I have decided to do some sleep training with my baby. Please don't try to convince me not to, I'm going to completely lose my sanity if I don't get some sleep soon and my baby is also showing signs of sleep deprivation and is not her normal happy self lately. I just need some help figuring out exactly how I should do it.
History: She will be 5 months on the 14th. She's never been a great sleeper but some times have been worse than others. Newborn days were typical newborn days, but then from about 2.5-3.5 months, things were much better, she would sleep a stretch of 5-8 hours, and was up 1-3 times per night after that initial chunk. Totally doable and I would be so happy if we could get back to that. Over the last month, her sleep has been getting progressively worse. The last 2 nights she has been up every 30-90 minutes. About half the time I am able to pop her paci back in her mouth and she'll fall back asleep, but the other half that doesn't work and I'll have to nurse and/or rock her back to sleep, sometimes taking up to 45 minutes before I can put her back down without her screaming. I am beyond exhausted and ready to do something about it.
Questions/Concerns: She is still swaddled (Halo sleep sack with "wings"). Not rolling yet - can roll up on her side, but seems like she has a ways to go before she'll figure out the full roll. During her month of good sleep, I think she really needed the swaddle, but now I'm not convinced it's helping. She occasionally gets her hands up by her mouth and it wakes her up. Seems like she's fighting the swaddle a bit. So question - do I quit swaddling at the same time? We have experimented a bit with taking one arm out, but then she knocks the paci out of her mouth and can't sleep. My gut tells me that we should do both at the same time so she can maybe use her hands to self-soothe, but then I think I'd have to take away the swaddle and the paci, and that seems like a lot of things to take away at the same time.
Other info: She did have an ear infection about a month ago, but has had her 4-month appointment and another clinic visit since then and ears were clear both times. She has not been showing the same symptoms of ear infection that she had (fever, pink eye) since then. I was considering starting last weekend but she had a few days in a row where she didn't poop and seemed very uncomfortable from that, so I put it off. That is cleared up now. No other illness that I know of.
I think I will start with doing checks (3 min, 5, 10, etc), but I'm not opposed to extinction if necessary. I am not planning on night weaning at this point because I know she's still young for that, but I'd like to get back to 1-2 feedings again. She is in the 73rd percentile for weight and nurses like a champ, so I know that's not an issue AT ALL. She's EBF and I don't want to start food til 6 mo. I might try something like no nursing before 1am? We aim for sleeping by 6:30-7pm, and I have to wake her at 6:15 to get ready and to daycare/work on time.
Anyone have tips for me going into this, or want to share their sleep training experiences??
Sorry this was so long and rambling, I can hardly put together cohesive thoughts at this point... Thanks if you read it all.
wonderful cherry / 21504 posts
It sounds like sleep training of some sort will be really good for your whole family!
Personally, I think I would take away the swaddle at the same time so you don’t have to do this all over again. If she’s in the halo sleep sack with the wings, you can try wrapping that around her chest sort of tightly, so she still has the swaddled feel but has her arms free. That’s how i transitioned my kids and it seemed helpful. But neither of mine ever took a paci so I can’t speak to that at all. When we sleep trained I picked a certain time that I wouldn’t go in and feed before. Checked didn’t really work for my older daughter, she just got more hysterical, so we did extinction.
Another important thing to remember- no two babies are alike so you have to do what works for you. My two kids have been such different sleepers since birth.
Good luck! It’ll suck but then it will be so much better.
nectarine / 2180 posts
we used the halo sleep sack swaddles with the wings too and tried to transition with one arm out and then just wrapping her middle with both arms out and it was an epic fail, she either wouldn't sleep or would wake herself in a very short time so we just went to a sleep sack no swaddling, so don't be afraid to just quit cold turkey if that seems like it would work best for your kiddo (they are unhelpfully all their own person and like different things)
cantaloupe / 6131 posts
I would drop the swaddle, paci, all of it. I used sleep regressions to do that with both my kids because they weren't sleeping anyway and its easier to get rid of that stuff early on.
At that age, I gave both my kids a lovey. DS1 started chewing/sucking on his lovey at that point (he started teething early, which could be what's going on for your kid too) and gnawing on his lovey was how he self-soothed to sleep for a long time. DS2 ignored his lovey, but found his fingers/hands and was a finger sucker for most of his first year.
Sleep training methods is really more about the kid than the parent. What I mean by this is that parents often pick a method that makes them comfortable, but it may not be what works best for their kid. DS1 needed full on extinction - his personality was and is such that he just got hysterical. DS2 is much more laid back and we didn't even really need to train him all that hardcore - and checks would totally work for that kid and even now during his 2 year regression, we can check on him just fine. (DS1 at 3.5, we still need to just let him holler and have a fit and go to sleep instead of trying to comfort him, otherwise we'll be in there all night).
With DS1, we did a dreamfeed where we woke him for a top off around 10pm until he was 5 months old (after a 730pm bedtime). DS2 we did a dreamfeed until 12 weeks or so. But otherwise we didn't do nightfeedings. The only exception was if they woke around the 5-6am hour. I'd try a paci at that point to see if it would settle them to sleep and if it didn't, I assumed they were hungry. I mention this so that you don't feel bad about not wanting to nurse until a certain time in the middle of the night. If your girl is good at nursing and eating well during the day, her needs for milk overnight are limited.
I would say prepare to give it 2 weeks and to not start until you are fully committed with your partner to do it. Its not fair to the child otherwise. It will suck for a few days, and then your kid will sleep (probably just from exhaustion), and then there's often an extinction burst - where their sleep is worse than it was before and its like they rebound. You'll have to dig in and get past that blip, but after that they should be fine. The big key is to stay consistent during future regressions and not backtrack because sleep training gets exponentially harder the older and louder your kid gets. For instance, there was a pretty big regression for both of my kids around 6-7 months and there were a lot of bad naps, needing to nurse and be held a lot before bed, etc. Sure, we helped soothe them and what not, but we kept the routine the same at bedtime and put them down. If they cried, we'd soothe a bit, but as soon as they stopped crying, we did the same lullaby and put them down and walked out. If they cried again, repeat. It SUCKED and I got less sleep during those regressions than a parent would cosleeps would, but it reinforced to our kids that's what the process was and once the regression was over, they went right back to sleeping 12 hours a night and taking great naps. I've never brought them back into our beds or slept in their beds or whatever.
apricot / 275 posts
@Foodnerd81: @snarkybiochemist: @gingerbebe:
Thank you so much for the tips and encouragement!! I'm so nervous but I'm also ready to stick with it because I'm just at my breaking point. My husband is definitely supportive and probably would've done it a couple weeks ago if I let him, haha. We have an older daughter too and I didn't really realize this at the time but we were so lucky with her sleep! She slept 8 hours straight consistently by 3 months and 11 hours straight by 7 months, so we hardly had any trouble with her. She did go through a little regression around 6 months where she'd wake up more and more often and want her paci but couldn't get it back in by herself yet. We got sick of going to replace it for her so we used extinction CIO to take the paci away and it took 3 nights and she was back to normal. Somehow I don't see this being quite as easy. I'll stay strong! I will definitely do the swaddle and paci at the same time. I don't want to do it twice!
nectarine / 2964 posts
@kayla0416: It has been a long time since we did sleep training, but the book The Baby Whisperer was a lifesaver to me in all areas. It talks about sleep training and I highly recommend giving it a read. In fact, I just googled and came to this link:
I quickly glanced through it and it seems to align with what I remembered, I still recommend getting an actual copy of the book though, good luck!
ETA: Actually why don't you try searching "sleep training" on the main blog section on hellobee - I remember I got a lot of information when Mrs. Bee needed to do that for her kids.
pomelo / 5563 posts
We did sleep training about that age. We kept the swaddle, I was convinced he needed it. Dropping it later really wasn’t hard. For night feedings, the sleep trainer we hired suggested a dream feed between 10 and 11, and then another feed between 4 and 5 if he woke up.