Sleep Training 101; 4-6 Months
Months 4-5 were rough. Right when you think you’re getting to know your baby, and their exact next move – BAM they change. Seriously. They change all the darn time and they don’t do it on purpose but MAN, I need a break! Even so, we’ve been sleep training 4-6 months and we have prevailed friends! We made it through another sleep deprived couple of months!
I had a sleep training epiphany though, last week. I realized that at different points of her life, different sleep training methods work…… differently.
Who woulda thunk it?
SO the first 3 months of her life we were ALL about swaddling, and it totally worked for us! But now that she has a better grasp on rolling over, it’s not in our routine any long. Object permanence & cry it out totally did the trick for us from 3-4 months, but it just hasn’t been working for us as well lately. So last week, when I was convinced I would never sleep again, I did some research.
At 3 AM. My favorite time at night if y’all didn’t already know.
I basically found that at this point in her life, a similar but totally different method is working for her. I’m definitely not opposed to doing crying it out again at a different point of her life, but right now this other method is working best for us.
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Hey friends! If you’re curious on sleep training methods from 0-3 months, I have tips for that too!
Basically, our nightly routine goes something like this :
7 PM Bath time – sleep training 4-6 months
Jammie switch up!
For us anyways. If you’re formula feeding, this is where your bedtime (or nap time) bottle would come in. So we sit in our rocking chair, while I nurse. I usually turn her bedroom light off and nurse in the dark to set the calm atmosphere vibes.
Independent crib time – sleep training 4-6 months
I used to be pretty huge on rocking her to sleep, and then putting her in her crib and tip toeing to sleep, but more often than not she would wake before I could even leave the room. I thought she was regressing or maybe her “startle reflex” wasn’t quite gone yet. Turns out, she just wanted to self soothe and be left alone. Since she can now understand object permanence and knows when I am no longer there, I talk to her. I know she doesn’t understand exactly what I’m saying with my words, but she can sense my emotions and the different tones in my voice. So I coo at her, and turn her mobile on, and she smiles and coos back. Then I tell her that I’ll be back to check on her soon. I quietly escape to our room, and watch her on the baby monitor. She continues to coo and play with her pacifier, as well as puts the pacifier in her mouth on her own when she wants to. Most nights, I go in her room about 3 times, just to let her know I am there and I am checking up on her. Then I tell her again each time that I will be right back in a calm happy manner. Make sure you are taking lots of deep breaths – even if this takes forever! Remaining calm is huge!
Occasional cry it out
Now, that being said – she does have bad nights when we try to do this. Where I leave the room, and she screams at the top of her lungs. In this case, I let her cry it out. By cry it out, I mean I let her cry and when she stops for a moment, I rush right in. I am trying to basically “reward” her for not crying. These nights are far and few between and I feel like it’s because she knows that if she doesn’t cry and scream that I will be more likely to come in. Usually, after about 3 times in and out of her room, she falls asleep on her own. I mean out of nowhere passes out, and doesn’t wake up for 3 – 4 hours. (she still eats a lot throughout the night – we are working on that!) When she does wake up, I nurse her, she passes out, I put her down, and that’s all.
Now, if you’re just tip-toeing into crib transitioning, I suggest doing the 3-5-7-10 minute method. Put the baby down in their crib, leave for 3 minutes. Go back, soothe them, lay them down, repeat, but this time for 5 minutes. Then 7, and finally 10 minutes. The hope is that after that 10 minute mark they will be asleep!
Remember that attitude is everything!
If you remain calm, and tell yourself this is something you can do – then you totally can do it! Babies can sense our anxieties & our stress, so once we calm down, they tend to as well! Back to bed for mama. Yay!
- Reward not crying
- Dress in warm footie pajamas
- Self soothing in the crib