For this post I'm going to go over exactly what I did with Emmet from the 1st day, to where we are right now and the specific benefits we've experienced these past 6 months. :)
Our 1st Night
**We started sleep training almost to the day that Emmett turned 2 months old. It only took us 1 night to get him to sleep through the night. I've heard from some people that it's common for that to happen when sleep training this early, but I've also heard that it could take some babies up to 4-6 days. It took him 4 days to get naps down. So he was fully sleep trained at 5 days. I'm not a sleep training specialist, this is solely our experience :)**
The first night of sleep training was the worst. You'd think it was because we didn't sleep because his crying was so awful... nope. I was hardly sleeping anyway so it wasn't much different from the past week. His cries we're sad, but nothing like how he cries when he hungry or how he had cried in the carseat, so all of it was very tolerable... What got me, was all this weird mom guilt I was having. I felt like I was neglecting him because I was trying to teach him how to sleep. But after seeing how great he sleeps now, I see that it was literally crazy thinking. But luckily my husband and one of my best friends we're extremely supportive and helped me truck through that first night, along with these two books, Baby knows best: Raising a Confident and Resourceful Child the RIE Way
by: Deborah Carlisle Rhythms and Routines & Schedules: How to Simplify Life With Kids by Rachel Norman. If you ever want to try sleep training, I think it will help you be more confident if you go in with the mindset that you are doing a great thing for your baby and teaching them one of the most essential skills of life so early on. :)
The process took us about 4 1/2 hours to get him to sleep that night with one feeding in-between.
I didn't let him go more than 10 mins crying. All moms have different limits. For example, some moms do 10 mins and some 20 minutes. It’s all about your preference. I never allowed Emmett to get hysterical while crying and I think that was mostly in part of the 10 min limit I had for him.
So, the first night I put him down at 9:30 PM (which was REALLY early at the time). At first, he didn't cry for like 15 mins. I was kinda shocked. Then at 15 mins he started crying, so I would time it for 2 minutes, go in and calm him until he was done crying. Than I would wait until he would cry again and just keep going in at 2 minute increments until maxing out at 10 minutes. To calm him down I would place my hand on his chest and repeat "it's ok, you're ok". It would usually just take a minute or so to calm him down, but there were a few times during those 4 hours where it would take 5 mins or so. But every time I calmed him down, he wouldn't even notice that I left the room.
That night the process was tedious, but I was extremely consistent. Through calming him down, I never picked him up except for 1 feeding at 11:30AM which was 2 hours into the training process… He would go like 20 mins at a time without crying just making baby noises which really wasn't bad.
That night Emmett slept from 12:30-6:30 AM. It was the longest stretch he had ever done and I was amazed. He had found his thumb and fingers and was able to self soothe. The next night I did the same thing, but only experienced less than half of the tears. He fell asleep at 10:30PM that night and slept until 6:30 AM straight. By the end of the week he was at 10 hours straight, with it only taking him 10 mins to fall asleep by himself. By the time Emmett was 12 weeks old he was sleeping 12 hours and allowing us to put him down for naps and nighttime sleep in his room without crying.
I basically did the same consoling in 10 minute increments for naps during that week. It took longer to get him on a nap schedule as opposed to night sleeping because I was running errands with him all the time, so it was harder to stay as consistent. But I was able to successfully have him on a napping schedule by day 5.
*For Emmett and his good sleep habits the one thing that was the most important was consistency*
2-4 month schedule:
These two months were the most consistent months of this whole process. I stayed pretty strict to this schedule. But this was the most strict I was through it all. I basically followed this as close as I could to get him used to naps and nighttime sleep. I think doing it this way for us worked great because it gave us more freedom after he was 4 months old.
This was the schedule I used:
6:00 AM- 6:30AM: Wake up/Feed/Play
7:30AM- 9:30AM: Nap
9:30 AM- 10:30 AM: Feed/Play
10:30 AM- 12:30 PM: Nap
12:30 PM- 1:30 PM: Feed/Play
1:30 PM- 3:00 PM: Nap
3:00 PM- 6:00 PM: Nightly Routine--- (Feed, Play, Feed, Bath, Story-Time, Song, and Prayer)
6:00 PM- 6:00AM: SLEEP
4-6 month schedule:
This is where I became a lot less structured. I was focused more on surviving our move and getting him used to the change. So I followed more of a 1 1/2-2 hour awake period. I also kept him at the earlier bedtime because it worked for us.
6:00 AM- 6:30AM: Wake up & Feed
6:30ish AM-8:30AM: Nap
8:30 AM- 10:30 AM: Feed, Play, Oatmeal/Fruit, and Feed
10:30 AM- 12:30 PM: Nap
12:30 PM- 3:00 PM: Feed, Play, Oatmeal/Fruit, and Feed
3:00 PM- 4:00 PM: Nap
4:00 PM- 6:00 PM: Nightly Routine--- (Feed, Play, Oatmeal/Prunes, Feed, Bath, Story-Time, Song, and Prayer)
We are hardly on a schedule now. It's more like he has a 2-3 hour window where he's awake and takes naps from 1-1 1/2 hours. But I could say most of our days go like this:
7:00-7:30AM: Wake up/Change/Feed
9:30-10:30 AM: Nap
1:30-3:30 PM: Feed/Change/Play
3:30-4:30 PM: Nap
4:30-7:30 PM: Feed/Change/Play/Get ready for bed/Feed
Right now I really like Emmett sleeping from 7-7PM. It's probably my favorite because 6-6 was pretty early, but again it's all preference. I know some moms that love 6-6 and some that love 9-9. It's all up to you and what you feel works best for your family.
Basically everything I talked about in post 1 on why we chose to stop co-sleeping and these other reasons listed below.
-I have SO much more freedom. I think one of the biggest misconceptions of having your baby on a routine or schedule is that it's restricting. For us it has been the complete opposite. I can freely run errands, visit friends or family by myself, ride in the car with him for over 2 hours, etc all without him getting too fussy or me getting anxiety.
-He can sleep anywhere. In the carseat, stroller, other peoples houses, all without me. I think this is one of the biggest things for us. We spend most of our time at home but I also have a life in which doesn't necessarily allow us to be cooped up in the house until he's 2. Some days and weeks are busier than others, where I have errands to run, things to do, and places to go. Having him sleep trained allows me not to stress over his temperament in public, because he is getting the appropriate amount of sleep.
-He sleeps for 12 hrs per night. Like I've mentioned before he will move around in the middle of the night but he is literally clockwork when it comes to bedtime. He's ready for his crib anywhere from 7:00PM-7:30PM and wakes up ready to go between 7:00AM-7:30AM. Every single day.
-His naps are predictable. I don't currently have him on a strict schedule but we follow a 2/3 hour window of awakeness. So he takes anywhere from 2-3 naps in the day depending on how long he naps for.
-When he's awake, he's awake and when he's asleep, he's asleep; never drowsy.
-He can be put in his crib without tears and awake. He'll try to find a comfy spot and just put himself to sleep every single time, whether it's nighttime sleep or naps.
-NO nighttime sleep regression. Emmett had no sleep regression in the past 5 months, even through teething.
-I still get all my snuggle and cuddle time with him. Some people think "oh once you stop co-sleeping, the baby won't need you as much or snuggle you"...Nope. I'm still his mom, he'll need me until he's an adult and hello.... right now he's STILL a baby! Yes, he's more active now, but he loves to cuddle and snuggle us ALL THE TIME. Not missing out on anything <3
For us, 1 night of some difficulty was worth it to have a baby that sleeps through the night, takes amazing naps, and allows me to function at the rate I used to function. Now don't get me wrong... We still will have a bad day here and there, but it averages to like once or twice a month if that. The freedom sleep training has given us has really helped me wrap my head around my current pregnancy and know that I can handle 2 babies under 1. I really hope these posts help you guys and that it is a good reference to go back to if/when you decide to sleep train. I love hearing from you and if there is anything else you want to know just shoot me an email :)