Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sleep training

This wasn't something I expected to do already but about 2 weeks ago, we started the CIO (cry it out ) method with Collins. It had gotten to the point where she would squirm and not even want us to rock her (this was so sad and hard on me) and if she did let us rock her to sleep, she would wake up 20 min. after we laid her down. I would too if I fell asleep in my mommy or daddy's arms and woke up alone in a dark room. We had started letting her sleep on her belly because that was the only way we could get her to sleep. When she would wake up, she would immediately flip to her back and then get pissed because she was obviously still tired and also wanted back on her stomach but couldn't roll back to tummy yet. Obviously when we decided to let her sleep on her belly, we took the swaddle away. That transition wasn't so bad. We moved to a sleep sack instead and she liked laying on her belly with her arms stretched out. So between fighting going to sleep and then waking up all.night.long, we knew we had to do something.  
On a random Wednesday when she was fighting her morning nap, I decided to try and let her put herself to sleep.   It took about an hour of me going in every 5 min. and giving her the binky, rolling her over and telling her she was ok and I loved her.  Technically, your supposed to increase the amount of time before going in to soothe them but the 5 min. about killed me so I wasn't going over that. She finally crashed and slept 45 min. For her 2nd nap of the day, I only had to go in there 1 time before she fell asleep. That first night went good too. I think we only had to go in there 1 time before she fell asleep and after her early morning feed, I don't think she fought it at all. This was amazing since usually it took me an hour to get her back to sleep after that feeding.
The next day we had her 4 month well visit so I asked her pediatrician if it was ok that we let her CIO or if she was too young. She said this was actually the perfect age to start it because they are learning to self soothe at this age and as long as long as we weren't letting her cry for hours, she thought it was a great idea. She did say that they're at the highest risk for SIDS from 4-6 months so if we were going to teach her to self soothe, we should try and get her to do it on her back. Well that scared the heck out of me so we started laying her on her back when we would put her down. Her sound machine has a projector so we turned that on and she would watch that for awhile before getting fussy. We gave in a few times and flipped her to her tummy but now, she falls asleep on her back and stays like that usually all night. Sometimes she will roll to her side and sleep but  rarely do we have to go in there and flip her to her tummy. Which the stinker can roll from her back to her stomach but when she fusses to be rolled over, she isn't even all the way awake so I think she's just too out of it to roll herself.
I'm so glad we started this sleep training early. Now we just put her in her sleep sack , turn her sound machine and projector on and walk away. She usually talks or fusses and plays with her binky but she almost always goes to sleep without us having to go in there.  I'm considering putting binkies all around her bed because that's always the reason we have to go in there, if we do. She can grab it and put it in her mouth but if she can't find it, she gets mad. She doesn't normally suck on it, she just likes to hold it or suck on it for a couple minutes before spitting it out.  We went out of town last weekend so I was nervous how she would do in a new place and in her pack in play. She woke up a couple times the first night but I just had to move her back to the middle of the pack in play and give her the binky and she would go back to sleep. We have black out curtains in her room so I was nervous she wouldn't nap good in a bright room but she amazed us and went right to sleep for her naps and did much better the second night. phew! We can still travel :)

I'm so glad this has been such a smooth transition. It was something I dreaded since she was a newborn and I remember trying to sleep train the twins around 6 months and it was brutal. They had gotten in the habit of sleeping in their swing or being rocked to sleep and I knew I didn't want to get into that habit. Don't get me wrong, I don't see anything wrong with rocking a baby to sleep and would have done it a little longer with Collins but when nap/bed time becomes a huge battle, that's where I draw the line. Now she knows where she falls asleep is exactly where she will wake up. And occasionally she will wake up, look around and remember where she is and then fall back asleep. 
I few things that I think have really helped with this transition:
  sound machine/projector

I turn the projector off once she falls asleep but I leave the sound on all night.
Video monitor
If she starts crying, I can see if she needs me or if she is ok. I also like being able to see her and know for sure if she is asleep or just being quiet without having to go into the room.
Breathable Bumpers
I was sad to take her cute bumper out of the crib but I didn't want her to suffocate in them. We tried not having any bumpers but she would roll and bang her head on the crib or get an arm stuck so we got this breathable bumper. It's padded enough that she won't bump her head but it's safe if she puts her face up against it. Target has really cute designs so you can still have a cute bumper. I plan on putting her big one back in when she's older.
Sleep Sack
We use this instead of using blankets.
I am by know means an expert on sleep training but I wanted to share what worked for us.  I already miss rocking my baby but she sleeps so much better now and we're all happy that nap and bedtimes aren't a huge ordeal anymore. Occasionally she will fall asleep when she nurses so I use this time to get my snuggles in. If she falls asleep eating, she wakes up when I burp her or lay her in her crib so she sees that she's in her crib and she can go back to sleep. Now I just pray teething doesn't mess this all up.

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