Today I want to share our sleep training experience. Although some of the books I read disagree, I think that there is no universal “right way” to teach your child to sleep. I do however think that sleeping is a skill that must be taught in whatever way works for baby and parents. Before I go into our sleep training journey, here is a quick video tutorial for the Infant Optics Video Monitor, which was an absolute LIFESAVER in this process:
I highly encourage you to leave a comment, resource, tip, or story at the end of this blog post because when I was sleep-deprived and googling “willI ever sleep again??”, I took the most comfort from sites where moms shared their common stories and struggles as well as some possible solutions. Anyway, on with it!
At the beginning: From the first day, we used the strategies in The Happiest Baby on the Block (Click here for my full Review and Tutorial) and Miles slept for long stretches all swaddled up, pacifiered and happy.
After he was a few weeks old, I started using The Baby Whisperer’s Easy Plan, which in a nut shell means: Eat (Feed Baby), Activity (Make Eye Contact with Mom, Go for a Walk, Lay on the mat gym, etc), Sleep (Self-Explanitory, but they all had parentheses hehe), Your Time (Mom gets to go pee and rinse off the spit up). We repeated this EASY plan every 3-4 hours and he put himself on to a fairly regular day time schedule. Please note, he did not cry for food between bottles otherwise I would have fed him! Schedules must take into account baby’s needs!
Besides EASY, the two most important lessons I learned from The Baby Whisperer were:
- Lay the baby down drowsy but awake! This lays the foundation for learning to be comfortable in a bed and put themselves to sleep, a very valuable skill a few months down the line!
- Start as you mean to go on. When times got tough, I abandoned this advice and later realized it was the worst thing I could have done at the time. She says over and over in her book, if you don’t want to be walking/bouncing/co-sleeping/etc with your 2 year old, don’t start it with your 6 month old.
- He became increasingly attached to his pacifier. Where before he just needed it to get to sleep initially, now he needed me to get up, go down the hall, and pop it back in every hour or two. I tried everything to get him to figure it out without me.
- He needed me to bounce him to sleep on the yoga ball and it started taking longer and longer to get him to the drowsy, but awake and willing to let me put him down without screaming his head off. (I heard the Baby Whisperer in the back of my head, but I didn’t listen).
- Weaned the pacifier, cold turkey.
- Watched the SleepEasy Solution DVD and followed their system religiously (which involves crying, sigh). The video monitor was a big help!
- Implemented a strict bedtime routine: PJs, bottle (until he weaned that too), story, special song, hug his lovey, sleep.
What are your slept training secrets, tips, struggles or stories?