Its 4 am and my husband and I are switching shifts. I take my spot in the rocking chair with my baby in my arms, a peanut butter and jelly Uncrustable in the pocket of the chair, and some trash reality TV on to keep me awake. I’ll be planted here for the next 4-5 hours.
This was our reality the first week of my son’s life. My husband and I would take shifts sleeping and the other one would hold Kingston while he slept. If we put him down he screamed. We held him 24/7 for an entire week. The first 3-4 weeks of his life his longest stretch of sleep was 2 hours and that only happened a handful of times. He slept in the Rock-n-Play int he living room with whoever was on shift. His life was basically a series of naps. Needless to say he was not born a great sleeper.
I remember thinking I would never sleep again. That my husband and I would never have a normal life again. I’m sure these are thoughts most new parents have, but it scared the crap out of me and I’m not one to just sit back and accept something like that. So, I started doing some research. Now, something you should know about me is I’m kinda an all or nothing kind of girl. So I basically became obsessed with learning about infant sleep. (I would say I’m close to an expert now, but I won’t toot my own horn too much. Ha!) I stumbled upon Taking Cara Babies who had a no cry plan for babies under 5 months. So we tried it. And it worked!
I remember the first time he slept three hours straight without me holding him. I pumped, made breakfast, and cleaned the floors. I WAS SUPERMOM! At two and a half months he was sleeping about 830pm to 630am. It was glorious. Naps were still a little bit of a struggle but at that point I didn’t even care. I was so happy to be getting some consistent sleep I would have held him all day long if he wanted.
Then it hit….the dreaded 4 month sleep regression.
He started waking up every hour at night. MISERABLE. So at four and a half months we started officially sleep training. It took about three nights. Yes, the first night was hard. No mother likes to hear her child cry and that first night he cried for about 35 minutes. I kept myself busy by reading all the benefits of sleep training and all the good it does for your child. I survived and, honestly, after that it was so much easier because I knew there was an end in sight. I knew he wouldn’t cry on and on for hours. The second night he cried for about 10 minutes. And the third was just a few minutes. After that we were golden.
Kingston is now almost eight months. He sleeps from about 630/7pm to 530/6am. No wake-ups. No midnight feedings. He naps beautifully. Usually about 3-4 naps (we are currently cutting it down to 3) for a total of about 3.5 hours throughout the day. We don’t rock him to sleep, feed him to sleep, or do any crazy rituals to get him down. We lay him in his crib and he puts himself to sleep. It has been truly life changing for us. Plus, I like that now I know if he wakes up crying (which just about never happens) there is something actually wrong (he is hungry, in pain, etc.). We usually don’t even know he is awake until we check the monitor. He doesn’t cry and when he does wake up he just starts moving around and playing in his crib. Told you… LIFE CHANGING.
Now I understand sleep training is not for everyone. I did get some backlash when I started sharing our story on Instagram, but I didn’t let it phase me. I knew it was best for my family (I don’t do well on no sleep and he was so much happier when he got some good rest). I don’t judge those who don’t sleep train. In fact, I envy you. I wish I had your patience, girl.
The methods we used can be found on takingcarababies.com (no I’m not sponsored by her or anything, I just love her because her methods changed our life). For the moms out there thinking they will never sleep again, I promise there is hope! Stay strong and don’t let anyone tell you what you’re doing is wrong. Well rested babies are happy babies. And well rested mommas are happy mommas. 🙂
- Sound machine – we use this one and yes, we play it all night long Sound Machine
- Swaddle (only to be used before baby starts rolling over – we stopped using it at about 4 months) after trying MANY we ended up using the Ollie Swaddle because it is THE BEST!
- After the swaddle we moved to a sleep sack which he still wears now. It’s a good way to signal him that it’s time for bed Nested Bean is the one we use.
- We do a bath every night before bed, then lotion, a bottle, and in the crib he goes – setting up a good bedtime routine is key!
- Overnight diapers – and we also go up a size – we use Pampers