Monday, August 4, 2014

mama monday [sleep training]

Monday, August 4, 2014
[image via]

ah, sleep training. 

no one told me that my wonderful sleeper who slept through the night since she was 6 weeks old, would, at the 4 and a half month mark, stop sleeping. but whenever i explain why my eyes are bloodshot and that i need to you repeat what you just told me for the umpteenth time [because i fall asleep with my eyes wide open each time i attempt to concentrate] to any parent, they make the "oh, yes, the 5-month sleep adjustment, i remember that" comment and give me sympathetic looks.

so listen up, and be prepared, there's a very good chance your baby will do the following: stop sleeping through the night at 4.5 - 5 months old.

now that we've identified the problem, what should we do about it? apparently, sleep training, that's what.

before having miss lily, i had decided to let her pick the schedule - when she eats, when she naps, etc. and it was going great until she couldn't be swaddled anymore and outgrew her bassinet. 

first came the 2am wake-ups because she'd broken out of her swaddle and couldn't turn over. so we stopped swaddling her [which resulted in more wake-ups because of "crazy arms - you know what i'm talkin' bout here, mamas].

then we moved her into the crib and she started flipping over on her stomach and falling asleep [so we spent 3 nights running back and forth flipping her over because "back to sleep" you know].

next after some sage advice we figured out that we were putting her to sleep too late - an overtired baby won't sleep either [awesome], so we started watching her cues and figured out that girlfriend was ready for bedtime around the 7:30pm-8:00pm mark.

we implemented a bedtime routine - "solids" [rice cereal + apple sauce for now], bathtime, cuddles & boob, then down in the crib while drowsy but not yet asleep.

she falls asleep like a champ but wakes up at 11pm for a snack [more boob] and [and this is the killer] again at 3am. 

the 3am wakeup is what's making both my husband and me walking zombies.  the only way she will calm down is if she eats [whether boob or bottle] but i'm not so sure she's actually hungry or if it's just a calming habit.

two schools of thought to sleep train is to either cry-it-out [CIO] or the no-tears method. each have their own versions but it's basically either let her cry or comfort her back to sleep. 

i can't stand to hear lily crying so i prefer the no-tears methods, with my personal favorite being that of secrets of the baby whisperer by tracy hogg who advocates picking the baby up when she cries as many times as necessary but avoiding "props" such as rocking and nursing her back to sleep.

unfortunately, that's not exactly working. yet.

so this is my sleep-deprived self asking for your advice - what worked for your babies so they could go the f to sleep? [or more importantly, stay the f asleep!]

exhaustedly yours,


  1. I feel for you. We did the cry to sleep thing which was torture but actually worked well. I also put both of my kids to sleep every night at 7 pm up until elementary school. It seems insane but it is probably one of my only true parenting triumphs.

    They really needed the sleep. They woke up at the same time regardless of when I put them to sleep and as my great-aunt (may she rest in peace) wisely said "sleep brings sleep".

    They still napped and the 7 pm mark was my light in the tunnel on the darkest of parenting days. Knowing that I could either watch tv, take a bath or just speak to my husband before collapsing, kept me going on many days.

    The sleep deprivation was, by far, the worst part of parenting (until now…teenagers!) but you'll figure it out. I thought that the schedule thing was poppycock before I had kids but, not to sound ancient, most children really do crave routine and schedules. If you can stick to a schedule most of the time, your life will really be easier.

    Good luck xox

  2. My baby never slept through the night until he was almost 1 - he would always wake up at 3-4 a.m. to nurse. It was then I decided I was just going to cut out the boob cold turkey and make my hubs get up with him and stay with him until he fell back asleep. It wasn't easy to hear him upset and cry for me, but it only took about 3-4 nights until he realized he wasn't going to get what he wanted, and he finally learned to stay asleep until morning time. Made me wonder why I didn't just cut it out sooner!

    1. ugh it's coming to that point - i think i'll just go sleep in my car or something so i don't have to hear her cry and have my husband deal with her. thoughts?

      thanks for the feedback!!

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