Sleep Training Part 1

Go Team Mason!  This is something my husband and I say to one another when something awesome happens that we’ve both worked toward.  Like running a race, painting the house, big saving shopping trip, etc.  We yell “Go Team Mason” then give a big high-five. We are really cheesy like that, yes.
Tonight we celebrated in this way as we had a successful night on our sleep training journey with Blake.
I took a lot of advice given to me by friends when it came to sleep training.  I’ve also taken a lot of heat.  It continues to amaze me how people have no reserve telling you what they really think about your “parenting”.   I remember all the flack I received for not breastfeeding, or when I began putting Blake in his crib at 5 weeks old, and now people have told me that he’s too young to sleep train, and that I should let him do this in his own time and not “force it.”  I can appreciate that someone wouldn’t do the same, but I don’t appreciate them putting me down.  I would never think to give such advice unless someone asked. To those people I just want to say “If you don’t have anything nice to say or add, then don’t say anything at all.”  Then I want to stick out my tongue, put my hand on my hip, and walk away.  That’s the 5-year old brat in me talking.  My nickname as a kid wasn’t BRATney for nothing.  (Can’t believe I just admitted that.  Whatever.)

Onto the positive, sleep training is going well! Michael and I sort of took advice from others and adapted it a bit.  For a whole week I would put him in his crib when he was on the verge of going to sleep himself.  I did the normal routine: Bath, book, bottle/bounce, bed.  When I would lay him down he would be drowsy and drifting in and out.  I’d put him down and after a few minutes he would fall asleep no problem.  But he would always wake up about 5 minutes later and start wailing.  On the first night I stared at the clock and decided I was going to give him 20 minutes to cry it out, then I would go in and rescue him.  He didn’t cry for 20 minutes straight. Instead, he would cry for 3 minutes, fall asleep for 1 minute, cry for 5 minutes, fall asleep for 3 minutes. He was all over the place.  But after 20 minutes (EXACTLY) he drifted off for good.  This went on for 5 days, and each night the amount of time became shorter.  I’m glad we chose to do it this way because it’s been a nice segway into how we did things tonight. I gave him his bottle, but was sure to keep him awake during the feeding.  I talked to him so that he wouldn’t go to sleep. (I don’t want him to get used to falling asleep with the bottle.) I laid him in his bed as he was wide awake, said good night, told him I loved him, put on the sound machine, then walked out of the room.  From the baby monitor Michael and I watched him entertain himself for 15 minutes.  No crying whatsoever.  He drifted in and out of sleep, never once crying.  I noticed a big spot on the baby monitor suddenly, and I immediately knew he had thrown up.  That’s when he began to stir.  Michael and I both went upstairs so we could make the process of changing the sheets and him go as efficiently as possible.  There was throw up everywhere! Poor guy.  Michael changed the sheets and wiped the mattress pad down with Lysol while I changed him and cleaned him up.  We only turned on the hall light so it wouldn’t wake Blake up too much.  We also didn’t speak at all…this is important, so you don’t wake them up anymore than they already are.  We swaddled him back and had him in his crib again in no time.  Again I told Blake good night, said I love you, and walked away.  He continued to entertain himself for quite some time!  He began to get fussy after about 10 minutes and was thrashing around-ending up on his stomach. (He’s been sleeping more on his stomach. I find him like this when I get up in the morning.  A few times I went upstairs to put him on his back again, but he would always roll back over. I’ve finally just given in.  I think he’s okay, right?)  I went upstairs to take his arms out of the swaddle, as I think this is best if he’s sleeping on his stomach.  He cried and thrashed around for about 5 minutes, then went to sleep and has been out ever since.
I’d say this was pretty successful for our first time putting him to sleep when he’s wide awake.  I’ll take it!  Go Team Mason!

So here’s my quick, in a nutshell sleep training advice for anyone who wants to try it this way.
  • Start yourself off slow.  I’ve heard some say just dive right in and put them to bed and cry it fully out.  This may be totally okay for you.  The crying was hard, so it worked for us to begin putting him in his crib when he was on the verge of sleep.
  • As soon as he/she goes down, look at your clock and give yourself a time that you will then go in to “rescue” them. Otherwise, you’ll be running in there after only 2 minutes!  We did 20, but you do whatever you are comfortable with.
  • If you do have to go in to rescue them, at first try just patting their stomach/back and “shhhh’ing”. Sometimes the comfort of knowing someone is there can help. If this doesn’t work then pick them up and do what you normally do to calm them.  Don’t turn on any lights, or talk.  Wait until they are calmed (not fully asleep), to put them back down again.  Repeat however many times, again, you are comfortable with.
  • We did this for 5 days, but you may choose more or less.
  • On the day you decide to go to the next step, place them in the bed awake.  Get a routine going where you will say something to them that signifies it’s THAT time. (i.e.: good night, night-night.)
  • Again, give yourself a timeframe.  How long will you let them cry it out?  I bet that it won’t be as long this time since you’ve kind of transitioned them.
I’m not an expert by any means.  And every baby is different.  This is just what worked for us.  We are also in the early stages of this, so anything could happen!  I really need to implement this during nap times, too.

Thanks to everyone for all the help and advice. You know who you are! (Thank You Baby Wise book, too.)

**Bragging not intended.  We are just excited to celebrate the successes. 🙂

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