Getting your baby to sleep through the night. Oh, man! Googling every parent website, posting questions in mom groups, debating whether spending a lot of money on hiring a sleep expert is worth it, buying all the swaddles that promise better sleep after 2 nights-these are all things we think about and consider when baby is waking up every 45 minutes. You become desperate for sleep. I was also suffering with my mental health due to lack of sleep. I knew if I didn’t change something quick, that I was susceptible to some pretty intense postpartum depression. Once my son was sleeping more and in his own room, I knew my mental state would improve, and so would everyone else’s.
What you find out when you’re desperate for sleep is that there really is no magic potion, swaddle, or crib accessory. What you find out is that it’s a lot of hard work- being consistent and not throwing in the towel too soon are key.
I agonized over whether to “sleep train” our son for what seemed like a century. When we finally decided to do it, we waited until he was 5 months old and rolling over. The doctor had also advised us that this was an okay time to start sleep training. I had read all the articles telling me varying opinions. With our first child, we didn’t sleep train in any fashion. I had severe PPD, and the one night we attempted to sleep train, I felt like my heart was going to break into bits. So, we approached our son with caution, knowing that if I couldn’t take it, we would stop. After a lot of research, we decided on the Ferber Method. You can read about various sleep training methods here.
My amazing, supportive husband offered to start the sleep training for us on a night I was going out with my friends. That way I wouldn’t hear any sort of protest from our son. Much to our surprise, there wasn’t a whole lot of crying. We followed a graph from the Ferber Method that told us when to go in and soothe our son. The time between soothing got longer as the days progressed. I don’t think we ever went past 10 minutes of tears. Once he was asleep, he slept for 4 hours straight the first night. We were over-joyed! Not only were we going to get more sleep, but our son was also going to get more sleep, which we know is crucial for devleopment.
His sleeping has only gotten better in the last two months. He is now 7 months old, and there are nights when he still wakes up twice a night, but there are also nights when he sleeps through the night, and I think it will only get better.
Here are a few tips that made sleep training easier:
- We blocked out all sunlight from his room. We covered his widow with a thick blanket. Room darkening curtains just didn’t seem dark enough for our Southern-facing window.
- We got a continuous sound machine. We used the Marpac Rohm. It doesn’t turn off and it’s rechargeable.
- We made sure the crib was free of blankets, bumpers, pillows and toys. This is a must for sleep safety.
- We used a muslin cotton sleep sack from Bebéaulait. It is light and breathable. You can put this on over your little one’s pajamas.
- Baby monitor. You don’t need anything fancy. We just have the VTech one-it’s enough to hear when baby needs you.
One thing I want to be sure to say is, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just because you keep hearing of parents whose baby slept through the night from day one, doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong or that there is something wrong with your baby.
We all operate at different paces and are not the same. Getting your baby to sleep through the night is not as easy as some folks make it seem, and remember there are many ways to sleep train. If one option doesn’t work for you, then try another until you find one that fits your family’s needs. You’re doing great. Your baby will sleep through the night eventually.
When did your baby sleep through the night? Which method of sleep training did you use?