Before the babies were born hearing the word sleep training always sounded intimidating to me. The first thing that came to mind when I heard it is letting your baby “cry it out.” However, once I started reading, what seemed like, an endless amount of successful sleep training stories, articles and methods I knew we would find something that worked for our family.
Sleep training can seem a little overwhelming. There are so many ways it can be done, but I had no idea where to start. The most common sleep training guide I kept hearing about was Sleep Sense. I heard two, twin mama’s, preach about how wonderful it was for their family. (No, this guide is not just for twin families)
(I am in no way enforcing that this way is the best way to sleep train. Sleep training is not for every family, but this is what worked best for us! I have seen amazing results, and I wanted to share with everyone and hope you can benefit from this reading. I know there are a lot of tired mama’s out there (I was one of them) who need to be rested to be the best mama they can be 🙂 )
Sleep Sense recommends not to sleep train your baby until they are at least 12 pounds. This is usually when a baby does not need feedings during the night.
My babies were already sleeping through the night, prior to the transition into their cribs, so I knew they did not need a nighttime feeding. (They are 15 pounds)
If you are ready to sleep train your baby, but are not ready to cut your baby’s nighttime feeding out completely I would suggest 1 feeding if it is after 12 a.m.
When the babies were sleeping in our room, in their bassinet, they had been sleeping through the night since they were 2 months old. However, we were rocking them to sleep and knew that this was not a healthy routine.
Harlow went through a regression at 3.5 months old, while Myles was still sleeping through the night. She was waking up around 1 a.m. every night, without crying, but would wiggle around. This would shake the bassinet, waking Myles up. We let this go on for a few more weeks before we started discussing transitioning them into their cribs. (We originally wanted to wait until 6 months)
I wrestled around with the idea for a while, and thought about the pros and cons. While I was reading about the 4 month sleep regression I came across this. “The 4 month sleep regression is the most crucial time to adjust your babies sleep. (If you try and change your babies sleep associations when they are older, or during the 9,12 or 18 month regression it will be much more difficult.) This is when a baby will go from sleeping as a newborn to sleeping like an adult. Any sleep associations should be introduced at this time, and any negative associations should be removed at this time.”
The first thing I thought of when I read this was our negative sleep association, rocking them to sleep. We knew it was time to make the transition. Also, the babies were still napping in our basement, so I was not able to make any noise during nap time, and that was getting old.
We removed their full arm swaddles, and went to Love to Dreams next stage (50/50 swaddles) and they did awesome! The 50/50 swaddles allow the unswaddling transition to go very smoothly. The first night you unzip one arm while leaving the other one covered. If they do well the first night you take the other one out. Just like adults babies love blankets, and Myles loves holding onto his sleep sack. (Linked below)
We did decide to move the SnuggleMe beds with them into their cribs. We are doing a lot of traveling next month, and it makes the pack n play much more comfortable to sleep in. They sleep with a noise machine on the ocean setting. We have used this since the first night at home, and they love it! When they were sleeping in our room we turned that on and their eyes would start shutting almost immediately. It has a dim light on it, so it’s not pitch black in their room. Also, the light helps me to see during those first few months of late night nursing, without having to turn on a bright light that wakes them up. (Linked below)
When you begin sleep training make sure you start it at a time when you and your husband are available, you do not have a busy week ahead (because you want to remain as consistent as possible), and I would start on a weekend, so you don’t have to get up for work the next day!
I was expecting the worst the first night in their cribs, but Alex was only in their room twice, and that was just to put a pacifier in. We found it much easier to have the dad go in to soothe the babies. Especially if you’re breastfeeding they will smell your milk.
The next day they took a two hour long nap for the first time, and I could not believe it!
After a week in the crib we decided it was time to give up the pacifiers. Around 12 a.m. every night they were waking up because they had spit their pacifiers out, and just wanted it back in. This was not convenient for us, and we decided to get rid of them completely. Let me tell you, that was the best decision we ever made!!
Now that they did not have a pacifier when we laid them down they would cry, and we had to do a little bit of light sleep training.
The first night without their pacifiers was the hardest night, but from there it only got easier! We do not let them cry for more than 10 minutes before we go in to soothe them. (We just rub their head or their belly for 15 seconds and shush them) NEVER PICK UP YOUR BABY!
Nap time was the hardest for me to hear them cry. I just stared at the monitor and bawled. That ten minutes felt like an hour, but once they got to sleep they were taking 1.5 – 2 hour naps 3-4x/ day! However, if they nap for less than an hour I leave them up there and they usually will go back to sleep for at least another 30 minutes. If it is an hour or just over I will go and get them. Myles almost always wakes up before Harlow. (During nap time) I do not let them sleep for more than 20 mins longer than the other.
By the second day I remember the last nap they took that day neither of them made a peep and went right to sleep. Then the third day I felt like they had completely adjusted to life without a pacifier. They did start sucking their fingers or thumbs.
Now we are a week into no pacifiers and two weeks of sleeping in their cribs, and it is AMAZING! I get so much accomplished during nap time, and we are getting a full nights sleep again! Harlow hardly ever cries when I lay her down now, and Myles, will at the most, cry for 3 minutes.
This method of sleep training has changed our lives. We have taught our babies to put themselves to sleep which everyone will benefit from. We have completely removed all negative sleep associations. Most importantly I have noticed such a big change in our babies moods. They are less fussy, and so much happier when they wake up. Being on a consistent schedule has made our lives so much easier and I knew our babies craved a consistent routine.
Here is our bedtime routine (We do the same thing at nap time minus the bath) :
6:45 – Bath
7:00 – Nurse
7:15 – One or Two books (We always finish with Goodnight Moon)
– Kiss them goodnight
-Lay them down
-Turn the noise machine on
-Turn the lights off