The 4th trimester has officially ended at the G house. During G3s four month check-up, we voiced concern about her sleeping habits. When she was tired, we would make sure she had a clean diaper, a full belly, and then bounce her to sleep using a yoga ball. Every single nap and every single night. She loved it! Falling asleep wasn’t the problem. She would sleep for maybe 40 minutes and wake up screaming or wake up ready to be done napping. We accepted her as the 40 minute napper.
At night, I would nurse her down and stay in bed with her until she fell asleep when I would sneak away to spend some time with G1. This was getting hard. She has the nose of a hound and could tell when I left. We knew we had to make a change.
Our doctor recommended that we read a book titled “The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent’s Guide to Sleep from Birth to Age 5“. I had already read (most of) “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” and was enlightened with the science and reasoning behind the importance of sleep, but I was looking for more of a tutorial. I needed someone to tell me how to get my girl to sleep, not why she needed to sleep.
We wanted to eliminate these habits: 1. Co-sleeping 2. Nursing down (feeding her until she’s asleep) 3. Bouncing her to sleep
And hoped to replace them with these habits: 1. The ability to sleep in her crib 2. The ability to fall asleep on her own 3. The ability to stay asleep longer than 40 minutes 4. The ability to fall back asleep after she had woken up.
We dug into “The Sleepeasy Solution” on a Tuesday night. We followed the guidelines of the book (prepared her environment, enforced a routine, and grabbed a few beers to make it through the crying). That night, before I layed her down to sleep, I gave her a really emotional hug and kissed her goodnight. I layed her down and walked out of the room and quickly fell into G1’s arms crying. The baby wasn’t even crying yet, but I was emotional as I would no longer have her under my wing all night long. I was emotional because our 4th trimester had drawn to a close and G3 was beginning to gain independence. (I know I’m sooo dramatic.)
So the first night began with tears and a few beers but this is what it looked like:
6:51 First Check (fell asleep after and slept for 45 minutes)
7:59 Second Check
8:09 Third Check
8:26 Fourth Check
8:50 Fifth Check (We waited 20 minutes because we noticed her crying was worse after we checked in. Since then we always wait 10 minutes before fist check)
In total, the babe cried for 1 hour and 45 minutes on the first night. It was hard. Every piece of me wanted to run in and soothe her. Thankfully, G1 and I were able to hold strong and we are so happy we did. The rest of the night was beautiful. I would go in for her scheduled feedings (every 3 hours), pick her up and put her down without any crying. We were in disbelief! Was this really working? We tried not to get too excited on the first night.
The book recommends beginning sleep training at night and then swinging right into your naps the next day. Based on our experience with the check ups the night before, we decided to always wait 10 minutes for the first check up. Here’s what our naps looked like the next day.
8:10 #1 Nap (asleep by 8:20)
9:00 Awake (left in her room for one hour to encourage her to take one hour naps)
10:32 #2 Nap (fell asleep at 10:43 and slept until 11:10)
11:15 Check #1
11:25 Check #2 (cried off and on with longer intervals)
11:43 Check #3 (fell asleep at 12:52)
1:30 #3 Nap
4:05 #4 Nap (no crying so we didn’t check on her. She fell asleep at 4:25)
4:53 Check #1
7:05 Check #1 (asleep at 7:15 – 7:38 )
8:00 Asleep (she had a lot of crying between 7:38 and 8:00. The cries were all spaced out far enough we knew she didn’t need checked on as it only made the crying worse)
9:15 Awake (began crying from 9:30-9:40)
9:40 Asleep (began scheduled feedings at 10)
There was no crying the rest of the night.
8:30 #1 Nap *NO CRYING WHEN I PUT HER DOWN AND FELL ASLEEP RIGHT AWAY
9:30 Awake and Up (I noticed that she woke up and didn’t cry. She was just happy as a clam in her crib)
10:30 #2 Nap*During this nap, she kept waking and crying. I believe she was frustrated and was trying to get back to sleep. If I was to go in during this crying, her eyes would be closed. This is also when I learned about sleep cries (read #5) which happens while the baby is asleep, are often very piercing, and can last up to 10 minutes. I know when I heard these, that she wasn’t ready to get up because when she was ready to get up, she didn’t cry at all.
12:25 Awake and Up
2:03 #3 Nap (no crying to report here)
2:45 Awake (and happy as opposed to nap #2)
3:00 Up (I left her in there an hour for her to try and learn to nap for at least an hour)
4:22 #4 Nap
I considered this a successful day! I couldn’t believe she was already able to sleep in her crib by herself as well as fall asleep by herself with only two nights of sleep training. Nap #2 was the hardest as I had to let her work through her frustration and learn to fall asleep on her own. That night we had a very successful night looking like this:
6:45 Crib (We are slowly moving her bedtime later night by night )
Yup, that’s it. I went in for our scheduled feedings but we didn’t have to do any checks on her.
So if you took the time to read this and look over our schedules you’ll see that we had great success with this book and could report progress in as little as two nights.
1.Sleep in her crib? CHECK
2. Fall asleep on her own? CHECK
3. Stay asleep longer than 40 minutes? (We are definitely counting 45 minute naps as victories!) CHECK
4. Fall back asleep after she had woken up? CHECK
Now that we are a week into it, I am happy to report her night sleeping is amazing! Our babe is learning to self soothe herself and fall asleep on her own without any seep associations. Her naps are improving. She has taken a few one and 1/2 hour naps but still struggles with frustrated crying. The book warns that naps are harder than nights as it takes the babe a while to calm down from being in an alert state. So we will continue with the Sleepeasy Solution.
We went from having a baby that would cry and wake the second you put her down to having a baby who falls asleep and stays asleep on her own in a matter of a week.