Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sleep Training

I've talked on the blog a bit about how we had sleep issues with Harry until a few weeks ago. Starting when he was about eight and a half months he stopped sleeping through the night consistently. Then he stopped going to bed at his normal time and was up until ten or eleven every night, and would wake up a few hours later.

While I am a total night owl, staying up until three a.m. every night with a fussy baby was a nightmare. Something had to be done. So we went to the library and checked out The Sleep Easy Solution by Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack.


The Sleep Easy Solution is basically modified cry it out (CIO). CIO is very controversial these days, and I can't say I'm a fan of the method. I know it has worked for many families but true CIO would be a very last resort for me.

Since the Sleep Easy Solution isn't true CIO I was interested in seeing what the book had to say. I was very pleased with what I read! Here are a few key points that really resonated with me.
  • Pick a bedtime and stick with it. We majorly failed this one. We figured he wasn't tired, but in fact he was probably over tired by the time he finally fell asleep. 
  • Fill the crib with pacifiers. This one sounded kind of silly, but it totally makes sense. Having five or six pacis at his disposal makes it easy for him to find one so he can soothe himself back to sleep. 
  • Encourage your baby to become attached to a lovey or security blanket. Harry's is a monkey I named Ron ;)
  • Put your baby in the crib awake. Did you catch that? Put your baby in the crib awake. We used to be awesome at doing this. And Harry was awesome at sleeping through the night. Then we started rocking him to sleep more and more and he slept through the night less and less. Notice a pattern?
We started  the Sleep Easy Solution on August 29th. The first night was surprisingly easy. Unfortunately the following two weeks weren't so easy. The first week we'd go in after two minutes of crying. The book recommends waiting ten minutes, but that was too long for me. A few nights during the second week we waited five minutes before going in, but that's as long as I would go. He never cried for longer than 15 minutes total each night.

After about two weeks it clicked for Harry and he stopped crying at all when we left his room. Success! Ever since it's been smooth sailing at bedtime (knock on wood).

So, why did we need to sleep train in the first place? When Harry learned to pull himself up in his crib it was ridiculously hard to get him to fall asleep. As soon as we put him in the crib he'd stand up. So, I started rocking him to sleep in my arms and then transferring him to the crib. That's right around the time he stopped sleeping through the night. How come? Well, wouldn't you freak out if you woke up in a different place from where you fell asleep? That was our biggest faux paux. He still wakes up during the night on occasion but never cries and falls back asleep after a few minutes of playing with his pacifier.

I highly recommend every parent read the Sleep Easy Solution. Even if you're against any form of CIO, it offers a lot of valuable insight into the sleep habits of babies and toddlers.


And of course Harry didn't sleep through the night last night. How's that for ironic? He was super stuffed up yesterday so I figured he'd have a rough night. Poor baby, hope today's easier on him!

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this, Lindsey! Caleb is doing a lot of what Harry was doing (falling asleep late, wouldn't go to sleep without me holding him, etc). I think it's time to start some method of sleep training, but I was at a loss as to what to do since I can't do CIO. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I hope you can find something that works for him soon! This method wasn't "easy" for me, but is very gentle compared to other methods out there. And, it worked! Except for last night b/c he's getting sick. But, it was pretty easy getting him to fall back asleep after he woke up. Good luck!

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