- 4 years ago
- Wedding: August 2012
I know there have been a few posts recently about babies and sleep troubles. I thought I pop in and share what worked for us at various developmental stages. My apologies if this gets long!
From the very beginning, DH & I were really good about establishing a good, consistent bed time routine. We were also blessed with a reasonably good sleeper, which really helped reward our efforts.
We had a solid bed time routine right off the bat. She slept in her crib, in her own room, pretty much from the beginning. (*Note: from my own room, I can see her in her bed. We didn’t even need to use a monitor since her room is directly across the hall)
We would do some play time/tummy time for a while, then she would have her bath around 8 or 9 (this gradually got earlier and earlier, until we had a bed time of about 7pm).
After the bath, we did a bottle and a story, then rocked for a few minutes in her dimly lit room with her sound machine on.
In the very beginning we put her in her crib asleep, but around 3/4 months we put her down drowzy but awake.
During this time, she weaned herself from night feeding pretty much on her own. She would wake up once, maybe twice overnight in the beginning, but she started to sleep pretty much through the night so we stopped waking her to eat. Aside from growth spurts, she was a generally great sleeper, as long as we kept to a good bed time routine.
4 months-9 months
She had a sleep regression around 4 months, but it wasn’t terrible. She could go to sleep on her own (with a pacifier) and would wake in the middle of the night for a week or so, but it mostly self-resolved.
She had a big growth spurt around 6 months, where she resumed eating overnight and had a VERY hard time going back to sleep.
Around 8 months she caught a cold, so we were up off and on sucking out her nose every few hours.
I was pregnant again by 9 months and so completely exhausted with the first trimester energy suck that DH would take over in the middle of the night when she was just plain sleepless and take her downstairs to play for a few hours until she was tired again. This ended up being a mistake, but it got me a few hours of uninterrupted sleep, which was desperately needed at the time.
Then we BOTH caught another cold (RSV actually) and then she had her very first ear infection on the heels of that illness.
Suffice it to say, by the 9 month sleep regression we had a less than stellar sleeper and we had managed to develop a few bad habits along the way.
I’m not really into Cry It Out, I really don’t think I have the heart for it. We had already read the No Cry Sleep Solution, which helped get us a great bed time routine that had been working when she was really little. I also got a lot of great information on the Troublesom Tots blog.
Sleep Training (10 months)
We decided to try a CIO-light. Not the kind of CIO where the kid screams for an hour and works herself into such a frenzy that she pukes.
One of our major problems was the pacifier. Once they meet the ‘object permanece’ milestone, it is really difficult to take the binky away. We really should have done it sooner, but with the colds and the teeth and the sleep regressions, it just wasn’t on our radar.
Another problem, which we created ourselves, was letting her play in the middle of the night. Basically, by Dh taking her downstairs at 2am when she was sleepless was a great way for ME to get a few hours of sleep, but it also let her think that 2am was a perfectly acceptable time for playing.
We sat down and discussed what we were and were not comfortable doing. Neither of us was getting good sleep, but we weren’t ready for a hard core sleep bootcamp that involved screaming fits either.
We started on a Thursday night. We can handle one day of work really, really tired if necessary. The hope was that by Sunday night we would have a better handle on things and we could start the next work week semi-refreshed.
We made a few small changes to her bed time routine, and we took the pacifier out of the picture completely.
She eats a solid dinner, and has a bottle shortly thereafter. Dinner is usually around 5:30/6, so the bottle is 6/6:30. Then we do a bath, then into the pajamas, then we have a brief snuggle (less than 5 minutes) in the rocking chair. She is in her crib by 7pm, and I sit in her dimly lit room with the sound machine on and read her a story. I give her a kiss, rub her back or her belly (whichever is accessible), and I walk out.
We decided on 5 minute intervals with fussing. Screaming is different, we went back in and consoled her without picking her up if 5 minutes had passed or if she were actually screaming.
Within 2 days, we stretched our “check-in” time to 10 minutes. Each night at bed time, and most often just once at night, we only have to go in one time before she settles herself to sleep.
It’s been a full week today, and for the past 2 nights she has slept all the way through the night (from 7pm to about 5:30/6am). The night or so before that she woke once in the middle of the night, fussed for about 2 minutes, then I heard her playing/talking/babbling with her toys, and she drifted off to sleep on her own without DH or I getting up to settle her.
I am really, really hoping we can keep this routine as it seems to be working. We are ALL getting better sleep. She is refreshed and perky in the morning, and seems to be much happier all around. She fell asleep last night with NO fussing within about 10 minutes. She doesn’t even miss the pacifier!
Holy crap that was long.
The TL;DR version is that we had a good sleeper, then a crappy sleeper, then we took her binky and did some sleep training and now she is a good sleeper again.