Before I go into what worked for me (and both my children), can I just say, that I totally get that sleep training is not for everyone. Some parents find their own way that works for their family. I found mine and I hope it can help you 🙂
So let me set the scene…
Both my babies were sleeping for longer stretches at night, having a feed or two and going back down with little fuss. I felt like I was getting a handle on things and actually almost smug about it!
We had a good bedtime routine and I continued to do what I was doing, so couldn’t figure out what had changed. I reached out to several parenting Facebook groups and that’s when I heard about the 4 month SLEEP REGRESSION!!
After a bit of reading around, all I could remember was that the 4 month regression was a permanent change in your babies sleep pattern…so feeding, cuddling or rocking to sleep would ALWAYS happen.
I had to do something.
This post may contain affiliate links. For more information read my disclosure page.
Sleep Training preparation
At this point, my babies slept in our room. Hubby and I decided to move them in to their nursery. Their bedroom was perfectly suited to getting a good nights rest (see what I did here).
To help my babies get used to their new room, I would let them lie in the cot and play, in the day and we also started to do the bedtime routine there too. I would like to think, that it helped them familiarise themselves to their surroundings so when we did eventually want them to sleep there, it wouldn’t be as scary.
I read about sleep training and there were several different ways, some stated that they would be quick and others took the longer approach. We (yep, I got hubby involved- read on to find out why) decided to go with the quicker, cry-it-out method. I hear you gasp! Believe me, I did too, but we made it work for us. We decided to do this, when we were able to commit to:
- Staying at home for at least 3 days.
- Tackling day naps and night sleep, consistently.
And, once our babies were 5 months old. Just to clarify, my children are 15 months apart, so we did this with both, separately.
Sleep Training in Action
So, the day came. We got our baby ready for bed, like always. But, this time we placed her in her cot, awake, gave her a kiss goodnight and left the room.
I started the timer on my phone.
Instantaneously the crying started 🙁 I won’t lie, it was awful…I cried with her. This is where hubby came to the rescue. It was decided that he would do the sleep training (mainly because I was an emotional wreck and secondly, babies are super attached to mommy, meaning it would take much longer).
After 1 minute, hubby went in and picked our daughter up and soothed until she stopped crying, kissed her goodnight and lay her back down and left the room. She cried again as soon as she was back in her cot, but hubby still left the room.
This time we waited 2 minutes (arrrggghhhh!) and hubby repeated the steps. Then waited 4 minutes, then 8 minutes, then 10 minutes. After that we stuck with 10 minute intervals. Our baby cried but she was not in pain. Still, it wasn’t easy. It is not for every family, so please do not take any offence. Our children are now 4 and 3 years old and the happiest of children.
We waited a total of 45 minutes until she fell asleep. The next day, we decided to tackle her day naps as well her bedtime and did the same method. I kept a log of how long it took her to go to sleep each time (I suppose as reminder that it was working). Each day, she went to sleep quicker and quicker and by day 4 she was falling asleep independently. She had found her thumb and would cuddle her blankie to sleep.
Our son was completely different, we started sleep training him at 5 months old, but, honestly he whimpered for 30 seconds and fell asleep from day 1. It just shows how each child is different.
What if they wake up in the night, I hear you say? Both mine were still waking in the night to feed, so I would still go to their room and feed them (kept it very quiet with a dim light), after feeding I would lay them down awake and kiss them goodnight. By 6 months old, both mine were sleeping 12 hours straight and still do (unless ill). They love sleeping and wake up happy and full of energy, as do we!
I hope this post gives you some reassurance. Feel free to share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you.