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Infant Sleep

Baby Sleep Training: What Worked and What Didn’t

April 25, 2019, Author: Tamra Cater

baby sleep training

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I remember the days I thought I would never sleep again. Coffee and energy drinks were my friends during that time, as I was a brand new mother faced with the challenge of helping her baby learn how to sleep.

This is how I felt at times:

via GIPHY

 

As a baby, my daughter woke up a lot during the night to be fed. It was always a challenge to get her to go back to sleep, so we would put her in the swing, which worked like a charm. She’d sleep for another 3-4 hours in it. However, my husband and I would have periods of sleeping and then being awake for 2-3 hours out of time before we went back to sleep. I’d even end up sleeping on the couch a lot because the swing was in the living room (It wouldn’t fit in our bedroom). I also didn’t want to bed share. So, how did we ever get to sleeping again?

The Cry It Out Sleep Training Method

First of all, we started with a sleep training method known as cry it out (with any sleep training method, you want to start at around 3 months at the earliest). It’s not nearly as bad as it sounds, and I was initially very much against it until my husband and I was at our wits end with not having any sleep. My mother-in-law came for a visit, and she had us put her down in her crib, rub her back for a second, and then leave the room after saying, “I love you.” We wouldn’t ever let her get out of control. If the crying went on for more than 5 minutes or so, we would go in and give her some attention and comfort and leave again. For the following night, we would do the same thing, but we would wait maybe a minute or two longer before going back into her room and comforting her. You know what? On the third night or so, we’d put her down, and she’d fall asleep without a peep. For more information on the cry it out method, click here.

Bedtime Routine

We also used a bedtime routine to help “prepare” her for bed. We’d give her a bath, turn down the lights, and read her a story. We loved reading these books to her:

We’d also turn on a soother, such as this one:

The Results of Our Bedtime Routine and Cry-it-Out Method

Our daughter would do well when we’d put her to bed. She wouldn’t cry, although she would have a couple of times where it just wasn’t working that night. However, our next problem was her waking up in the middle of the night for feedings or comfort. This lasted for a long time, and I honestly don’t think I have a reason as to why. I know that her pacifier would fall out a lot, so she’d cry for us to find it. It took her until she was almost 2 before she would sleep through the entire night. She was still using the pacifier for a while after that, but she’d sleep through the night. And when this finally happened, it was joyous! 🙂

There is an article that I read that suggests that sleeping through the night might be due to genetics rather than sleep training. So, this is another possible reason why it took so long for her to sleep through the night.

Other Tips and Ideas for Baby Sleep Training

  • I wish I was good at swaddling, because this may have helped. Our baby was also good at getting our of any swaddle we tried, so it was pointless for us. However, some products may help your baby sleep through the night, and that I wish I knew about before!! For example, there’s a sleep slack that mimics your touch and embraces, so the baby feels comforted and secure. This is supposed to help them sleep for longer periods. There’s one for nested bean, that has amazing reviews–Here’s an example of a sleep sack. 
  • The Baby Sleep Site was a resource I used a lot. Here’s a page where they describe other sleep training methods that make work better for you and your baby.
  • Another possibility is to try to wear your baby out. Be active with them by taking them places. For example, you might take your baby to the mall or the zoo, so they can see all the sights.
  • Another article suggests feeding your baby before bed and then putting them in bed when they are sleepy to help them get to sleep and sleep for longer periods. 
    • Watch for cues that your baby is sleepy, which would be yawning and rubbing their eyes. This is when you want to get them to bed!

Final Thoughts on Baby Sleep Training

It may be tough right now to get your baby to sleep. However, remember that this won’t last! Be patient and consistent, and things will eventually change. Until then, do the best you can to get sleep when you can. And coffee may help some too 🙂 Just ensure you take care of yourself and ask for help when you need it.

 


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comments (16)

  • avatar image
    Very Insightful Post! Loved the practical tips shared by you.

    Natasha Malik

    April 27, 2019 Reply
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      Thank you!

      Tamra Cater

      April 27, 2019 Reply
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    Great tips! I was very against the Cry it Out method but, after some time, I got used to the idea. Our kids both sleep well through the night, though now we just need to make sure they stay in their own beds, instead of coming in with us LOL :)

    Megan | Ginger Mom and Company

    April 29, 2019 Reply
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    I love that you took the time to really explain the 'cry it out' method. So many people write it off immediately because it sounds far more cruel than it is lol

    Britt

    April 29, 2019 Reply
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      Thanks. I think it's misinterpreted as letting the baby cry and cry until they cry themselves to sleep.

      Tamra Cater

      April 29, 2019 Reply
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    I did this with my daughter, going in to reassure her but not picking her up, and she slept well. When we put her in bed she would just lay right down and go to sleep. I tried with my son and I just couldn't do it, I don't know why.

    Sarah

    April 29, 2019 Reply
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      That’s interesting. Was your son born after your daughter?

      Tamra Cater

      April 29, 2019 Reply
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      Great post! 💙 wow, it's been a long time since mine were actual babies, but I do remember. My oldest is 16 and my youngest is 8. They were all different! My oldest had a lot of health problems and was bed bound in the beginning pretty much constantly, but she hardly ever cried. .practically never. .only when she experienced pain or discomfort. My second oldest was easy. In the beginning we mostly co slept, but he would also go down in his bassinet or crib rather easily when I needed him to. My youngest was the most difficult, she did not take to being put down very well, unless there was frequent movement or touch like patting or gentle rocking. Due to this, she also co slept quite a bit though not regularly. I placed her bassinet next to my bed and would drape my hand over to rub her back when she fussed. And swaddling definitely helped as well.

      Lisa

      April 30, 2019 Reply
      • avatar image
        Thank you! Yes, it does seem like kids are so different when it comes to sleep, even if they were all born into the same family. My daughter really liked movement, so that's why we used the swing a lot until we could really get her sleep trained.

        Tamra Cater

        April 30, 2019 Reply
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    Thank you for the great explanation of the cry it out method. My little one was in the NICU and our nurses told us about it. We tried it when she was around 4.5 months and it took her one night to learn. She fell asleep within 5 minutes every day after and slept through the night since 4.5 months. Sancti-mommys always have something negative to say about it but its truly from ignorance!

    Ariana Dagan

    April 30, 2019 Reply
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    Great tips!! We did the the cry it out method but we got lucky & my son has always been a good sleeper.

    Brenda @TheBurrowsWay

    April 30, 2019 Reply
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      Thanks. Yeah, I’ve heard of some babies sleeping through the night from day 1. It’s interesting just how different they all can be.

      Tamra Cater

      April 30, 2019 Reply
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    I was one of those people that was completely against the cry it out until I had no choice but to let ava cry it out, and to my surprises it only lasted 2 days and then she was used to it! Great tips!

    Dayma

    May 6, 2019 Reply
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      I was to. I was surprised at how quickly it worked for us too.

      Tamra Cater

      May 6, 2019 Reply
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    Whitenoise, rockers, and car rides saved me with baby sleep training : )

    Marie

    May 6, 2019 Reply
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      That helped me so much too!! :)

      Tamra Cater

      May 6, 2019 Reply