How I Helped My Baby To Sleep Through The Night
Ok, so I want to start by saying that I KNOW, SLEEP “TRAINING” sounds AWFUL! I KNOW!! I thought the same thing, up until I became a mom and I understood how things work with babies. When we say or hear the word “training” it sounds like something that we would use on dogs or any sort of pets from the Zoo or even Circus. But, it’s nothing like that at all.
My little boy is 21 months now and I am writing this article very confident that a desperate parent will use my tips and tricks and trust me that they WORK. Why? Because my son sleeps through the night between 12-14 hours a night since he was 5 months old. F I V E!!!!
Being a first time mom I didn’t know much, I only knew how to love and use my instinct. If my baby was crying, definitely I was picking him up, and so did my husband. We would NEVER but NEVER let him cry. I have no degree in science, but I do know that babies ALWAYS cry because of a reason, and reasons can be sooo many. One main reason can be that they need comfort, security, they need a warm body to lay on, they need their mommy, they have been in the womb for so long that the world seems so wild and cold to them. I do believe firmly that letting a baby scream it can be traumatic. Therefore, I want to mention that the “let it cry out” method to me is like the Chinese water torture, where slowly but sure the “victim” is damaged.
A lot of people, PARENTS actually, think that holding your baby “too much” can lead to whiney, dependent, and failed human beings. I think it’s the opposite. Raising babies/children in a safe environment, where they feel loved and happy, leads to healthy, strong, independent and beautiful human beings! Humans that later in life have no frustrations, no issues with self esteem and they can easily pass their love and happiness.
When people are selfish (and I am not trying to offend anyone) and say “it’s too much” or “they’ve been crying for days” or “I need my life back” or “it’s ok, they will stop crying at some point and fall asleep” , literally makes me cry! I can’t imagine watching a movie in the living room with a bowl of popcorn and laugh while my baby screams for at least an hour in the bedroom!
I am not a specialist! At all! I can assure you though that I am a mother that would never harm her baby, mentally or physically. So, let’s get started. I will tell you what I did and how it worked.
So, I was already from day one very tired. Monroe had a really hard time with latching and so, because I didn’t want to give him formula, I decided to pump as much as I could, day and night. Monroe was a great baby, really laid-back, he really was waking up only when he needed to. He never had colics, or I don’t think he had, we would have known. He had reflux though, and so he was spitting up a lot and feeding took longer because he was having a sip, and had to be burped, a few more sips and burp him again. IT WAS EXHAUSTING! Waking up at night to feed, burp the baby, comfort the baby, change the baby, rock the baby, sing, kiss, cuddle, put the baby to bed. Mommy/daddy went to bed. Mommy up again to pump. And so on. You guys know.
They say that when babies are past the newborn phase (passed 3 months old) things start to get better. Well, I guess. Never really noticed a change in our case. We had moments when we were holding him at 3 am, rock him, after he was being fed, changed, burped, all of it, then put him in his crib. I was laying down, and he was waking up that immediate second. And sometimes this could last for A LONG TIME. But, I knew that it’s normal for this to happen.
At 4 months old I remember that the sleep regression happened! It was all coming back, after he was finally learning to sleep and be content while doing that, he was up and about all over again. Then the “witching hour” which means that at around 7:45 pm (7:45 in our case) after he was being bathed, fed and all of that, he was falling asleep and after 30 minutes he was AWAKE and crying!!!! Well, that stopped very soon!
I do want to mention that, overall, Monroe was a blessing from day one, I mean, I hear all the time about babies/toddlers that do not sleep for some reason, they wake up at least 4-5 times a night or they don’t take naps!
The best thing that we can give to our babies, besides LOVE, SAFETY, TIME, PATIENCE, MILK, is a healthy R O U T I N E! Sleep training mind sound rough, but they need help with learning things.
Setting Up A Schedule!
Babies and toddlers need a routine because that’s what reinforces that idea of security, in their home and wherever they are. Babies had a routine in the womb, everyday things were happening the same way.
I remember after our first visit with the pediatrician, when he said “when you put Monroe down for a nap during the day, make sure that there is a lot of light in the room, live normal, make noise, speak with normal voice and tone; when he goes to bed at night, make it as dark as possible, create a routine for him, quiet, maybe put some lullabies, but make sure that the baby does not get night-day confusion”. And so we did.
He got to that point when he knew when is day and when is night! That wasn’t the issue!
He had a “routine” since we brought him home! He had a bath, massage, pajamas, prayer, lullabies, I remember that I sang to him EVERY NIGHT for one year, the “ABC’S” before bed, and other songs, but mostly that song.
How We Did It
I am not going to get into a STRICT routine from the moment he was waking up (unless someone wants to know it, so if you do, please let me know).
BUT, I remember that, one evening my husband came home from work and I was on the couch, PUMPING, and I was ANXIOUS to tell him what we will have to do from now on and how it’s going to work for us, so we can all sleep and enjoy life! To me this was harder because I had to wake up every 3 hours to pump, so I had to figure out something!
First of all, we should ALL understand that babies need MORE SLEEP than we adults do! Babies/toddlers/children. No matter how much we try to “sleep train” our children, if they are overtired, then this is a SUCCESS for DISASTER! If we think about it, babies before they came to the world they SLEPT A LOT in the womb, so this is already in their system, we just need to know how to RESPECT THEIR NEEDS, and give that to them, OUTSIDE THE WOMB!
So, our babies need A SCHEDULE! Day and Night! Wake up in the morning, change diaper, feed, play, NAP, wake up, diaper changed, feed, play, NAP! Now, of course if your baby is 5 months old they might nap more often and for shorter time, but as they grow, they nap LONGER, but less naps! Which is great!
After the schedule has been set in STONE, and the night comes, you put your sweet baby in his crib, after you pray for them, kiss their face, their cheeks, their nose, their little hands and little toes, after you sing that lullaby for the 2746464 time, turn the white noise machine (if you don’t have one, I totally suggest it, we had one since Monroe was 4 months old), turn the lights off, shut the door and RUUUUUUN!
SO, how we did it!? Let’s say he was waking up and we were in the living room, it was probably 7:45 at night! I let him make noises for 1-3 minutes, then I sent my husband in (I put a TIP down below why I sent my husband and I didn’t go Immediately; I was going AFTER my husband) I told him to MAKE SURE he comforts him, we already knew that he was FED, CLEAN, COMFORTED, NOT SICK, just had the anxiety of not feeling MAMA close, or had a hard time falling asleep!!! Just go inside the room, DO NOT TURN THE LIGHTS ON, touch them on their head, or their tummy, kiss them on their head, LET THEM KNOW THEY KNOW YOU ARE THERE, and SHUSH them “IT’S OK, MOMMY/DADDY IS HERE, I LOVE YOU MY SWEET BABY, YOU ARE SO LOVED”,
Pick them up only if it’s needed! NOW, I don’t want a bunch of haters here, because I HELD MY BABY NON STOP! I am for sure saying to hold them if they need you, iF they are sick, or if they cry a lot, but if you put them down and they don’t cry, that means they are OKAY!!!!
Then LEAVE the room! They will for sure wake up again in a bit, if they don’t, praise the Lord! If they do, repeat the process you just did!
OF course, if they need a diaper change, that’s going to have to happen, and you might want to get a little lamp in the room!
Monroe slept with us in the room, in his crib, until he turned ONE!
This entire “training” lasted probably THREE DAYS!!!!! It worked for us! BUT, a routine means that you have to do the same thing every day/night in the same order and at the same hour! It’s hard! BUT, not impossible! My kid is almost 2 and he sleeps amazing! Of course, there are good and bad days! If you feel like you need more “help”, even though I am not a sleep consultant, let me know, I would love to share more!!!!
TIP 1: Breastfed babies can smell their moms, because of the hormones. So make sure daddy goes into the room when you are OUTSIDE the room!
TIP 2 : Also a tip for breastfeeding moms, when they sleep at night and you sleep in the same room with them, smelling you, IT’S A COMFORT for them, that sooths them, makes them sleep PEACEFUL and more SAFE!
TIP 3: What I did up until he turned one year old, was to offer him a “dream feed”, which is, getting the baby from his/her bed, and either put the breast nipple/bottle nipple into their mouth and FEED THEM. They won’t even notice, and that will make them sleep longer. Sometimes he was sleeping so deep that I was also changing his diaper and he had no idea (and he was 8-9 months old).
TIP 4: When you rock your sweet angel to put them to bed, make sure then when you put them down, they are not sleeping already, but they’re drowsy and aware that they are being placed in the crib, or else they will wake up in 10 minutes crying and not knowing where they are (they remember that they fell asleep in your arms.)
TIP 5 : GET A WHITE NOISE MACHINE!!!!! Or a sound machine with white noise.
TIP 6 : When they understand when it’s day and when it’s night, they can go to bed during the day for a nap, WITH DARKNESS IN THEIR ROOM!
1. “What is sleep regression?” Some pediatricians say it’s either a growth spurt and that can keep the babies up for a longer period of time, OR they just go back to the newborn phase when they simply stay awake (especially at night, because we alllll know that EVERYTHING HAPPENS AT NIGHT, lol).
2. You can still “sleep train” and have your child sleep in the same room with you. Keep the routine as per usual and when you go to bed make sure…you go to bed!!!! :)))