Sleep Training

I absolutely love to cuddle with my kiddos. To listen to her coos and sighs, her slurps of breastmilk while she plays with my hair and nuzzles right up next to me. It’s magical! I am amazed at this tiny human, this beautiful baby I made (we made:)) However, I do not enjoy sleeping with her! She is up every couple of hours to nurse. And well, I just can’t do it anymore. Long term sleep deprivation truly is torture.

I know how it is to be desperate for sleep. I get it. I really do. There are times I’d do just about anything for some rest! Many times I have fallen asleep nursing and decided not to get out bed to put baby away. Each time this happens I regret it. Without a doubt, baby girl wakes more often to nurse and I worry I’ll roll over on her. Nobody at our house is getting good sleep, especially me. So we’ve decided to bite the bullet with baby girl and do the whole sleep training thing.

I believe sleep is a learned skill we need to teach our babies. I’ve read every book about sleep, trained as a nurse, and even worked for an amazing pediatrician. The following are just my tips and tricks for training your baby to sleep better (not meant as medical advice!)

TiredMeme

As long as your baby is gaining weight appropriately and is not ill or diagnosed with any other medical condition…. At 4 months of age they can sleep a minimum of 6 hours! They have mature livers which can sustain their blood sugar throughout the night. With the exception of growth spurts or sickness, most of the time when they wake up and want to nurse it’s really about comfort! We wake up naturally several times per night, but as adults we can usually soothe ourselves back to sleep. We need to teach the baby how to self-soothe too.

Nurse on demand throughout the day. So that baby is getting enough nutrition and isn’t waking up due to hunger.

Move baby out of your room! They can smell mom-especially if your breastfeeding (crazy huh?!) They will sleep longer and more soundly in a different room.

Teach baby the difference between night and day. Choose an 8-hour time period that works best for your family. (Our family does 9:00-5:00) During this time, if they wake up- no breast or bottle feeding. Dad gets up to comfort her by offering reassurance or in our case rocking baby back to sleep the first few days of sleep training. (Yes, we modified the advice a little bit- for the sake of our 3 year-old. I want him to sleep through the night at least.)

Involve your spouse. Yes, he may need to work in the morning, but so do you! I’d even go so far as to argue that caring for a baby is probably more taxing than a traditional 9-5. (I know working my J-O-B is easier than being at home sometimes. Shoutout to all those working moms!) Plus my husband means business, I’m the pushover.

Establish a bedtime ritual (Ours is bath time, pjs, nurse, and stories as they get older.) No music, lights, vibrating mattresses, etc. They become dependent on those things to sleep. A comfort item like a blanket, stuffed animal, etc. is fine; maybe even helpful for older kids (avoid suffocation hazards!)

Alexa Rae
Alexa Rae

So how do you sleep train?

Lay baby down in the crib. Give hugs & kisses then say, “it’s bedtime I love you-goodnight.” Immediately leave the room. Wait 10 mins, if baby is still crying enter room say, “Alexa it’s okay-bedtime.” Check on baby make sure she is safe. Immediately leave the room again. *Do Not pick up or touch baby! This is key. (DO NOT give in, if you do, forget everything you just did and consider yourself completely starting over!)

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

The first night is the hardest. But if gets significantly better each day. This method takes 3 days total! 3 days of hell, fury, damnation & drama. But your lives will be forever changed at the end!!!! Trust me on this.

This isn’t meant to make you feel judged or inadequate or anything else if you don’t parent the same. This is what works for me and my family. I’ve become the sleep training “guru” for my friends and family and thought I’d share what I’ve learned with you all. It’s amazing how much better you feel with adequate rest. Good luck!

Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope you feel loved and appreciated today! Being a mother is my greatest pleasure and joy. I love these kids more than I’d ever hoped or imagined. I’d give my left knee for either one- no questions asked! Like most mothers, I worry that I’m not doing enough. I struggle to balance everyones needs amongst all the chaos of my busy life.

I make an effort to stay true to who I am by doing something I find enjoyable each day. I try to make playdates for my son with other parents I relate to. We visit places (zoo, aquarium, park, etc.) that I like. We dance & sing while completing monotonous tasks (seriously how many times do kids poop in a day?!) No matter what stage of life you are in, I encourage you to take some time to appreciate them and do things that make you happy too.

Jackson & Alexa 2016