I have been promising this post to some of my Facebook friends for awhile now. This is how I sleep trained my son.
Roman has been sleeping through the night since he was 8 weeks old. In that time he has woken up 6 times in the middle of the night (yes, we know the count). Even then all I had to do was go in and give him his binkie and he was back to sleep. He sleeps, on average, 12-13 hours every night, usually from 7:30-8p.m. until about 8:30-9a.m. I have not lost any sleep as a mom because of my child. He napped regularly twice a day up until he was about 14-15 months old. Then we slowly started transitioning into one nap a day which lasts on average approximately 2-2 ½ hours daily.
Sounds glorious right? Well what if I told you that YOU can do the same thing we did?! Seriously, if I can do it anyone can. I am not incredibly organized and it was frustrating at times but the key is consistency. We stayed with it and Roman became conditioned to the routine and welcomed sleep. Our little boy does love his sleep. We say “night night” and he just lays down by the crib, SO cute.
However, I want you to keep in mind that this may not be the right plan for you, you’ll have to make that decision for yourself. I wanted to sleep!!! Therefore I was willing to give it a shot in order to ensure that neither my husband nor myself lost any sleep with our precious little boy.
Below I will give you the steps on how we did it.
1) Research sleep training online, I read several blogs on Pinterest which helped me make the decision to purchase a book to help me.
2) I went to Barnes and Noble and purchased “The Baby Whisperer” for only $20.00. Because I had time before my son was born I actually read through the book before he arrived highlighting the main points and bookmarking sections for easier reference. You can click here to get it much cheaper than I did. It’s really not hard to follow so don’t worry about reading it ahead of time. I will give you the general idea of the routine the book lays out.
3) Have the discussion with your spouse, significant other, partner, babysitter or anyone who may be helping you sleep train. You all have to be on board with and keeping to the routine. My husband supported me 100%.
4) You will want to keep track of your schedule on a piece of paper throughout the day. We tracked what time he got up, what time we fed, when he went back down for naps, etc. This will also help you find patterns in their own natural routine, track their habits when you veer off track with the EASY routine and just keep everyone organized and informed.
The sleep routine is based off the acronym EASY
You Time (that means you)
The first 8 weeks (prior to him sleeping through the night) was a learning nightmare for my husband and I. Obviously we were new parents stressed to the max with no idea how to care for a baby. You can read more about my new mommy escapades in these posts. By the second week we were able to work out a plan. We kept Roman in the living room in the evening because we did not want him to ever be in our room with us. One of us would go to sleep at 9-10p.m. (which was me at first) and the other would put Roman down for the night because typically this was bedtime. During these first few weeks he was generally waking anytime from about 3:30-5a.m. wanting a bottle, the one on duty would wake up with him, give him his bottle, then lay him back down to sleep. We would then switch at that point and I would wake up and go out with him in the living room while my husband went into our room to sleep. Generally we both got 8+ hours a night into late morning. Grant was getting up usually by 9:30-10a.m.
BUT, here is the kicker. Roman was sleeping from the time he went down at night 9-10p.m. until his early feeding. So that allowed both of us to sleep. He woke up when Roman did to do the feeding and since Roman went right back to sleep after feeding I was able to go out into the living room and crash on the couch until he woke up in the morning which was generally 7:30-8:30a.m.
We were careful to create a peaceful, darker environment for him to sleep at bedtime (like the book recommends) and brighter during the day for naps to make sure his own circadian rhythm wasn’t interrupted and he knew bedtime vs nap time. At or around 8 weeks old he started sleeping through the night entirely so we transitioned him from his swing (this is the swing we used, it’s less expensive here) into the crib during daily naps and then after a couple weeks he started sleeping in the crib all the time and that’s where he’s been ever since.
Now for the EASY routine
In the mornings when he would wake up for the day I would begin EASY. I started with his first bottle of the day, I always wrote down what time he got up and then when I got him started with his bottle. The routine schedule in the book gives you an idea of what kind of activities to do with your new baby and about how long they should last until they are ready to go back down for their first nap. Please pay special attention when they mention over-stimulation. A couple times someone watched him and let him watch TV the whole time and it completely OVERLOADED my son. It was amazing at how bad it messed the routine up. All of a sudden he wouldn’t sleep and SCREAMED. Roman never cried when he was a teeny tiny baby unless someone thought we were crazy (which MANY did) and let him get over stimulated. Seriously people this is a real thing.
Once you get baby down for a nap, it’s your time to get things done. They mention having a routine for nap time also. The key to getting them to stay in the crib is putting them down riiiiight before they fall asleep but not when they are totally asleep. This lets them get used to falling asleep without you. It took me weeks to time this right but that’s ok because he was learning also. I would sing him and shush him and then lay him down when I learned he was about to fall asleep. The book teaches you to look for queues and you will learn them. The book also makes you wake them up from naps which everyone says not to do, but hey guess who’s kid is a sleeping dream? Mine, and I followed what the whisperer told me to do!!
This is the routine we stuck with for months. Obviously you start to realize when they can start eliminating naps. Fun because they’re growing but also means less you time. I don’t remember exactly when we started two naps a day but I do know that he was taking two naps for several months longer than what the book projected he would. AMEN! Somewhere around 15 months he started to “tell” me he was done with his morning nap so we finally switched to one nap a day. Ever since then he has been taking a two hour (sometimes 2 ½ to 3) nap. He still goes to bed about 7:30-8 and gets up at about 8:30 every morning. This is the most ideal schedule for me as I am NOT a morning person; I’m a night owl through and through. I would much rather have him up a little later so he sleeps a little later. I get up with him every day, he’s the best alarm ever. My little guy is a clock. I almost know exactly what time he will wake up from a nap and then sure enough there’s his little voice, “moooooommmy”. I love it and I owe this book everything. However, the ultimate test will be when my next one gets here, will this work again? I sure as hell hope so! I told a friend about it and her baby was on the same schedule and miraculously sleeping through the night after just a couple days on the routine. She hadn’t slept through the night in almost 3 months!
Another huge part of sleep training for us was swaddling. This was something the book really stressed we should do. Your baby comes out of your womb into a world they know nothing about. They are used to being warm, cuddled, and confined, don’t try and deny them that (and if you must, wait a few weeks before you let them out of their swaddle). We swaddled our son until he started getting out of them and waking himself up. I am not entirely sure when that was but my husband and I really thought we were geniuses when we came up with the solution on how we would keep him kind of swaddled but kind of free to move on his own also. We simply decided to use a Halo Sleep Sack which you can purchase here. We (HAH, I) sewed the armholes shut and a little bit of the neckline so it was comfortable for him. My son is two and still in his sack, he loves his sack lol!! Everyone thought we were nuts because he slept in a sack but guess who was sleeping through the night and getting a ton of sleep? Yah, US, so suck it.
—-I want to mention that I am NOT urging you to do this as this is NOT the way the Halo Sleep Sack is intended to be used. The design is to allow their arms free but not their legs, a tiny sleeping bag. As he has gotten older we cut the arm holes open and zip him up in it. By the morning his arms are out of the holes.
I really thought we needed to go into business until, much to my dismay, we sat watching Shark Tank one evening and saw Brett and Stephanie Parker and their Zipadee-Zip. Essentially they had created what I did with the Halo but this was designed to be used in the way that I was using it. Damn geniuses beat us to it 😉 Kidding, I am so happy they are giving the gift of sleep to so many parents, just wish we had beat them to the tank!!! Haha. They offer lots of specials and you can purchase their sacks here.
You can always send me any questions and I will do my best to answer them but GO BUY the book! Here is the link again where you can get it here for pretty cheap. I got mine at my local Barnes and Noble for $20 so save some money and buy on Amazon.
That’s all I’ve got, you can DO this, your body and mind will thank you.
Carpe the Hell Out of Your Diem