Teaching Our Baby To Fall Asleep Part 1

by Nicole on March 14, 2013

Good morning! I took a little blog vacation this week and boy it felt good. Since having Olivia I have tried to let go of the pressure to blog because there are other priorities in my life that have to come first.

Right now we are sleep training, but in a different way. Basically what was going on was we would rock and feed her to sleep. We have been doing a bedtime routine since she was probably 2 months old. We go to her room, read books, say prayers and feed her and she would go into a nice deep sleep. It worked until about 3.5-4 months and then her eyes would POP open as soon as she hit her crib. We figured out in our tiredness, she wouldn’t wake up in her rock n’play. So we started using her rock n’play for her to sleep .

loving sophie & the rock n'play

Basically I knew she had to stop sleeping in the rock n’play so when I asked my pediatrician about it (who I absolutely LOVE and trust SO MUCH) she said that even though it was early, to let her cry it out. I REALLY wasn’t ready for that (sidenote: parents not ready = it’s not going to work) but I decided to give it a shot. Let me just say I am NOT against cry it out. It’s not ideal, but we may have to go back to it at some point at 6 months or after.

The first two nights we followed a controlled crying plan. The first night we were to go in at first 3 minutes after she got hysterical. The problem with this was she didn’t reach the full 3 minutes after over an hour, but she was just MORE fired up after an hour than she was at the beginning. After like 70 minutes I canned it for the first night. The second night we did it for a little less than an hour because she was crying SO hard SO often. Again it didn’t seem like the end was in sight. The third night we decided to let her cry for 10 minutes and then we’d increase it 2-5 minutes a night. After the 10 minutes she was basically inconsolable and I decided to do a “reset” with something else.

I KNOW this isn’t how it’s supposed to go. My heart wasn’t in it and I know I didn’t give it enough time. I feel like for us, 4 months was too young to do it. The more she cries, the more riled up she gets and it makes my heart hurt.

Then I went back to reading No Cry Sleep Solution and Baby Whisperer. The Baby Whisperer sounds perfect and like it makes so much sense, however (FOR US) none of it has worked. I read BW when I was pregnant and was like “wow this will SO work for our perfect baby”. In reality, we don’t Eat Play Sleep here, we Sleep, Play, Eat, Play, maybe Eat some more, ┬áSleep. I tried the dream feed for almost 3 weeks and it did nothing besides mess her schedule up more. Somethings don’t work for everyone and that’s why there’s no one size fits all method for raising babies.

We decided to try Pick Up, Put Down. This method (from Baby Whisperer) says, when the baby cries, you pick her up. When she stops, you put her down. Rinse and repeat as MANY times as it takes to get them to put themselves back to sleep. As we were in the middle of doing this for over an hour (switching on and off between Danny and I) it wasn’t making sense to me. This entire time I’ve known that the key is to get them to put themselves to sleep by putting them down awake….and I was trying to teach her this by crying.

Just to note before it came to her crying, all last week we started putting her down drowsy instead of fully asleep and using the rock n’play as a bridge. She is so happy in her rock n’play it worked, but then when we tried to get her to transition to crib, I don’t think she had it down yet or was AWAKE enough. This was the idea we would end up using, but we didn’t do it for long enough or put her down awake enough.

After an hour of PUPD I decided to let Danny do it for a couple more minutes while I scoured the internet. I turned to Troublesome Tots, where I had found LOTS of other good info before. I decided we needed a better plan where we would put her down literally AWAKE and she would fall asleep on her own.

I found this series: What You Need to Know About Sleeping Through the Night Part One, Two and Three

Finally a light clicked on. We had to use the swing.

What I knew we had going for us in this plan:

  • I have been napping her in the swing since she was 1 month. I put her down awake and she falls asleep on her own.
  • She loves the swing.
  • She has slept through the night a good amount of times.
  • She typically only wakes up once a night. So I know she has the ability to be a good sleeper.
  • Olivia is basically (because nothing is 100%) rarely overtired. I very carefully monitor her awake times and put her down after about an hour and 30-40 minutes awake time.

I want to stop here before I get into exactly what we are doing because this post is FOREVER long and I don’t know who the heck is still reading…besides really tired parents.

I will say that the MOST important thing I have learned about sleep training is that you have to put them down AWAKE and teach them to go to sleep on their own. You have to pick your own way of doing this.

My next post I’ll outline more what we are doing and how it’s going. In the meantime, let’s all get some rest. :)

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan Sullivan March 14, 2013 at 5:03 pm

I haven’t slept in 6 years. And my oldest is 6. :D

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Mariale March 14, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Hope things are going better. A few things I’d like to add:
1. Sleep training is very personal, you should do only as much as you feel comfortable doing. Everybody has a different opinion about what is correct and not. Not everybody deals with your baby at night when you’re tired though.
2. I read somewhere that how would you feel if you went to sleep in a very Comfi bed at the Hilton and suddenly wake up in a hostel? So you should put your baby to sleep while they are awake where you want them to stay whenever they wake up.
3. Truth is sleep patterns change with age, whatever works now there’s no guarantee it’ll work for them when they’re toddlers :-( I’ve got a 4yo who still gives me troubles during the night at least 2 times a week. Sleep is for the weak! Lol that’s what I say to myself after one of those nights.

Many thanks for sharing your experience! And good luck!

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Holly March 16, 2013 at 6:40 pm

I’m really looking forward to hearing about how it has all been going. Just out of curiosity, is there any problem with sleeping in the rock n’ play or is it just that you all want to go ahead and move to the crib?
I seriously think my mom “reset” Adeline when she visited a few weeks ago (either that, or we just happened to pass some developmental stage). We’ve been pretty good about establishing a bedtime routine (we have a bath night and a non-bath night routine now), and it has been SO NICE to not have an hour + of a crying baby at night!

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Nicole March 18, 2013 at 10:52 am

She is over 26 inches and I just feel like she’s too long for the rock’n play (or will be very soon!). We are using that and the swing as a bridge to the crib – I’m about to write that post now!

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char eats greens March 16, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Hahah “I don’t know who’s still reading this…besides really tired parents.” Can I raise my hand?! haha

Does Liv self-soothe at all? Because before Nia started sucking her thumb, that’s where we had problems. Now luckily, when she is crying a lot, as soon as she grabs her thumb, she stops. It’s been SO helpful for getting those naps we were missing and when we put her to sleep at night!

I hope everything starts working out sleep-wise soon!! You’re so resourceful, that I can’t see why it wouldn’t ;)

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Nicole March 18, 2013 at 10:53 am

she doesn’t self soothe all the time! she doesn’t suck her thumb, just bite down on it…sometimes sophie helps. she doesn’t take a paci either. she’ll figure it out soon enough! :) thanks for comment!

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