If you read my blog, Sleep…A Crazy, Mysterious Mistress, you got the background of our sleep struggles and boy howdy did we struggle. Well, now I want to share with you what was on the other side and what I know can be on the other side for you too!
Above is one of the many sleep positions and places that Foster would sleep before we had him on a sleep schedule. Honestly, I would let that sweet little baby sleep wherever he would because I didn’t know what to do! Let me say that again…I did. not. know. what to do at all!! Everyone I talked to about how to get my baby to sleep made it sound so easy. Meanwhile, I was terrified to put him down because I knew I would wake him up from his sleep. That according to all the research I had done was so important for good health. So, I was just scared…all the time.
I was exhausted and my baby was exhausted, so I was just trying to get him to sleep how I knew he would without many tears shed(for both of us). So, he slept in our bed and…
He slept in my arms…
This was at one time the place where he got the best sleep. But, once he turned 5 months that was no longer the case. He would wake up uncomfortable and unrested …and usually screaming.
We also used the Rock N Play…a lot!
The biggest challenge with this was the transition from our arms to the Rock N Play(no, we did not master the putting him down while he’s still awake). We have a smart, ninja baby who could sense anytime he was not in human contact. So, sleep anywhere that wasn’t near us (more accurately on me) would not last long.
I came to a breaking point at his 6 Month old check-up where I had a pretty good sized break down in the pediatrician’s office over sleep. Yup, I’m that lady.
But, I come bearing good news! Things turned around. We figured it out (for now) and here is what worked for us.
Our Sleep Training Plan:
- I found a balance between the different extreme sleep methods I was researching.
I got way bogged down with all the different research that said their sleep method was the best and the only one that would aid you in raising a successful human. It just all felt like a lot of pressure to make the right decision and I had no idea what that was.
After endless hours spent researching the different sleep methods and the pros and cons of each. I finally found some hope…the light on the other end.
I started reading Secrets of The Baby Whisperer and I’m not exaggerating when I say this book changed my life. I’m not even a book reader(something I’m trying to change about myself), but I read this sucker from start to finish. After reading it I had a plan and I was ready to make some changes…
- I changed my approach to Foster’s sleep.
- I created a sleep routine-this does not have to be anything grand just whatever works for you. I got hung up on this for a long time. I wanted it to be the perfect routine that was special, but in reality he just needed something that was consistent each time I put him down for a nap or nighttime.
- Our routine= read a book, say a prayer, stand up and rock while singing a song and then put him in his crib while I finish singing the song and he was still awake. But, you do you boo boo. Whatever routine you start for your little one is what they’ll come to expect and what will make them feel safe and be perfect for them.
- Be there, but don’t be there– after going through our new routine. I would leave the room. This was the absolute hardest part for me since up until this point I was basically attached to him when he was sleeping. I think this was a security blanket for both of us. But, yes I would leave the room.
- After leaving= I would watch him on the monitor if he started crying. Which he definitely did at first I would go back in and assure him that I was there. I would stand by his crib and shush him and touch his head and as soon as he was soothed. I would stop and then leave the room. I continued this process until he was asleep. In the beginning this process took a while but it was better for me than hearing him scream for an hour (which we tried and it didn’t work for us).
- Magic= then after about a week of doing this Foster knew what was going on, he knew what it was time for and he just went to sleep when I put him in his crib.
This is the first miraculous picture taken of Foster sleeping in his crib at night time!!! Yes folks, he slept in his crib and not in bed with us. This meant I could move freely about the bed and not worry about hurting our sweet baby boy. I also learned something about Foster that first night (because honestly I just stared at the monitor the whole night). He loves to toss and turn in his sleep! It made total sense. That’s what was waking him up when he was in my arms or sleeping in bed with me. He didn’t have room to move around and find a comfortable position for himself, so he would just wake up annoyed. Now that he was in his own space he was free to move about as well…just like his mama.
- Sleeping Through The Night!
- Within the first week he was sleeping in his crib and sleeping through the night! I felt like a brand new person and I could tell he felt so much better! When you are sleep deprived everything else just seems out of whack as well! After all sleep is a need not just a want (but believe me it is a big want too!)
- Timing is Everything!
- I also want to mention that he was 6 months when we did this. I know there are many people that have success sleep training way earlier than we did. But, for us I think his age played a big role in our success. I tried a similar approach when he was 4 months and it did not go nearly as smoothly.
- Confidence…go get em girl!!!
- Last bit of advice…believe in yourself. Know you can conquer this sleep thing. I promise babies can sense fear. I was terrified to put him down. I think Foster that and reacted off my vibes. I became more confident after reading Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and I think my little man felt that.
So, if you are having sleep problems take heart. Please know that if I can do it…you can surely do it!!
**oh and full disclosure…I’m fully aware that sleeping situations can change at a drop of a hat but I also have more confidence in my abilities now and I don’t plan on changing that. So, I know whatever changes happen I can handle them. Please remind me of this later on when I’m stressing about who knows what. **