How to teach your baby to sleep through the night




Let's talk about sleep.... glorious SLEEEEEP. Evelyn has learned to sleep straight through the whole night! Can I get an HALLELUJAH!? She sleeps on average 12. hours. straight. and learned only after a few days. I am finally not a walking mom zombie anymore and I feel like I can function again! I am so proud of little Evelyn and I am kind of proud of myself too for sticking through it to teach her how.  If you are a mom you know how you cherish every minute of shut eye you can get. I am part of a Mamahood Community on Facebook where a bunch of moms can post questions they have, tips they want to share or just plain good news! And then other moms answer those questions and it's just one great big awesome mama community. Well, one mom shared THIS ARTICLE  that her pediatrician told her about and her experience on how she taught her baby to sleep through the night. We were pretty desperate since Evy was waking up several times in the night and we are so thankful she shared it.

So is your little one struggling to sleep through the night!?!? I am going to share with you the article that saved us!!! It's a positive "cry it out" method. It's a little rough in the beginning so brace your mama heart but it's so worth it for both you and your baby because you are teaching your baby a skill they will need their whole life on how to put themselves to sleep and you will be giving yourself glorious sleep! I share our experience after the article. Stick to it and stick through it-
YOU CAN DO IT!!!

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Baby Sleep: Get the Facts

    During the early days of life with a newborn, you're focused on what's best for the baby, so sleepless nights seem like a small price to pay. Until about week six, that is, when waking up every few hours starts to get old. By month three, you're pretending to be asleep, hoping that your partner will get up first and fetch a bottle. You can't remember what it feels like not to be tired.
    The good news is that most babies do begin to sleep through the night between 3 and 4 months of age if you let them, says Charles Schaefer, Ph.D., author of Winning Bedtime Battles: Getting Your Child to Sleep (Barnes and Noble Books, 1998). But many parents unwittingly encourage bad sleep habits that can continue for years. If your baby is 6 months or older and is still a night owl, it's time you get with the program. And even if you have a young infant, it's never too early to teach smart sleep skills. Our expert seven-day plan will guarantee a good night's sleep for you and your baby, with a minimum of crying along the way.
    Day 1: Start a Regular Routine



    mother putting baby to sleepPhotodisc/ Veer

    Many babies get their days and nights mixed up, napping for long periods in the afternoon and waking up to play at bedtime. But today you're going to fix that. "The latest research shows that infants can be taught the difference between night and day from the get-go," says John Herman, Ph.D., clinical director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Children's Medical Center of Dallas. You simply need to provide the cues that will allow this to happen.
    Wake your baby up early tomorrow, and get into the routine of always rising at the same time every day. Position her crib near a window and keep the blinds up. "The natural light helps babies organize their circadian rhythms," says Dr. Herman. Letting her nap with the blinds up also promotes this process. "If they wake from a nap in the daylight, they understand it's time to get up. If they wake at night in the dark, they'll learn to go back to sleep," he explains.

      At nighttime, begin some quiet rituals. "Decide on a specific bedtime routine," says Claire Lerner, M.S.W., a child-development specialist at Zero To Three: The National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families, in Washington, D.C. Dress your child in her pajamas and put her down in her crib for the night with the lights out. Just prior to tucking her in, you may want to read a story or sing a song, which helps your baby's motor and sensory system slow down.

      Day 2: Practice Makes Perfect

      Today you're going to build on the consistent routine you began yesterday. If your child still requires nighttime feedings, that can be a good time to accentuate the difference between day and night, says Robert Ballard, M.D., director of the Sleep Health Center at National Jewish Medical Center, in Denver. "Keep night feedings very relaxing, with the lights low. Do everything you can to avoid stimulating your baby," he says. "And during the day, make feedings a time of high activity, when you tickle her feet or sing songs, so she begins to perceive the difference."
      Continue to pay careful attention to what soothes your baby in the evening too. "A bath may be calming for one child and invigorating for another," Lerner says. You might also want to try adding white noise, says Carl Johnson, Ph.D., a psychologist and pediatric sleep researcher at Central Michigan University, in Mount Pleasant. "The hum of a fan or air conditioner or a radio set on static works well for many infants. The good thing about white noise is that you can fade it out over time, once your baby begins to sleep more predictably."

        Day 3: The Crying Begins

        Steel yourself: Tonight you start putting your child down in his crib while he's still awake. "It's the single most important thing you can do," says Dr. Schaefer. "If he falls asleep at your breast during his bedtime feeding, for example, arouse him enough that his eyes are open when you place him in the crib." Of course, a little -- or a lot of -- crying may ensue. But rest assured, it will be tougher on you than on your baby. Parents naturally find crying agonizing to listen to, but just keep reminding yourself that the end result -- sleep! -- will be good for the whole family. "Get over the worry that ignoring your baby while he cries will do psychological harm," emphasizes Dr. Schaefer. If you've been meeting his every need in other ways, this situation certainly won't lessen his sense of security.
        Nor should you worry about letting a very young baby cry. In fact, the younger the infant, the easier the process will be. "Babies older than 5 or 6 months are naturally going to be more upset because you've changed the rules on them," Dr. Schaefer says. A 3-month-old, on the other hand, knows only the routine that you create. "With younger babies, parents always think the crying is going to go on longer than it usually does," agrees Pamela High, M.D., medical director of the infant development unit at Women and Infants' Hospital, in Providence. "Infants under 5 months often last only for 15 or 20 minutes."
        If a battle royal does ensue, go in periodically to check on your baby and reassure him that you're there -- aim for every five minutes the first night. But keep your visits brief: Don't turn on the light, remove him from the crib, or offer him a pacifier or a bottle. "If he falls asleep with one of these crutches, he'll cry for it again if he wakes up or at bedtime tomorrow night," Lerner says.

          Day 4: Tough It Out

          So last night was a long one. Expect an improvement tonight. Your baby will remember a little sooner that crying doesn't produce results. When she protests, lengthen your response time to every ten minutes. And whatever happens, don't give in. "If you're inconsistent, the baby learns to hold out -- she'll just up the ante and cry twice as long tomorrow night," says Deborah Givan, M.D., director of the Children's Sleep Disorders Center at Riley Hospital for Children, in Indianapolis.

            Day 5: Baby Settles In

            Most babies get with the program in three to five days, so tonight could be your lucky night. If your child is still holding her own, lengthen your response time to 15 minutes. "Some babies need the frequent reassurance that you're checking on them, but others find it a tease," Lerner says.
            "Checking on the baby is really for the parents' benefit," says Dr. High. "If you notice that you're fueling your child's reaction every time you go in and you can tolerate staying away, it's fine to do so. Just peek at him through a crack in the door instead so he doesn't actually see you."
            The other frequent problem at this point is night feedings. At about 12 pounds or 3 to 4 months, most infants are ready to give them up. Obviously, you can't just decide to cut them out with a younger infant. But you can keep them as brief and quiet as possible: Cuddle your baby but don't sing to her, keep the lights out even during diaper changes, and settle her in the crib as soon as she's done. Don't fall for the myth that bigger babies wake up because they're hungry. Heavier babies actually have less need for night feedings if they weigh more than about 12 pounds, so they're likely to be waking up out of habit. Bigger babies are sometimes night owls precisely because they're being overfed, Dr. Givan points out. "Overfeeding means they'll have wet diapers, which makes them wake up again."

              Day 6: Baby Sleeps Through

              Sounds like bliss, doesn't it? But chances are you'll be wandering the halls a little anyway. You may find yourself getting up to check on the baby. Relax. Dress him in warm PJs so you don't need to worry about kicked-off covers, and turn the monitor down so that you hear him only if he's really in distress. Now that you've made so much progress, don't wreck it by rushing in too quickly. Let your child soothe himself. You also need to relax so that you can fall asleep.

                Day 7: You Sleep Soundly Too

                Give yourself a big pat on the back. You've not only regained your sleep but given your baby an important gift: Good sleep habits are as critical as good hygiene to a child's well-being. Of course, there will be setbacks, such as an illness, a new sibling, or an unfamiliar hotel room. "Even children who are good sleepers will have problems now and then," says Dr. Givan. But fall back on our foolproof plan whenever you need to. Your child will respond with even less difficulty the second time around because she already knows the drill.

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                Pretty amazing right!? I understand everyone has their own opinion and method on how they like to do things. You got to do what is right for YOU and your family- when you have a baby you are pretty much in survival mode. If this doesn't work for you after a week, then you can always go back to what you were doing before and maybe your baby isn't ready yet. But this is what we found to have helped us!
                First off we LOVE the Zipadee Zip! You can find it HERE. It's an amazing sleeping sack that is a transition from the swaddle. Evelyn never liked to be swaddled. She has to have her arms free and spread out wide like a star fish or above her head like she scored a touch down. The Zippy gives your baby a sense of security with feeling the edges of it and it helps them not have that 'falling feeling' that babies get that jolts them awake. Plus it keeps them warm all night and you don't have to worry about them kicking off their blankets and when they start rolling you don't have to worry about a bunch of loose blankets. (We still use blankets for nap time in the day.) They have full access to their arms and legs but get that security. Win win all around and I highly recommend it!

                OUR BEDTIME ROUTINE:
                I have been doing a strict bedtime routine ever since we moved Evelyn into her own bedroom at about 2 months old. I think it's the most constant thing in her life haha. I always have the same lighting with just a dim lamp on, turn white noise on that sounds like crickets in the wilderness (maybe when we take her camping in the future she will sleep really good then because she is use to the sound? maybe maybe) I start feeding her 4oz. When she is done with that I burp her then change her diaper, put her pajamas on- I always put socks on under her jammies too. I have diluted OnGaurd essential oil that I roll onto the bottoms of her feet (it's an oil that helps support the immune system) and I also put diluted Serenity essential oil on her back (it's a calming oil blend). Then I put her in her Zippy and put baby lotion on her face because her cheeks get a little dry from slobbering on them all day. Then I give her 2oz and then another 2oz if she wants it. She usually eats between 6-8oz before bed. We say a nighttime prayer together then I put her in her crib. By this point she is tired but still awake. Lately I have been putting her on her side rotating sides each night with the boppy propping her up to try and help round out the back of her head because she was getting quite the flat spot. It's helped tons! Though now she is starting to move around a lot in the night so she still ends up on her back so I will probably take out the boppy soon. I do put her in her crib with a binki because she loves it and she has learned to put her self to sleep with it. As I leave the room I tell her goodnight and that I love her. I turn on a diffuser with OnGaurd oil in it and turn off the lamp. Then she goes right to sleep!! No crying, no fussing, and I don't have to rock her to sleep. The constant routine has helped sooooo much. She knows it's bedtime.
                Also I know a lot of people also bathe their baby as part of their routine. We don't but that doesn't mean it can't be apart of a great routine! We just bathe her 3 times a week to help not dry out her skin. And when I do bathe her it usually is a nighttime though.

                SLEEP TRAINING:
                Evelyn was doing pretty good at sleeping where she was doing like a 8 hr stretch, eat then another 2-3 hrs. Then she hit her 4 month sleep regression and was waking up every hour in the night. We got through that and then she was doing a 6 hour stretch and then some. So she was waking up between one and three times a night. I noticed that she was waking up around the exact same times in the nights so I knew it was out of habit and I was a mom zombie! That's when I came across the sleep training article and we decided it was time.

                We already had the bedtime routine down so it was starting with surviving through the night... it was torture! Of course she woke up and the time she usually would wake up. About 2am. The crying began. I had to hold David's arm and I cried too! It took everything in me to not go to her rescue. After she had been crying for about the longest 20 minutes ever, I went in her room just to let her know I was still there. I didn't pick her up or give her the binki. I just rubbed her arms and said, "it's ok" a few times and "shhh shhh shhh." Personally I think that just made her more mad.... -_- haha but I still did it a few times then sadly went back to my room as she cried. She was angry!! and so sad :( Then she started doing the crying and stopping testing us to see if we would come get her. Then after probably 1 1/2 hrs of crying she fell back asleep. FINALLY! wheeeeew tough.
                But that wasn't the end of it. A couple hours later she woke up again crying!! We pushed through that session as well and after about 30 minutes of crying she fell back sleep.
                When the sun started to rise and her room was lighting up a little after 7am she began to wake up. This time I went in before she started to cry and fed her. She was happy then!

                The first night was BY FAR the hardest night. The second night she only woke up once and then she slept through the whole night by the third night!!!! Then the next couple nights she woke up a couple times but only cried for like 10 min and then 5 min where I didn't even go into her room. And now, SLEEPING THROUGH THE WHOLE NIGHT!!!! She learned how to put herself back to sleep in the night! And then in the mornings she is SOOOOO HAPPY! Like I come in and she is just smiling ear to ear kicking her legs in excitement and it's the cutest thing.

                Our bedtime routine starts usually around 7:00-7:30pm and then she is asleep by 7:30-8:00pm and she wakes up around 7-7:30am as her room begins to light up in the morning. I always go in as she wakes up and don't wait for her to cry because I don't want her to learn that crying gets her out haha. So I highly recommend having a baby monitor. We have a Motorola one and LOVE it! It helps so much and gives me a piece of mind that I can always check on her.

                Ahhh I am soooooo proud of Evelyn! And I am so proud of us for sticking to it, it only took a week! I can't tell you how amazing it feels to actually get a full nights sleep again! I feel like I can function!!!! If you are thinking about sleep training your baby, all I can say is good luck and you got this! YOU CAN DO IT!



                5 comments

                1. This is awesome information!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

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                  1. ya you bet! I had to share because it helped us so much!

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                2. Mckai slept from 10pm to 9:15am last night! I don't think he will ever go to bed earlier than 9 but I'll take 12 hours any way I can get it :) thank you for your encouraging words on Instagram, they really helped!

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                  1. oh that's amazing!!! way to go mckai! and you for sticking to it! Yay for sleep! Evelyn definitely isn't a night owl, I try to keep her up later cuz sometimes it makes it hard to go do anything in the evenings but she gets sooooo cranky if she's up too late haha

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                3. We started trying the 'cry it out' but she continues to wake up in the middle of the night. I had just given up!!! So, now I will give it a go one more time. Thanks for the encouragement. Mom zombies unite! ha!

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