When Artie started sleeping through the night I finally felt like myself again. You aren’t functioning properly when you are only getting two or three hours of sleep at a time, so sleep training is a GAME CHANGER for new moms. There are so many methods for sleep training, from no cry to cry it out, so I recommend doing as much research as possible to decide which method is right for you.
My intention for writing this article is not to convince you that my way is the best choice for your baby, but to point out that there are many methods to choose from when sleep training your child. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, cry it out or no cry, there can be a middle ground. I am excited to share what worked for me and Artie and hope that it will help you and your baby finally get some sleep!
First you need to create the perfect sleep environment for sleep training your baby. I use these blackout curtains and this sound machine to make our nursery as dark and quiet as possible (don’t worry, babies aren’t afraid of the dark!). For your baby’s safety, the crib should be free of any objects except for a fitted sheet to cover the mattress. Use a wearable blanket as a safe option to keep your baby warm. Find more baby sleep essentials here!
Next, you will need to establish two separate routines before starting sleep training, one for nap time and one for bedtime. You can read about Artie’s bedtime routine here. Nap time will require a less extensive version of your bedtime routine. Before each nap I change him, feed him, and zip Artie into his wearable blanket. Whatever your routine is, I recommend that you always include feeding because babies sleep better when they are full. Your routines are SO important because they signal to your baby that it is time to wind down. I also ONLY give Artie his pacifier for naps and bedtime because it helps soothe him and is another indicator that it is time for sleep.
Before you start sleep training you need to know when to put your baby down to sleep. Observe your baby for a few days and notice how long he is awake before he becomes fussy for his next nap. You want to put your baby in his crib BEFORE he gets this tired. I realized Artie would get cranky a little over two hours after waking up so I started putting him down for his nap every two hours. You can also look for signs that your baby is ready for sleep like yawning and eye rubbing.
Once you have the perfect environment, routine, and timing down you are ready for sleep training! You may have to let your baby cry a little before he learns to fall asleep.
First, it is important to decide what you are comfortable with. I personally was not comfortable with letting Artie cry for more than three minutes and if he cried hard I would check on him sooner. You have to set limits that are right for you and your baby and stick to that plan. For me it was only three minutes but for you it may be longer or shorter. Trust your instincts and do what you know is best for your baby.
When I went into Artie’s room I would try to soothe him by replacing his pacifier and rubbing his back, without picking him up. Once he calmed down again I would leave the room and wait three more minutes. I did this until Artie fell asleep. The crying will teach your baby to self soothe so he can put himself back to sleep. Within one week of sleep training Artie was sleeping through the night.
I want to remind you that I am not a professional and I was very fortunate that my baby completed sleep training with very little crying. There are some methods that require no crying at all so again, I recommend that you do the research and decide what is best for your baby.
It is also important to wait until your baby is ready for sleep training. For Artie it was at four months, which is the earliest I would suggest. Before four months your baby may not be equipped with the tools necessary for sleep training.
There are so many things I could say about sleep training, this is just an outline of what worked for us. If you have any questions or want to share your experience let me know in the comments below! I hope what I have shared will help you get some Zzzzz!!!
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