Is a wonderfully magical thing once you start having more of it – and its amazing how much you don’t realized you’ve missed it until you have it again! Gracie is doing so well with the transition to her crib that I’ve put off writing this post for fear that I will jinx us… As I posted last week, we transitioned the babe to her crib on Friday January 4th. The first night she did ok, sleeping in her crib until 2am, at which point she woke and we brought her back to bed with us. The 3 days following were similar with her sleeping in her crib until around 2:00-3:00am before waking up and crying out for us. During this process it dawned on me that we’ve been feeding her 6 ounces of formula before bed for months now and maybe she’s waking in the middle of the night because she feels hungry. As it turns out, that’s exactly what was happening! Once we increased Grace’s formula to 8 ounces, she had her first night of sleeping 11 hours straight! Hallelujah!
I’m not a big fan of the term, “sleep training”, but I guess that’s essentially what we’ve been doing. On day 5 Grace woke while G was putting her to bed (as opposed to waking in the middle of the night) and that was our first experience with letting her cry it out (CIO). Her cry was more of a whine and within 10 minutes she laid down and fell asleep, which made us feel much better about letting her cry. Had she gone any longer, we would have likely folded. I think the fact that G laid her back down in the crib and immediately left the room as she was getting fussy helped to keep her from growing hysterical. Every baby is different, but for Grace, the longer we stand next to her when she’s upset without picking her up – the more furious she becomes…
We’ve been at this “sleep training” thing for 2 weeks now and what we’re doing seems to be working. Neither I nor Georgia are “experts” by any means but I still wanted to share Gracie’s sleep update along with a few tips I felt would be helpful to any other parents out there, who like us, waited far too long to transition their baby to the crib (and are now suffering because of it)...
Here’s what helped:
- We purchased a “My Baby” sleep machine from Target that simulates the sound of a heartbeat along with several other sounds that are designed to sooth baby. The heartbeat seems to work best for Grace. Listening to it even makes me a bit sleepy, lol!
- Increase baby’s evening bottle by a few ounces to ensure she/he is full enough to make it through the night.
- maintain a routine and try to keep bedtime the same every single night.
- Plug in a soft nightlight so that if baby does wake in the middle of the night, they can see they are in a familiar place.
- If letting your baby CIO seems like it will be too hard on you, set a time limit. Going into this both G and I agreed that we would not let Grace cry for more than 20 minutes. So far we haven’t had to because she has self-soothed and fallen back asleep before reaching the 20 minute mark.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- try to avoid changing too much too soon. In addition to moving Grace to her crib, we also tried to give her the last bottle of the night in her room instead of in our room as we usually did. She couldn’t figure out why we were in her room to begin with, she wasn’t comfortable during her bottle and didn’t fall asleep as she normally does. This made for a tough first night making the transition.
- Do what feels right for your parenting style. G and I love having our cuddly time with Grace when she has her last bottle of the night, so while some schools of thought argue that you "should" put your baby to bed while awake and let them fall asleep on their own, that wasn't right for us. This may change in the coming months but for now we enjoy her falling asleep laying next to one of us before carrying her to bed.
- Talk to your partner and make a plan that you both agree on 100% before going into this. The last thing you want to do is disagree and get frustrated with each other when you have a sleepy, crying baby on your hands!
- Be patient and know that all babies are different. Your little one may take longer than a week to STTN consistently (as ours did) and that’s ok. Progress is progress, right?