It’s 3 am and you are drearily falling out of bed to go soothe your crying baby. Your eyes burn from sleep deprivation and your hair is sticking out because you haven’t had the energy in days to actually run a comb through it. All you can think about is why you have even been trying to go back to sleep when you are just going to have to get up again in 30 minutes…an hour…three hours. So you scroll through Pinterest, desperate for any advice…and you come across sleep training.
Not knowing much about sleep training, you may wonder if it is actually feasible…isn’t that neglectful? Not. at. all.
Keep on scrolling and you will read:
- what exactly is sleep training?
- why we chose to sleep train
- what happened when we did sleep training (including how long it took for our little man to sleep through the night…)
- how we are going to approach difficulties going forward
**This is my opinion…just as everyone is entitled to have their own, I am entitled to have mine. There is no right or wrong when it comes to the decisions you make for your little one because you will make the best choice for you and your family, just as I did mine. This post was written to help mamas who are trying to find a solution for sleepless nights and a healthy, happier baby.
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What Exactly is Sleep Training?
From the research that I have done, I have found that the best definition for sleep training is that it is a way to encourage and support your baby in falling asleep independently. If your baby can use strategies to fall asleep independently, they will be able to use those strategies when they wake up in the middle of the night to fall back asleep without needing your help (unless they are hungry or need a diaper change). Translation: You won’t need to get out of bed!
It is not necessarily a cry-it-out type of sleep training that you hear about from all over the internet. While this is one of the methods that exists, there are many different methods that you can use to help your baby learn how to gain independence when it comes to sleeping. And I’d like to refer you to my go-to expert on baby sleep, Susie Parker, to explain those methods in detail.
Why We Chose Sleep Training
When we found Susie, it was right before my little man was starting daycare at 6 months old. We counted ourselves lucky that he only woke up once to eat in the middle of the night, but since he hit that dreaded 4 month sleep regression, it was awful trying to get him to sleep in the first place.
I’m talking rocking for an hour until we knew he was passed out, and tippy toe-ing as quietly as could be to gently lower him into his crib. If he woke up, we would have to start all over again. And after that regression, he was waking up every 4 ish hours, not to eat, but just coming out of a sleep cycle. We would have to do the whole process over again. And I know that he wasn’t that bad compared to stories from other mamas I’ve heard out there.
Thinking about our Health
But, I was having a hard time keeping myself together. I don’t really sleep well as it is, so having my little one waking up and needing to be rocked during the times when I got my very little sleep was too much on top of my work schedule. It was unhealthy for me and was preventing me from being the best mom I could be.
I also saw the effects of disturbed sleep in my son. He was more fussy than usual, constantly yawning, rubbing his eyes. It was almost like he was begging for sleep, but couldn’t get enough because he didn’t know how.
We needed help for both my safety and my son’s health. Enter Susie. We took her course: Sleep Training Made Easy. It was the best investment we could have made! Susie was so supportive and encouraging throughout the process and explained each method in detail. She gives you an actual sleep plan that you can follow based on the method that works best for you and your family.
What Happened during Our Sleep Training?
So now for what you have been anxiously waiting for…unless you just scrolled down to this section first (don’t worry, I would have too).
We chose to do the Check and Console method. This is where you put your baby down and check on them to console them at timed intervals until they fall asleep. Was there crying? Yes, of course. No baby wants to break out of their routine of comforting rocking and soothing. But for us, the crying was minimal. We felt that this was the best way to promote our son’s sleep independence without having to go crazy from extreme crying fits.
On the first night, we put our little man down at 7:30. Following our sleep plan from Susie to the minute, he was asleep before 8pm. He slept longer that night than he had in two months! He was out for a full 8 hours and when I put him back down after his feeding, there was no crying and he put himself to sleep in 19 minutes and we had to wake him up in the morning to make sure he didn’t sleep too late.
On night 2, he put himself to sleep within 15 minutes of us putting him down. He didn’t sleep as long this time (we think due to a late nap), but woke up 6 hours later. I fed him and put him right down again without any crying. He woke up at 6:40 and we started our morning routine.
On the third night, he went to sleep within 5 minutes without any crying! He woke up once to eat, and I put him back down without crying. We had to wake him up at 7:45.
On the subsequent nights, there wasn’t any crying when we put him down. We believed he had actually learned strategies to put himself to sleep independently.
It is now 5 months later and he has been sleeping for 13 hours every single night for the past 4.5 months (He started sleeping through the night after his first week of daycare). It took 3 nights for us to have a baby who learned how to take care of his sleep needs after months of suffering and we have a healthier baby because of it.
I know our little man won’t always be the amazing little sleeper he is now. Of course, sickness comes and goes, teething persists, and needs change as he grows older. However, I am confident in his ability to practice independent sleep skills.
Whatever you decide to do, know that you are making the best choice for your family. If you do decide to commit to sleep training, know that all experiences are different because all babies are different.
I highly encourage you to check out Susie’s blog. She has so much knowledge to offer and is such a source of inspiration.
What are your experiences with sleep training? Drop a comment down below.
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