Monday, November 28, 2011

sleep training works!

so about a month ago steve and i made a plan for better sleep. we needed to teach jacob a routine for bed time and nap time so that we would be able to put him down, walk out of his room and he would fall asleep. we had spent WAY too many hours rocking and walking and singing to him to get him to pass out. we also wanted him to sleep through the night.

our plan for the new routine was to put him in his sleepsac, feed him in his room with the lights low and then put him in his crib. if he cried we would wait 2 mins then go back in, give him his soother again, calm him down (without picking him up!) and leave the room again. if he cried we would wait 2 mins and then go back in again....etc etc. (the bedtime routine also includes a bath, pajamas and reading books.) this went REALLY well. he caught on fast. the first few days we had to go in 2 times to calm him and that was it. now we usually don't have to go in at all, he just falls asleep (even if the nap routine doesn't happen). it has been AWESOME!

cutting out the night time feeding took longer. we didn't want to cut the feedings cold turkey. we weren't prepared for the amount of crying that would take place. we decided to work on cutting out the dreamfeed (this is an extra feeding we give him before we go to bed so that he wouldn't wake at 1am for his bottle instead he would wake up around 3 and we would get a longer stretch of sleep. he sleeps through this feeding.). we started cutting that feed back but of course all this meant was that he would wake up earlier in the night to eat (ex: 12:30pm) and then started to wake for a second feed around 5am. this wasn't working for us. so we went back to giving him the full dream feed and decided to cut back on the middle of the night feed. he used to get 6 ozs around 3am and we started by cutting it back to 4ozs. we did that for about a week then went down to 3ozs, then 2ozs. we knew that jacob needed to learn to get his calories during the day and not at night. we noticed that he started eating more during the day. he wanted his bottle every 3 hours again, not every 4 and was eating solids a few times a day. instead of waking at 3am to eat he started waking at 4am, then 4:30, then 5am. 3 nights ago he woke up at 4:30, i stuck his soother in and walked out and he went back to sleep until 7:15! i didn't want to be too excited but i was pretty sure that this meant that he had figured out that he didn't need to eat at night. 2 more nights with only putting his soother in once....i think he's got it!!

steve and i had decided that we would try this method from nov. 1st-dec. 1st and if jacob wasn't sleeping through the night by then we would come up with a new plan of attack. here we are on nov. 28th and we have had 3 nights of wonderful sleep!!

moral of the story? your child CAN sleep through the night and you can help them along the way!! you do NOT have to accept sleepness as part of parenthood (ok, it's not like we sleep solidly for 8 hours or anything but this is SIGNIFICANTLY better) and we didn't have to go through days of intense crying it out at night (i am not saying that it's a bad method it just wasn't for us). i felt pretty bummed when i asked people for advice and ended up getting a lot of comments on how i wasn't going to be able to do it. i am happy that we persevered and now have a 6 month old who is sleeping well. :)

next up? getting him on a solid 2 nap schedule then cutting back on the dreamfeed. by 8 months this kid will hopefully be sleeping well day and night!


  1. Good for you guys!!! If Noah isnt sleeping through the night by 5 months we will definitely be doing that. I was told that until babies are 15 pounds they still will need to wake up to eat a few times and Noah is only 13.5.
    We did a sleep schedule on him too though to get to where we are at now (2 feedings over 12 hours.)

  2. Jacob is 18 lbs so he was more than ready to sleep through the night!

  3. well done, lael! sleep is SOO important to be a fully functioning and happy parent. way to set some goals and timelines. enjoy!