This is a lengthy post, and you won’t hurt my feelings if you skip this and come back tomorrow for Wardrobe Wednesday – Outfits Lately! If I didn’t have a baby right now, I’d probably skip it too;) But, if you have a small baby, or one you are trying to get to sleep through the night, you might be devouring everything you can read about how you can get baby to sleep so YOU can get some sleep too. That was me a month ago!
I really enjoyed those first few months cosleeping with our baby. There’s just something so beautiful and lovely about sleeping with your babe even though I know it’s not for everyone. I just removed the covers from the bed at night and only had my pillow in there, and it was super convenient because I am exclusively breastfeeding her. Whenever she would be hungry in the night, I could easily roll over and nurse her.
I used to put Jordan to sleep in my bed swaddled, but around three months old, she started liking to soothe herself by sucking on one hand, so I began swaddling with one arm out. About the time she turned four months old, she started rolling from back to belly when were playing on the floor, so I wasn’t feeling comfortable leaving her in the bed, swaddled, even though she had never rolled over in the bed.
With a modified cry it out approach, you put your baby in the crib when she’s sleepy but not all the asleep and you’re “teaching” her how to soothe herself to sleep, as opposed to being the one to rock, sing, hold, nurse to sleep. Putting baby to bed sleepy is key because if they’re not tired, they obviously won’t fall asleep.
Once you put the baby in the crib, you do a combination of shush/pat their back (it works better for Jordan if I pat her booty), but you only do it for about one minute, then you leave the room. I would stay away for one minute, then come back in and do the shh/pat for another minute. If she was still crying I would leave for three minutes and then come back. I’d do the shh/pat for one-two minutes, then stay away for five minutes. You are supposed to increase your time away, but I could never go longer than 10 minutes at a time. 10 minutes is like a year of your life when you’re doing this and your baby is crying.
Sometimes, I’d stay in the room and watch her where she couldn’t see me. I’m not gonna lie, seeing and hearing my baby cry for even three minutes is excruciatingly difficult. I felt like I wanted to pick her up and hold her and tell her it’s OK, but I’ve also read that if you stick with this approach it can work within three days. I felt like if I gave in and picked her up after such a short period of time (relatively speaking) that I would interrupt the process and it would just drag on even longer. Thank God, she would usually fall asleep by the time I had left for five minutes and come back.
After researching when it’s safe to let baby sleep on her belly, everything I read said if they can roll over onto their belly on their own, you don’t need to reposition them. I was still really freaked out for about the first week.
I put her down anywhere between 5:30 (if she doesn’t take a late afternoon nap) and 6:30pm (if she gets that nap) and she sleeps all the way until about 6:30 – 7:30 a.m. Sometimes she stirs around 2 o4 4, and I know only because I get a Dropcam alert (more on that below), but she’s not crying. She may “fuss” a bit, but if I just watch from Dropcam, she’ll fall back asleep on her own within about 5 minutes. I probably wouldn’t even know she stirred had I not gotten the alert because she’s pretty quiet.
At the naptimes especially, it’s really important for me to watch for her sleep cues so I get her down while she’s tired, but not before she’s ready or too overtired. Her cues are yawning, rubbing her eyes, and extreme fussiness. She’s typically so happy and easygoing, so if she’s fed and still really fussy, even if I’m holding her, it’s usually because she’s ready for a nap or to go to bed. When I hold her, she’ll put her head on my shoulder and rub her eyes and that’s my dead giveaway she wants to go to sleep.
Bedtime 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
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So, when I say she’s slept through the night, that means she might have woken up at the end of a sleep cycle or because she rolled over, but she didn’t wake up to the point of needing to be picked up or eat.
If you’re in Houston, please join me in two weeks (Saturday, July 30 from 11am – 1pm) at the Palais Royal in Meyerland at their Back to School Party! I’d love to meet you and it will be a blast, with a live DJ, refreshments, photo booth and pictures with the Texans mascot, Toro. My son is super excited for that! We’ll kill two birds with one stone because I can shop for his school uniform there too! Hope to see you there!