It has been a minute since I last blogged but I have been getting a lot of messages on Instagram and Facebook on how I get my boys to sleep all night and so early. I wanted to take the time to help (if I can)! Sleep is precious and I feel you moms out there who are up all hours of the night with your little one while googling "how to get my baby to sleep.” I've been there, I get it!
Let me start off by saying that this is just my way and what works for my boys and myself. By no means am I saying this is the right way or the only way. Every baby is different. This may not work for every child but it sure worked for both my boys and for all my friends who have done it, so mommas there is hope! If sleep training isn't for you, then by all means, don't do it. You as a mom have to do what is best for you and what you feel most comfortable with. BUT before you make that decision, hear me out, and read this entire post as it is not as intimidating as it may seem. Trust your momma gut and you do you!
When they are fresh and a tiny newborn you aren't going to sleep, everyone mom knows this so during this period I call it the "getting to know your baby" period. This is when I figure out what they like, what they don't like and just the best way to keep them happy. I fed them every 2 hours during the day but during the night I let them sleep as long as they could and switched to on demand feedings. During the day we stick to a strict schedule. SCHEDULE and CONSISTENCY are key with babies!
I will say that from the beginning with both boys I did the following:
- Kept them in a just a diaper during the day- little to no blankets.
- Kept it bright/light in the house during the day
- Had a nightly routine of bathe - feed - pjs/swaddle - bed
- Eat, Play, Sleep Schedule
Doing what I mentioned above, help train the baby to know the difference between night and day and the difference between nap time and bedtime. Also, the night time routine shows them that “hey, this is bedtime” each night so they know. Babies are like clockwork which is why a schedule is so important.
When my kids are a month old I move them into their own room (still sleeping in their rock and play sleeper) with a monitor on them. Lincoln wears the Love to Dream Swaddle during the night (not for nap time so he knows the difference between the two) and he LOVES it. I wish I knew about it when I had Carden. Highly recommend it. He will then tradition to the Love to Dream 50/50 Swaddle very soon around 2-3 months and you can let one arm out at a time to tradition them from swaddle to no swaddle.
Another huge thing we start doing at one month old is the cry-it-out method (GASP). I know, some of you moms are reading this and maybe you’re judging... maybe you think we're crazy. Who knows, but it has been scientifically PROVEN that letting babies cry-it-out has no long lasting or any effect on them at all. I'll attach the the information HERE and HERE so you can read it. Letting our kids cry-it-out has been the best for our boys when it comes to sleep training. Is it easy? No! What parent likes to hear their child cry? No one!
We do the ferber method which is when you let them cry for a few minutes and then go into the room and reassure them quietly and with physical touch (without picking them up) that "hey its mom and dad, we're here, you're okay and we love you!" and we leave. They normally calm down (not always) and stop for a minute then start crying again. This time we wait longer to go back in. It was 5 min before then we go to 10 minutes and go in and repeat what we did before then go longer and repeat. We do this until they fall asleep. Sounds awful, doesn't it? It is, but it’s BEYOND WORTH IT, when they start sleeping through the night between 4-8 weeks old, I promise. Just stick with it and it will pay off! Unless your baby is colicky or has some sort of health issues then this probably won't work for you! Here is a link to read more about the Ferber Method and how to do it--->HERE
If your baby is fed, has a clean diaper, and is crying then they are OKAY. Let them cry, they will eventually self soothe back to sleep. Just because your baby wakes up and cries, this does not mean they are hungry, unless they are going through a growth spurt! I promise, you’ll know the difference.
After doing the Ferber Method a few times (or maybe it takes week or two for some, it could) our boys started sleeping through the night. We would put them down the same time every night around 9:30 at first and then we slowly dropped this to 7:30pm. They would cry for 2-5 minutes and then be out for the night and wake up 12 hours later! This has worked for both boys, Lincoln it worked a tad better because I had issues nursing Carden in the beginning but overall it was a success for both! Carden will be two in March and still sleeps through the night because of this.
We transitioned Carden to his crib at 3 months exactly but I think we are going to transition Lincoln to his crib within the week or so (he is two months) because the earlier you do that the better and easier it is for you later. The longer you wait, the harder it is.
Carden would/does cry on occasion when we put him down but always falls asleep and stays asleep (unless he is teething or sick then that changes things). We still try to never get them from their crib if they’re crying, unless they are screaming bloody murder, had a night terror, or have cried a really, really, reallllllyyyyy long time. If it’s been a really, really long time we will go in and try reassuring them that everything is okay first and then leave. If it continues, we may rock them to sleep. These should be the only reasons. If you get them every time they cry, they will do that all the time because they know you are going to get them. Babies are geniuses, haha!
I never rocked Carden to sleep much because I didn't want him to depend on that every time to go to sleep. Avoiding that worked! A lot of people I know rock their kids every time they put them down, which for me is not my thing. If it's yours, there is nothing wrong with that! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE rocking my boys to sleep and getting snuggles. The few times Evan or myself have rocked them, we’ve loved every moment but we just try not to do it too much so they don’t expect it each time. Also, by letting them cry themselves to sleep and not rocking them to sleep each time you are teaching them to self soothe which is very important!
At 4 weeks old, Lincoln was sleeping from around 9:30 at night to around 8 in the morning by doing everything I shared. We are currently in a transition process and now he will go from around 8:30 at night to around 9 in the morning. My encouragement to you is…commit, stay consistent, and have a schedule. I cannot say it enough!
Sorry if this was confusing! I’d love to hear if you have any of your own suggestions, or if something left you confused and definitely if you have any questions. I would love to help!
Leave thoughts on my last image on instagram with comments or questions so other people can read them. Who knows, they might have the same question!
Good luck mommas and know that you WILL sleep again, and it will get better. Remember, every baby is different. You got this and it only gets better. I promise! We’re are all in this crazy journey of motherhood together and I only want to encourage, help and cheer you on!
Below are things that help the process that we use.
- Sound machine
- Black out curtains
- Also putting a t-shirt that you (mom) has worn and put it near baby when sleeping so they have the scent of you nearby helps.
All images taken by Reed Gallagher Photography