When I started this blog I knew I had to do a post on sleep training considering the success we had with Jack. When I was desperate for a solution to get Jack sleeping longer, blogs like these were so helpful as I scoured the web for as many real life sleep training testimonials as I could find. Could I really teach Jack to sleep through in 3 nights or less?
Let me start at the beginning. Because I’ve never coped well without sleep, I read almost every sleep book on the market to arm myself with as much information as I could. Sleep books are a dime a dozen and so highly debated these days, so my advice is take what you think is useful from them and discard the rest.
Once Jack was born I did what I needed to do with my newborn and infant child. I never expected him to sleep through the night from the minute I bought him home, and although I don’t have any children to compare him with, I think he did pretty well. He settled into his own 3hr feeding routine and would feed 2-3 times overnight, 1-2 after the first few months.
I thought once he got older he’d just start sleeping longer until he eventually slept through consistently. Fast forward to 6.5 months though and the 1-2 wakings were turning into 3-4 and because I didn’t want him to wake my husband, I would rush in to feed, therefore never really giving him the chance to learn to self settle. By this stage he was firmly established on solids and I just felt instinctively that he was waking out of habit.
Like many parenting decisions, how (and if) you decide to sleep train is up to you, do your research and decide what is right for you. There are so many variations depending on your parenting style.
The general consensus from the books I read was to abide by the following;
- Wait until baby is 6 months AND double his or her birth weight AND healthy (not teething, not unwell).
- Make sure you have eliminated any other reasons baby is waking. Hunger, too hot/cold?
- If it works, it will work rapidly, in 3 nights or less. If it doesn’t, don’t persist. It’s not healthy for you or your bub. You can always wait a couple of months and try again.
I wanted to give Jack the ability to settle himself back to sleep and to know he was safe to do this overnight. Each time he woke and grizzled or protested I would wait 10 minutes before going in to him. If the protesting escalated to a distressed cry (trust me, you’ll learn the difference) I would wait only 5 minutes to comfort him.
Night 1. He woke frequently but settled himself back to sleep quickly. I only had to go in twice to quietly reassure him and re-tuck him in (no picking him up, no feeding).
Night 2. He woke twice and resettled himself within minutes. This was the first night in months that I didn’t actually have to get out of bed and I was amazed!
Since then he has slept though the night 12-13 hours. Because he’s such a great self settler, on the off chance that he does wake up and call out, I know it’s because something is wrong so I go straight in to comfort him (and I love those sleepy cuddles!).
The pics above show the evolution of Jack’s love for his comforter, Bluey, a present from his Nanna & Poppy. There is no sleeping without Bluey.