I was 6 months pregnant when I met another mama who told me she was selling her babies crib because they “co-slept”. I thought she was nuts. And I hated the term “co-sleeping”, I mean, why couldn’t you just say your kid sleeps with you?! And now…I totally get it (lol)!
I had no intentions of co-sleeping, it just kind of happened. I exclusively breastfed Brayden for 10 months. And up until then, he was waking up for feedings in the middle of the night. At that point in time, it was much easier to have him in bed with me so that I didn’t have to constantly get up. I would literally whip out my boob and we would both fall back asleep.
This was our sleep “routine”… and by no means was I creating any “good” habits. This is what it looked like…
Birth-4 months: Bray slept in a bassinet beside our bed
4 months-10 months: I would breastfeed Brayden in his room before “bed”, he would fall asleep feeding and I would put him down in his crib. He would wake up at some point (usually just as I was climbing into bed) so I would just grab him and bring him to bed with me. This made the middle of the night feedings much easier (for me, obv). Oh, and I put him in his swing for naps… every time.
10 months -12.5 months: I would lay on my bed with Brayden, turn on some music, give him a bottle and he would fall asleep. I stopped moving him to his crib because I had noticed once he was sleeping in bed with us, he slept alllll friggin night. I didn’t care what we were doing, we were finally sleeping through the night!
This “routine” I had created was not sustainable. Fast forward to my first week back to work when I read the Sleep Sense program and Dana Odleman gave me alllll the motivation I needed to start this journey called “sleep training”. For us, the Sleep Sense program provided the knowledge and motivation to start something I had been dreading for months. We haven’t followed the guidelines to a tee, but we have taken bits & pieces and made it work for our family. And honestly guys, my husband is SO much better at this then I am. Steve has been the rockstar. He has been the strong and comforting one (to both me and Bray) and without him, I don’t think I could have done it. I really wanted to throw the towel in so many times. I am such a sucker!
We have only completed week one of “sleep training” but so far, we have seen so much progress. Here is our “updated” routine:
Nap time routine Brayden’s new routine started with nap time! We would put him in his crib with his bottle. Sometimes he falls asleep right away and sometimes, it takes about 20-30 minutes for him to settle down. He naps twice/day anywhere between 1-2 hours.
Bed time routine Bath between 7-7:30pm. Story time right after (either on my bed as we are putting his PJs on or in his room) Bottle (by 8:00pm) in his crib. We turn on his music, and tell him it’s “me-me” time aka. bed time. Either one of us will stay in his room for a few minutes until he finished his bottle. 3 out of 7 nights, he fell asleep right after drinking his bottle, literally within 5 minutes. The other 4 nights it took about an hour to put him down. The minute we📷leave the room, he stands up and starts crying. We let him cry for maaaaaybe 2-3 minutes (this part is really hard for me). And then one of us will go into his room, tell him it’s OK and gently touch his face.The minute we enter his room, he stops crying and lays down on his crib. The poor babe is so tired and all he wants is someone there with him.
The first night was the hardest. He woke up at 2:30am and then wouldn’t settle until 4:40am. We changed his diaper, gave him a bottle and would stay in the room until he closed his eyes. As soon as we left his room, he would shoot right up and instantly start crying. We were all physically and emotionally exhausted. Thankfully, it has gotten better. By night 4 he was only waking up once (anywhere between 12:30-2:00am) and we would either get him a bottle or would just lay him back down to sleep.
Babies communicate by crying, I totally get that. Letting him “cry it out” is still very hard for me… especially since the kid hardly cries! And boy, it is the worst. sound. ever! And it was breaking my heart (even though I knew it shouldn’t). It was mom guilt. Mom guilt for not going in to rescue my babe and make him feel better the minute he was sad. But guilt does no body any good! And letting your babe cry doesn’t mean you are neglecting them.
For some reason, when I am the one to put Brayden down, he takes a reaaaally long time to settle. He definitely knows I am a sucker. One night as I was attempting* to put him to sleep, I actually CRAWLED into his crib with him (lol) just so that we could cuddle. And we both fell asleep. See, I told you… #supersucker.
For the last TWO nights, he slept in his crib (all night without any wakings) and woke up at 8:30AM!
And this is why we did it. It is a work in progress, but mama’s you can do it! It sure as hell ain’t easy but I know it is worth it. Our babes need the independence and we all need the sleep!
Any other tips/tricks you mama’s can give me?! Cos some days are much harder than others… and I need all of the advice (and coffee) I can get. If any of you mama’s need a copy of Sleep Sense, comment below and I am more than happy to send you the PDF!