things they like to soothe themselves.
It’s really easy to do- it’s just deciding to do it that is the hard part. I’ve been there and I’m still there as we start to break the dream feed at 9:00. But here’s the thing, Paxton is so much more happy during the day, he still likes to cuddle with me when I feed him and before he goes to sleep and we are both getting needed sleep!
You can do it momma! It’s never too early or too late to start. Be patient and know it can be done.
Sending lots of love tonight xo