If you missed part one, you can read it here.
After reading “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child”, I knew the best thing for Sam was to get as much sleep as possible. Around 4 months old he was a bit more fussy during the day and just seemed tired all the time. Constantly rubbing his eyes and showing signs of fatigue. That is what helped me find the strength to get through sleep training. I knew it was the best thing for Sam in the long run…. I just had to get him there.
So, that night we put him to bed and said, “See you in the morning.” I decided that
if when Sam woke up in the middle of the night I would give him 20 minutes to put himself back to sleep before going into his room. Initially, my plan was to not go into his room until 3am. However, I decided against that because I didn’t want to drag out teaching him how to sleep. I just wanted to rip the band-aid off and help him get there as fast as possible. So at some point in the middle of the night I decided I wasn’t going in until 6am.
Like clockwork, Sam woke up at 1am. He cried so hard, it was all I could do to not go in there. Instead, I sat awake, clutched to the video monitor, praying Sam would fall back asleep. After 15 minutes, it was silent. Sam had put himself back to bed. I was so proud of him! He then woke up at 3am and 5am, cried each time for about 15 minutes and then put himself back to sleep. He woke up for the day at 6:30am. He did it! I have never been so excited to scoop him up and smooch him!
So the next night, I was gearing up for a repeat of the previous night and hoped it would go the same and Sam wouldn’t cry for too long and put himself back to sleep. I couldn’t have been more surprised at how the night actually went. Sam woke up at 1am, cried for maybe 5 minutes and put himself back to sleep. He didn’t wake up again until 5:30am! I was so proud of him and so relieved! It’s not an easy task to listen to your baby cry. It’s gut wrenching. But I truly believe I was doing what was best for him and even though it was hard for me, I needed to be strong for Sam. Sam slept soundly through the night without waking up on Christmas Eve. We truly had a silent night 🙂
I’m glad we waited until Sam was 4 months old to start sleep training. I felt he was old enough to go a full night without nursing at this point and needed more sleep than what he was getting.
The idea of teaching your children how to sleep is a controversial one. Some believe that letting babies cry it out is cruel and unusual punishment. Some believe that when ever the baby cries you should tend to them and others believe in co-sleeping with your children. I have never been interested in co-sleeping with my children in the sense that they are in our bed. I don’t believe in this “family bed” idea. Now, Sam has slept next to me in bed before, typically after the 6am feeding I snuggle him and sometimes he will fall back to sleep next me. However, there is no sleeping going on by myself or Ryan. Babies are loud, move a lot and take up a lot of the bed! I also believe boundaries are a really good thing and the bed I share with my husband is one of them.
Sam did sleep in our room, in his pack-n-play, until he was 5 months old. He took naps in his room during the day and he sleep trained in his room. Once he was sleeping through the night, we put him back in the pack-n-play at night in our room. However, Sam started waking up again through out the night, which of course wakes us up too. My best friend mentioned once they put their son to sleep in his own bedroom, everyone slept better. She mentioned that WE might be waking Sam up by moving the covers, coughing, snoring, etc. Genius! I loved having Sam in our bedroom but she was so right. We were totally waking him up. Once we put him back in his room, he slept soundly. He has had a couple of rough nights but that is certainly to be expected. There’s a lot going on with that little boy! Growing rapidly and sprouting teeth left and right!
Sam still goes to bed every night between 7-7:30pm. We typically start his wind down routine at 6:45pm which includes a couple of books, nursing, and rocking in the rocker. Some nights it includes a bath too. He will usually fuss for 5-10 minutes before putting himself to sleep for the night. The key here is letting him put himself to sleep, not us. We help Sam relax but never put him to sleep before putting him in his crib.
I cannot recommend “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” enough to everyone. I know several moms who have used these methods and have had tremendous success. The title of the book says it all. Sam is so much happier and content during the day when he sleeps well at night. The same is true if Sam takes good naps during the day. If he doesn’t take good naps, it’s a lot harder to put him down at night because he is so overly tired.
These are some key points from the book that I believe in 100%
- A nap is at least 45 minutes. Anything less than that is not a nap
- Babies periods of wakefulness are 1.5-2 hours. Then they need a nap.
- Bedtime routines should start 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Routine, routine, routine!
- Bedtime is between 6-8pm