Again, a HUGE thank you to all of the mamas that participated in the Real Mom’s, Real Stories- Sleeping Through the Night Series!
This is my story.
Caroline was 4 months old when she consistently slept through the night (7pm to 7am).
We achieved this using Babywise methods and sleep training.
I’ll try to keep this simple and to the point!
From day 1 we started by establishing a schedule. We fed every 2 hours as our doctor had wanted (since Caroline was born at 37 weeks). We woke her during the day and during the night, because they wanted her to get a kick start on her nutrition and needed her to gain weight.
At our 2 week appointment, we got the go ahead to allow her to sleep at night. We continued waking her during the day to help establish day versus night, but let her sleep as long as she would at night. During the day we opened the curtains and tried to make sure she knew it was day time and time to be awake. We followed eat, wake, sleep cycles the best we could at this age, and established a routine. By the 4 week mark, she was only waking once in the middle of the night. We transferred her to her crib at 6 weeks.
In the second month, Caroline digressed a bit, and started waking twice a night. We started cluster feeding at night to help this. We made sure to not feed her right away if she woke in the middle of the night. We would start by trying to help her get back to sleep, then checking her diaper, then feeding. This helped her push out the times and get used to not feeding right away. I also sent Daddy in a lot so she wouldn’t see me and immediately want to nurse.
At around the 10 week time frame, we tried something called wake to sleep. Simply put you are disrupting a sleep cycle in the hopes that they will start another one and sleep longer. We were able to drop the second feeding this way fairly quickly. We felt the need to do this because once Caroline was up for the second middle of the night feed, she was so hard to get back to sleep. The only way I was successful was to hold her and co-sleep. I did not want to carry on like that for too long and create a bad habit. So glad we found the wake to sleep idea!
During her 3rd month, Caroline was only waking once in the middle of the night. She was not asking for food, just needed help resettling. I fell into the trap of feeding her anyway, because her and I both got to sleep faster this way. I know if I would have worked harder during this month we could have extended the time out and dropped it in a more natural way.
When month 4 rolled around, we decided to try our hand at sleep training. We mostly wanted to do this because Caroline was being rocked to sleep still. We did our best at getting her drowsy and immediately putting her down in her crib, but she always woke and we’d have to repeat the process several times. We put in a lot of hard work with this, but at the end of the day, she still needed some help learning to self soothe. At 4 months we did CIO. In one night she dropped the middle of the night feeding, and in 2 weeks she was putting herself to sleep without a sound.
If you’d like more detail on our personal experiences, please see the below links: