Sleep training. I feel like people are in two camps; the “I could never let my baby cry camp,” or the “hell yes” camp. I’m in the “hell yes” camp. Like I’m a camp counselor. 😉
Before I even had Luca I knew I wanted to sleep train him. Reason number one is I am the type of person who needs sleep. I can’t function on five hours a night. I need eight; preferably ten. So to be a mom who was not tired and irritable during the day, I needed my baby to sleep through the night!
Reason number two is I fully believe a well-rested baby is a happy baby. Just like we feel amazing when we get a full night of uninterrupted sleep, they do too. I also think babies (and kids) function better when they have some structure and routine. You don’t need to be a drill sergeant, I’m pretty flexible, but some form of a schedule and predictability in the day helps. 🙂
So let’s get into it! I followed the 12 Hours’ Sleep by 12 Weeks Old program. BUY THE BOOK. Like the physical book. Read it cover to cover, and hang onto it because you are going to refer back to it lots of time over the first few months.
I chose this program because it’s DOABLE. You’re not one day just sticking your baby in their crib and letting them cry for an hour until they exhaust themselves. You set them up for success. I don’t want to explain every detail (because you need to read the book!) but essentially you are getting your baby on a feeding schedule during the day, and they naturally starting sleeping longer at night. Before we started “the training,” Luca was no longer eating at night. He was waking up one time at 4am and I was rocking him back to sleep. So that needed to go.
Below I am going to share the sleeping training rules that I followed and the few rules I didn’t. You need to do what YOU are comfortable with as a mom. If sleep training is going to cause you major anxiety and unhappiness, don’t do it. However if you are going to do it, try and do it right or it’s not going to work. And one thought on crying. The way I looked at it was, Luca is going to cry at night whether I sleep train him or not. So I might as well help him learn to regulate himself and put himself back to sleep on his own, rather than him still crying and relying on me to help him.
Right now Luca sleeps between 11-12 hours every night. Most nights he sleeps all the way through. He might start crying or whining but he puts himself back to sleep in under 3 minutes. Other nights Lou or I have to get up (after 3 minutes of him crying) and we pop his pacifier back in and he falls asleep. It’s not always perfect (we definitely have our nights!) but for the most part we both get a good nights sleep. He is on an 8am-8pm schedule so Lou has time with him after work and I can sleep in in the morning. If you have any questions leave a comment or send me an email!
Luca eats 4 times per day (8am, 12pm, 4pm, 8pm)
When I put him down in his crib, I do not pick him up until it’s time for him to get up (unless he peed through his pjs, pooped or there is some other necessary reason)
I wait three minutes before I go in his room to calm him down.
I do not talk to him or engage with him while I calm him, but I “shhh” him and rub his back.
I leave the room when he is calm.
I did not start sleeping training him until he was 12 weeks old, although she suggests starting at 8 weeks.
I initially used a swaddle and transitioned him to the Magic Merlin suit, although she recommends to stop using a swaddle at 6 weeks.
I still rock him to sleep often, because I’m only able to do that for so long.