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How tired would you be if your baby slept no more than 2 hours at a time for the first year of his life?
I get tired thinking about it, but in truth, I don’t remember the feeling. I know I was tired, but I cannot place myself back to that time to really feel that experience and exhaustion.
That’s the trick, right? How you fall for having more babies☺?
If you’re reading this, I suspect you more than likely have a tough sleeper and are looking for a path forward. For your sake, I hope you haven’t made it to the year mark but if you have, at least you know I was there too. Misery, or should I say exhaustion, loves company!
Being a Millennial Mom is tough because the internet is giving us millions of different opinions and judgment.
For every article you come across on sleep tactics, there’s two more contradicting it and making Moms feel worse.
As if being exhausted was not enough? Now, you have a guilt-ridden dilemma about all your parenting decisions.
I had Mom guilt because of the Internet and working. I was in fear of letting my child cry-it-out because I read far too many blog posts and down, down, the rabbit hole it goes.
My turning point came after a cross-country move and buying a home. After 2 months of being in our new home, it was time. I was done with Internet Sleep Wizards, I was going to do what I thought was best.
Finally. Maybe I was desperate, or maybe I was feeling settled after a very stressful first year as a working Mom. Whatever the reason, I was attempting something that my gut was telling me was OK. Things were going to work out.
We decided that we would sleep train our Son and I would only nurse him before bed. I would NOT nurse him to sleep. He would be put in the crib with the comfort of my hands and voice.
Up until this point, we were nursing before bed and ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT. EVERY 1-2 HOURS.
You may guess that he was comfort feeding and that may very well be true. I don’t know. We were just doing whatever we needed to get some rest.
Maybe I wasn’t producing enough milk – I was very stressed with being a new Mom, work and travel that first year and it had a big impact on the amount of breastmilk I produced.
Whatever the reason, I knew in my gut we needed a big change. Sleep training would involve letting my son cry-it-out. I by no means wanted to do this, but I reassured myself he would be fine. We’d all be fine.
I found articles online that would encourage this mindset because it doesn’t hurt to have a little support – just stay away from the negative ones.
With the decision made, I knew how I wanted to execute it.
I talked with my husband and asked if he would spend the upcoming weekend at his Mother’s. I wanted to do this with no distractions. That’s just how I am.
If you’ve had a baby waking up every two hours at night, you know come 3 AM it’s his turn or your turn to check on the baby. You both need to sleep and you get frustrated with one another. Sometimes it was even the dog’s fault.
Because at 3 AM it’s always a good idea to deflect and blame someone or something else. It’s science☺.
It’s also very much my personality to ‘just get it done’. I had confidence I could get through it in the weekend and I felt it would help if I just did it.
My husband was on board. We were good to go. I would start on Friday evening, put him to bed, let him cry, and check on him every 5 minutes until he fell asleep.
No one wants to sit idly outside their child’s bedroom door and hear them cry. The minutes were excruciating the first night. I felt as though I couldn’t do it but I knew I HAD to.
I went in every 5 minutes for a check until he was exhausted and fell asleep. When I went in, I would put my hand on his back and use a consistent comfort phrase.
Consistency was my number one goal.
- Bedtime routine was the same each night
- Check-in time was always 5 minutes
- The same comfort phrases were used
- I refrained from picking him up out of his crib
- I would put my hand on his back for a comforting touch
We also ensured that the room was dark by using blackout curtains and we always used his noise machine on MAX volume.
The total awake/crying time the first night was 1 hour and 40 minutes. It felt like 5 hours.
Night 2 awake time decreased to 52 minutes.
Night 3 awake time was 1 hour and 4 minutes. Yet, this was more improvement than backtracking. My son woke once around 3:00 AM for 4 minutes and then again at 4:20 AM for an hour. He thought he was up for the day at 4:20 AM so it threw things off.
Drum Roll . . .
By Night 4 my son slept through the night. 6:30 PM to 5:30 AM!!!
It was amazing, it was scary, and it was working!
I tracked everything, here are our first 5 nights:
After Night 5 he continued to wake up 1-2 times during the night for less than 5 minutes. He just needed some reassurance with our comfort phrase and then he was back to sleep.
From Night 12 on, he was sleeping through the night on a consistent basis.
We saw success in a matter of 3 days and we were all better off because of it!
The consistency of sleep training gave my son what he craved. There was comfort in the routine, he gained the ability to self-soothe, and he was getting some much needed deep sleep.
Previously, I would try all sorts of different sleep tricks just to get him to sleep. It was sporadic and the only comfort he knew during that time was Mom.
No wonder he wasn’t getting restful sleep.
If you’re asking yourself whether or not this is right for you, only YOU can answer that. You know your abilities and your baby best. Maybe it’s not the right time, but things change, maybe 3 months from now. Keep an open mind, stick with your gut, and remember consistency in whatever method you choose.
I hope you found my experience helpful, if you have any questions, leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you’re interested in sleep training but want to read more, check out how Alexandra over at Coffee and Coos got her baby Boy to sleep in 48 hours!
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