If you haven’t read my post on “WHY I DID SLEEP TRAINING AND WILL DO IT AGAIN“, it is a must read! It is important to know WHY you are doing sleep training, before you start. It is important to have the goal in mind, because this is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do!
I had done a lot of research on cry it out techniques. I knew that I wanted to do some form of sleep training earlier rather than later. I’ve read in so many places that it is much easier on the baby if you do it as early as you can. With that in mind, you also have to make sure your baby is old enough to self soothe. Most research says anywhere from 4-6months is ideal.
At our 4 month appointment with the pediatrician, our doctor brought it up. They recommended doing it at 4 months and said that it would get drastically harder at 6 months. They recommended the full extinction method. You do not enter the room at all and said that it would take roughly 3/4 nights. With this they also recommended doing cry it out for any middle of the night feeds as well since she was old enough and weighed enough to no longer need them.
Up until this point we had been helping our daughter put herself to sleep. I made sure during the first 3 months that I was not nursing her to sleep. We nursed, but then we’d have quiet awake time and do her bedtime routine.
Her bedtime routine is simple and short. I don’t want it to be too involved.
- Close the curtains
- Put on nighttime diaper and clothes
- Put on sleepsack (swaddle 1-3 months)
- Read a story
- Put the sound machine on
- Months 1-3 we would then bounce her to sleep and lay her down
- Hold her for quiet time until she yawns (which happens fairly quickly)
- Lay her down awake and walk out
Our sleep training included getting her to put herself to sleep for bedtime as well as any middle of the night wakings. I put her to bed at 7:15pm and didn’t go in again until 7am. We went all in and ditched the swaddle at this time as well. She was currently waking once in the middle of the night. She had been doing so for a couple of months, but the last month she wasn’t really asking for food anymore, I was simply feeding her to make it easy to get her back to sleep. We also did cry it out for naps at this time, which was super easy to incorporate since we had done so much work with our NAP TRAINING!
Here’s how cio (cry it out) went for us:
Keep in mind that when I say “cried for x min” she wasn’t crying the ENTIRE time. These were never hysterical screams, just slightly upset cries that were off and on. Sometimes she was not crying but just awake more than she was crying, and many times she was just fussing.
Day 1: cried off and on for 1 hour, then slept for 30 min, cried for 15 min, slept for 45 min, cried for 20 min, slept until 530am, cried for 30 min, slept until I woke her
Day 2: cried for 15 min, slept ALL night until 7am
Day 3: cried for 20 min, slept ALL night until 7am
Day 4: cried for 20 min, slept until 3:16am, up crying off and on for 1 hour, slept until I woke her
Day 5: cried for 20 min, slept until 5:15am, cried for 10 min, slept until I woke her
Day 6: cried for 45 min (this was out of the ordinary so we went in and picked her up, she burped and fell asleep pretty much immediately), slept until 6:15am, cried for 15 min, slept until I woke her
Day 7: cried for 30 min (we had decided to go in every 10 min at this point because we thought the training should have been done by now and were having a hard time handling it), slept until 12:50am, cried for 10 min, slept until I woke her
*Note: when we went in every 10 min: it made things worse! She was instantly happy and smiling and giggling…meaning she was fine. Us going in the room simply prolonged everything.
Day 8, 9, 10: cried for 15 min, woke at 5:30 (no crying), I flipped her onto her belly and she slept until I woke her
Day 11: cried for 30 min, slept ALL night until 7 am
Day 12: cried for 10 min, slept ALL night until 7 am
Day 13: cried for 15 min, slept ALL night until 7 am
Day 14: cried for 10 min, up at 8:10pm for about an hour of awake time no crying, slept ALL night until 7am
Day 15: cried for 10 min, slept ALL night until 7 am
Day 16: asleep in 1 min, slept until 3am, up for an hour of fussing, then slept until I woke her
Day 17: asleep in 8 min (no crying), slept ALL night until 7 am
Day 18, 19, 20: no crying, slept ALL night until 7 am
I stopped keeping track after day 20. She puts herself to sleep with little to no crying. If she’s had an off day, or if she is in a wonder week, things can take a bit longer, but she puts herself to sleep no problem! She sleeps ALL NIGHT LONG! She is well rested and so happy in the mornings. If she is sick or teething I plan on helping her get to sleep and not worrying about her sleep training at those times.
This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I am so glad I had a video monitor so I could at least watch her. I don’t think I would have been able to do this without the video monitor. I am so glad we did this though. She knows how to put herself to sleep and does so better than me!
We also did cio for naps at the same time. The entire 20 days….she never took longer than 5 min to put herself to sleep for a nap! I would highly recommend doing this at the same time so they don’t get confused.
I called my pediatrician around day 6 or so wondering what was wrong…why we weren’t done. They were so impressed that she was only crying or fussing for 15 min! I also joined the cio group on facebook… I listened to other mama’s experiences and realized that it usually takes a long time…not 3 days! It is long and hard to accomplish, but it works! Talking to other mamas was a huge help. My husband was amazingly supportive and helpful to me, but at the end of the day…sometimes only another mama understands the heartache this causes us. Three of us formed a little chat group and messaged each other every night. We kept each other strong. I am so glad we did this. She is happy and healthy and has good sleep habits now that will last her a lifetime! I honestly wish my parents would have done cio with me, as I am a horrible sleeper! They did cio with my sister…and guess what…she sleeps great! 🙂