We decided to start sleep training Jordanna on January 27th. It had become increasingly difficult to put her down for a nap or bed. She didn’t always want to lay her head down while being held to go to sleep like before, and she started pushing away and moving more, due to her growing awareness of everything around her.
Well, Friday night January 26th, she decided she didn’t want the swaddle anymore. I had already started swaddling with one arm out to get her transitioning out of it before rolling. When she slept without the swaddle that night, we decided to go for all of sleep training.
I read multiple blogs and advice about this before training her, and my husband was on board with helping and trying it out.
So, the nap time came for Saturday morning, and we said ok. We are going to do the bedtime routine and then put her in her crib. Our routine consists of closing the blinds/curtains and singing her Jesus Loves Me. Let me tell you; that nap time didn’t go well. We used the sleep training technique, where you go in every 10 minutes to let her know you are there and sing and rub her belly/ pat her and then leave. After an hour and 10 minutes of crying, I decided to get her up. I fed her, and then I put her in the carseat and we drove to Target. She was asleep within two minutes of leaving the house. Some key things to note here were that we never went back to the old way of putting her to sleep where I would carry her, shush her, bounce a little to get her to go to sleep, and it took 15-25 minutes. One blog I had read said to do what you have to do to get them to sleep other than going back to the old associations. So we went to Target, and then I got a sound machine. This has been the best sleep cue for us. The first nap time I tried it, I put on a song, but quickly realized that both my husband and I can’t sleep to music and she didn’t like it either. We now use the ocean setting, which has really helped.
Also, we chose to pull the plug and do all nap times and night times the same way. Knowing our child’s personality, she would get confused if we didn’t go all in.
The first several days were rough. It is horrible hearing your child cry and knowing that it is for her good in the long run to train her early. There times when both Raymond and I would be sad. She did start getting the hang of it by the 3rd day. She was fully sleep trained by the 6th day. If you plan to sleep train, know that your naps and scheduling will probably be off.
On Monday morning nap time, I remembered something about Jordanna. She loves to feel things. Every time she is nursing, she always wants to feel and play with my shirt, and she likes holding her burp blankets. So, I remembered we have this knit blanket, and I let her have it, while I watched on the monitor. This has been her key security to falling asleep. During the first couple nights, I let her fall asleep with it, and then I switched it out to the burp blanket, so that it is more breathable and not as big. But, now she wants only the knit blanket. After 10 days of watching her on the monitor, I’m confident she knows where she wants it. She moves around her crib with it. It is a 28X28 breathable blanket with large holes, and I have ordered a 14X14 security knit blanket that should arrive this week.
I do realize that this isn’t recommended by hospitals, but I think you have to take the right measures and know your child well. We also coslept several nights, when she wouldn’t sleep as a two week old, except near her mom. When I think about how both Raymond and I slept with blankies as babies and kids, she probably is the same way. And, when I go to bed, I need my covers and like to hold a blanket in my hand. Would I prefer that she hold a thinner muslin blanket, yes, but she won’t take it. It is her personality – every since she was born, she has known what she wants and will vocalize it. I’m embracing it and love seeing her develop.
A friend gave me this verse, as I was working through this.
Psalms 4:8 “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
As of today, she falls asleep within 15 minutes most naps of putting her down. Bed time is pretty easy and takes less time. And, since she has learned to sleep on her own, we have done very well with Sleep, Eat, Play routine and getting full feedings in. It has been a very good change.
Key things that helped in the process:
Raymond and I both were on the same page with what to do
Raymond and I both knew the bedtime routine to repeat
We were open to modifying sleep cues (adding the sound machine, reading a book before singing, and breathable blanket)
We never went back to the old way… if she had trouble one nap, we put her in the car seat and drove
So if you are on the fence about sleep training, I highly recommend it. However, you have to commit to it and not confuse your child. Do it when you will be home or have time to go drive if needed, etc…
The rewards outlast the painful 5 or 6 days.