First, I want to say that each mom knows what’s best for her baby, and sleep training may not be for everyone! YOU DO YOU, mama. I want to share my story about how I survived and how getting my baby to sleep changed my whole life.
For 9 months, my baby did not really sleep. And when she did sometimes sleep, she was up every 1-2 hours. Towards the end, she woke up every sleep cycle in 45 minute increments like clockwork. I tried everything over the months…swaddle, no swaddle, crib, co sleeping, acid reflux meds, crib wedge, sleep sack, sleep suit…you name it. You guys, I lost my mind. I had to quit my job because I could not function like a normal human being. I was so incredibly desperate, and sad, and drained, and barely surviving. I remember sobbing on the stairs while my husband slept and my baby scream cried at me and I felt so helpless. I was a total mess.
Since my little one was a preemie and born at 4lbs, I was hesitant to try sleep training too soon, since she only ate 2oz at a time until 7 months. We tried a few different sleep training methods, and I couldn’t make them work (no consistency, because I was tired and desperate for her to stop crying.) I read books, I googled, I prayed, I researched…I feel like I did everything! Finally my friend recommended a method she used and when my daughter hit a healthy weight, I followed her instructions to an absolute tee! We used the Ferber method and did incremental checks of 5,10,15 minutes, staying consistent all night long every time she woke. I was always against cry it out…so much so that I swore I would never do it. That is, until I realized that my little girl was getting more harm from NOT sleeping than she would from crying. She needed the rest to be able to work on the developmental leaps she was conquering! But waking up every hour was not giving her time to do this, and she was already slightly behind due to her being a preemie.
How can a baby recharge and learn how to crawl and walk and talk and grow if they don’t know HOW to relax and recharge?
So I hunkered down, tracked her sleep to the minute with a handmade little chart, and stared sleep training because I had no other choice if I wanted all of us to function. I committed to it and took a huge leap of faith.
The first few nights were rough, but we stayed very consistent. I had to put on headphones while she cried and while I cried, reminding myself that my little girl needs to learn to put herself to sleep because if not, she will not develop healthy sleep patterns and can’t progress 🙁 We made sure it was dark, had white noise, and the room was a comfortable temperature. We did a routine, a decent bedtime of 7:45- which I always avoided because I ‘knew’ she wouldn’t sleep long if we put her down that early. But it is actually recommended to put them down between 7- 8 because it helps them sleep longer.) We shushed, patted her, left, and repeat…and every time she woke, we started over. My friend coached me via text and my sweet husband traded off incremental minute checks with me.
I watched her on the monitor and sobbed you guys! It was quite the nightmare the first few days. But, my Lucy went from crying for 98 minutes to 0 minutes in 3 weeks time. All while going through this, I started following this amazing sleep consultant’s blog, called Little Dreamers (https://www.littledreamers.us/blog-1). Her name is Marietta and her blog has SO many tips from appropriate schedules to naptime to how to survive a vacation with crazy schedules! Every post is so insightful and is GOLD to a sleep deprived mother. One of my favorite things about her, is she hold free Q&A’s every Tuesday at 8pm on her Instagram and Facebook live. I’ve submitted questions that she has answered, but I also watch it every week when I don’t submit questions just to catch tips on different sleep problems I’m sure I’ll encounter in the future! Please go check her out. You guys, I promise this is not a sponsored post or anything, I just really want every exhausted mom to know there are amazing resources out like Little Dreamers to help guide you in your sleep troubles! She also offers different sleep packages and a free 15 minute phone call for mamas to talk about her packages with you. She is a licensed Family Therapist and knows her stuff. I’m a little bit obsessed with her and her knowledge…can you tell?
The first night I slept longer than like 4 hours, I cried. I couldn’t believe it. My life now has done a 180! I now sleep a solid 8 hours because my wonderful baby has learned to sleep for 12 hours straight. She can wake up in the middle of the night, turn over, and go back to sleep! I am ME again. Me and my husband can have actual conversations. I can walk upstairs and take the monitor with me. I can take a breather and relax. I can DO THINGS!!!! I can take a bath for crying out loud. I now know these things are vital to my sanity…SLEEP is vital for both mothers and babies. It makes us much happier in the long run. Happy baby=Happy mama.
I’m totally happy to answer any questions you have about my experience.
And PLEASE to all you moms struggling with your babe’s sleep: go drop everything you’re doing and look up Little Dreamers right now!
Here is a direct link to her blog: https://www.littledreamers.us/blog-1
Her instagram: @littledreamers.us
And here is her facebook messenger link to learn more about other free resources: https://m.me/littledreamers.us?ref=w2829632
Good luck and good night mamas!
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