Believe me Momma I feel you. The last time I posted re:sleep I really believed if I could just get my Fiery Sagittarius Baby Boy #2 on a solid schedule with a great bedtime routine like I did with his big brother I could FINALLY get some sleep! Fast Forward 3 more months and I have essentially gone 6 months RARELY sleeping for more than 3 hours at a time, most often sleeping only 90 minutes- 2 hours at a time. With a Toddler. *Sigh of Exhaustion*
So we did the intelligent/Crazy-Insane thing and forked over a ridiculous money to a sleep trainer. And honestly- best money ever spent. My #neversleep #nevertired #alwaystired #monsterbaby now sleeps TWELVE HOURS SOLID night sleep and is getting better at napping too!
So while I did promise that I would not circulate the 14 page specially designed sleep plan for my boy I will let you in on some of the key pieces that made it happen:
- Noise machine. Specifically THIS ONE specifically set to the RAIN setting. I first researched the pros and cons and scientific studies surrounding noise machines and I couldn’t find anything reputable with any long term negative effects and it’s pretty easy to wean them off it when the time comes. With a toddler older sibling I just found this key to not being disturbed/disturbing each other so we actually bout the toddle one too!
- Darkened room. We bought blackout curtains for the baby (toddler had blind/dark curtains already in his room) and I found this really helped
- Tummy sleeping! So obviously this is something I hesitated with b/c my boy wasn’t consistently rolling just yet and would not have started before 6 months but it made all the difference. I let this happen naturally with my first who was a better sleeper but he also slept way better after this.
- No night feeding! So this one is tough and (a) depends on the age of your baby (b) depends on the quality of daytime feeds. You should probably talk to your doctor or midwife if you’re concerned baby is not getting enough milk/formula/food during the day. I switched to size 3 nipples on baby’s bottle to ensure he was getting enough formula and he was also starting solids.
- No eye contact/talking when putting kids back to bed. They’re trying to engage you to keep themselves awake and to gain control of the situation. You can give loving cuddles/back rub/bum pats but no eye contact and either say “Bed time” “Sweet Dreams” “Time for Sleep” or whatever other sleep “Mantra” you want to create as a sleep association for them.
Now the putting baby to bed part is I think the part that really varies from kid to kid so that may still be worth hiring someone if you have a toughie like ours but essentially it went:
- Let baby cry for 2 minutes, go in pick up, rub back, pat bum (burp if needed) sleep mantra, put in crib * do this for a maximum of 5 minutes, even if baby is still histerical but stop short of baby actually falling asleep on you*
- Let baby cry for 3 minutes, lie back down in crib, rub back, pat bum, sleep mantra, leave (still only for 1-5 minutes)
- Let baby cry for 4 minutes (pick up/steps from #1)
- Let baby cry for 5 minutes (lie back down in crib, steps from #2)
- Let baby cry for 6 minutes (pick up/steps from #1)
If baby is still hysterical hold at 6 minutes, going in every 6 minutes and still alternate pick up/lie back down in bed. If the baby is quieting down escalate to 8 minutes and hold. If the baby is quieting down to the point s/he is not crying but just moaning and groaning do not go back in- let them try to put themselves to sleep.
*This is all in addition to a solid bedtime routine (Ours starts at 6:15pm and goes: bath, teeth brushing for toddler, oil massage for both, pjs, story for toddler/bottle for baby, song, sleep mantra/backrub, bed).
** My toddler also gained an extra hour/90 minutes at bedtime too.
Let me know what worked for you!