I’m no expert when it comes to babies, but I come bearing good advice and lots of wine. Virtually that is – you’re gonna need it! Because we’re talking sleep training and moving babies to the nursery solo. Let me start are out by saying sleep training is not for the week minded. I can’t tell you how many times I cried because of sleep deprivation and just pure exhaustion. It’s very trying on your mental state as a momma, but stick to it and you won’t regret it!
I had no idea what sleep training entailed when my pediatrician asked if we had started at her 4-month well visit. The best advice is to start early! We started at 4 months and weren’t successful at sleep training Liv till she was officially in her crib for 2 weeks at 6 months.
Fading Sleep Training Method – You help your baby fall asleep by rocking, swaying or feeding to sleep. Gradually over time you shorten the time you rock, sway, and feed to a few minutes and put to bed.
PUPD (Pick Up Put Down) – Laying baby down and if they get fussy you pick them up until they’re drowsy then put them back down. Repeating until they fall asleep. Some babies find this over stimulating rather than relaxing.
Chair Method – Sitting on a chair by the crib and gradually moving the chair further away each night until you are eventually outside the door. When baby cries you are not calming them or giving them any attention generally.
Ferberizing (Check and Console) – When baby cries you wait 2-3 minutes, if they stop and start crying again you start the timer over for 2-3 minutes. If they haven’t stopped you go in a check on and console them for 30 seconds (patting their back/tummy singing one lullaby and leaving). Whatever you do, DO NOT PICK-UP BABY! When checking up on baby the point is not to help them fall asleep again it’s just to reassure them you’re still there. This helps them learn how to fall asleep on their own when they wake up in the middle of the night.
Cry it Out (Extinction Sleep Training) – Putting baby down wide-awake and letting them cry until they fall asleep, with no returning for checks. If your baby cries you let them cry it out until they stop.
Just remember there isn’t a right or wrong way to sleep training. You find what approach works best for you and your baby! It’s not a one size fits all type of thing.
We did a cross between Fading Sleep Training and Ferberizing. Since we started at 4-months we also had to deal with sleep regression. If you haven’t had to deal with that yet, it’s like the newborn sleep stage all over again. Honestly, if we didn’t start sleep training at 4 months I think Liv would still be sleeping like a newborn.
Between 3-4 months we transitioned to the Nested Sleep Swaddle and continued the use of the Dockatot Deluxe inside her bassinet. It made for an easier transition from traditional swaddling and her falling asleep in my arms to the bassinet. The swaddle has beads that rest on the baby’s chest and sides to mimic the pressure and security of being held/the traditional swaddle.
At 4 months, we started naps in the crib. Literally the day we came home from her 4-month well visit. When she would fall asleep in my arms I would transfer her to the crib for her nap. Naping in the crib is hard! (Naps started out at 10-45 minutes) The hardest thing is the transfer. I didn’t start Liv awake in the crib for naps till she was 6 months and in the crib full time. When transferring your sleeping babe lay her down with your hands still beneath, slowly move your hand from underneath the legs and place that hand on their chest. With the rise and fall of their chest slowly remove your hand from underneath their head. After, slowly decrease the pressure from your hand on their chest and lift slowly. This was the trick to getting a successful crib transfer for us! This is a slow process, but works beautifully. We also started sleep training this same day. Sleep training is not for the weak; let’s just get that out there. We would start with the Fading Sleep Method of feeding then swaying her to sleep either with her head on my chest or in the baby carry style. This would take 10-20 minutes for her to fall asleep. Already in her nested bean swaddle, I would use the transfer technique above. Sometimes she would wake a little or fuss and I would immediately put my hand on her chest and sing a lullaby. Then we would use the Ferberizing method of waiting 2-3 minutes when she would cry – go in, console and sing lullaby. I wasn’t comfortable with upping the time because she would wake herself up more the more she would cry. I would go in to console her 5-10 times in the beginning.
At 4.5 months we stopped using the nested bean swaddle for sleeping and continued the use of the Dockatot Deluxe. It was accidental as we forgot the swaddle on our road trip to California. At this time she did not have a nap schedule and she was going to sleep around 10:30pm. We continued with the same sleep training method above.
At 5 months, we discontinued the use of the Dockatot Delxue for sleeping. Liv was consistently rolling over and seemed to get frustrated while sleeping in her Dockatot Deluxe. We decided to take it away and have her sleep solo in the bassinet and she was not a fan of it. She would roll all over the place, get her head stuck in the corners, and wake up multiple times during the night to comfort nurse. It took a week for her to not wake up 5-6 times a night because it was new to her. This was extremely rough! Don’t give up, stay consistent and the wave will pass. After a week she would wake up 2-3 times to nurse. She was still sleeping in her bassinet in our room, but would nap in her crib. We continued the use of the two sleep training methods. I would still nurse and sway her to sleep for 5 minutes instead of 15-20 minutes now and continue to check on/console her. With taking the Dockatot Deluxe away she would wake herself up, as she’d roll around. Side Note: She would sleep face down and it would give me a heart attack! Per our pediatrician, if she has full strength and mobility of her neck and if she can put herself in that position she can get herself out of it. I still checked on her a lot and would make sure she was still breathing. At this time we had a nap schedule and bedtime routine established. A bedtime routine doesn’t have to be a big event; it just needs to be consistent. Her bedtime is between 7:30-8:00pm depending on her mood. We like to leave a little wiggle room just incase! We start to wind down at 7:00pm – diming the lights and turning off the television.
Tip: Liv liked to be warm at night 74 degrees to be exact. We found that if the temperature in the room she was sleeping in was below that she would wake very frequently.
Wake-Up 7:30 – 8:15am
First Nap 9:45am – 10:30am for 2-2.5 hours
Second Nap 2:45pm-3:30pm for 2-2.5 hours
*Don’t extend naptime less than 3 hours before bedtime
1. Body Lotion and some gentle baby young living essential oils applied to the bottom of her feet before PJ’s
*Every other day she gets a 10-15 minute bath*
2. We read a short book because the attention span of a baby is next to nothing
3. Turn on noise machine and art naturals oil diffuser timed for 3 hours
4. Lights off, rock her in the glider and feed her to sleep (sometimes she does not fall asleep but is drowsy)
5. Transfer her to the bassinet/crib
At 6 months, we moved Liv to her nursery full time. We follow the same bedtime routine and sleep training method with a little modification. Liv doesn’t like to be swayed to sleep anymore. We feed and then put her down in the crib awake/drowsy and she rolls over and falls asleep. I wait 5-10 minutes now when she fusses and she soothes herself back to sleep 9/10 times. For naps, she is put down awake and falls asleep immediately or takes a few minutes. Her first night in the crib she got her leg stuck between the crib bars, so I decided to get some highly recommended mesh crib bumpers that work amazing!
Night 1 – woke up 5 times, 1st time leg stuck between bars, 2nd time soothed herself back to sleep, 3rd time feeding, 4th went in patted her tummy and sang lullaby, 5th time soothed herself back to sleep
Night 2 – woke up 2 times, 1st time soothed herself back to sleep, 2nd time feeding
Night 3 – woke up one time to feed
Night 4 – slept through the night no feeding
I justify sleeping through the night to include waking up to feed now. Liv consistently sleeps through the night with the occasional wake up, but soothes herself back to sleep.
At 6.5 months we are still going strong with napping and sleeping in the crib full time! So I’d say we have successfully conquered sleep training y’all.
Happy sleep training and gettin’ crib ready friends!