Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Our Method of Sleep Training
I hate to brag but Annabel currently sleeps 12 hours at night, solid. I know I've read a lot of other people's blogs who say it's impossible to have a child that sleeps that long without getting up and crying at some point but I'm being 100% honest. Annika was the same way at 10 weeks, Annabel has taken a little while longer and is now 13 weeks sleeping that long.
We have never used the "cry it out" approach but we have had our methods that I thought I'd share. Of course, I do realize that this may not work with all kids. It may just be ours that are lazy girls that love their sleep. For those of you who have tried everything and still have kids that don't sleep through the night I really am sorry. I have no idea how you deal with it. I realize that we're extremely lucky with our girls.
Here are my tips and methods that I believe helped in getting the girls to sleep:
#1: First day home from hospital, at night time baby's sleep in their own crib. Period.
If the baby just ate and has a clean diaper and cries a little that's fine. If the crying lasts more than you can stand (for us it's about 5 minutes straight) then cuddle a few minutes while standing (do not sit and get comfortable), help calm down the baby and lay them back down in the crib. The baby has to be awake or at least semi-awake when you lay them in the crib. This helps them get use to falling asleep on their own. Use a swaddle if necessary (both girls were swaddled the first week or so).
I do know that some parent's like co-sleeping, not saying this is wrong, I just don't like it for us personally. I like my sleep too much to have someone sleep almost on top of me, which is what Annika does if she comes into my bed after she's had a nightmare.
#2: Establish day time and night time.
I mean this should be common sense but it can be hard at first. Our method went with tip #1, babies sleep at night in their crib but during the day naps are taken someplace else with lots of light. Annabel either takes daytime naps in her pack n play which is in our dining room area, in her bouncer in whatever room we happen to be in or in our arms. For us daytime is for cuddles and if she wants to fall asleep in our arms during the day that's fine.
#3: Live your life while baby sleeps.
I hear about parents tip toeing around while babies nap during the day. We don't do this. We live our life like we normally do. We have the TV on, or music playing or we talk in our normal voices. We are not quiet because Annabel has decided to sleep in the middle of the day on the floor while we were playing with Annika. We did this same thing with Annika and now she can fall asleep anywhere, with any amount of noise if she's tired. Yesterday I actually vacuumed our floors while Annabel napped in her bouncer and even vacuumed directly underneath her without her waking up!
#4: Silence during night time feedings.
Yes I did just say in tip #3 to make noise and do what you normally do during the day but at night it's different. When Annabel and Annika used to wake up at night I had a strict routine with them. First I unzip their sleep sack and unsnap whatever they have on underneath, then I change their diaper, then I pick them up and fed them their bottle, burp and then lay them back down in the crib. I do all of this without saying a single word. I like to think of it as letting them know that I am not willing to play at this time, it's night time, we're strictly business! I know that tiny babies can't make it through the night without eating at least once or twice so I do not believe in letting a tiny newborn "cry it out". But this method of not talking works, after each time Annabel would take a bottle she'd lay right back down and go back to sleep.
So like I said, I know these tips wouldn't work for everyone but for us it does. According to Josh's sister she thinks a lot of it has to do with how relaxed both Josh and I have always been with the girls. We aren't tense people, we don't jump up every time one of the girls makes a tiny little noise. We really are pretty easy going when it comes to everything with the girls and that seems to work best for us.
And here is the daddy's girl: