Everyone told me. They said “sleep when the baby sleeps”, “you don’t realize how little sleep you can actually function with until you have a baby”, “mine didn’t sleep through the night until they were a year old”. They told me. I of course, thought “nope, mine will be different”. Yeah, ok. Our little one is 5 months old and he has yet to sleep through the night (except for that one time when he was a couple of weeks old and it was a fluke, and of course I was up 27 times checking on him). 5 months in and this momma is exhausted. So, for the past few weeks, I have been trying to sleep train our infant.
It’s exhausting just trying to research and pick a method for sleep training.
There are so many methods out there. Cry it out, don’t cry it out, put them in their own bed, co-sleep, swaddle, don’t swaddle…it’s exhausting just trying to research and pick a method for sleep training. So, I decided not to use any of them.
I tried really hard when our little one was about 6 weeks old to get him on a schedule. That lasted about 2 days, I was miserable and cranky, he was miserable and cranky. It just didn’t work. He eats every two to three hours, the schedule I was trying to follow called for feeding him every 4 hours. He takes a long nap in the morning and a long nap in the afternoon, the schedule called for 4 short naps. I gave up, I decided, if he was happy eating every 2 hours, so be it.
Fast forward, a few months later and we had absolutely no routine. This momma needs routine. So, I began researching sleep training. Every method that I have found seems rigid, none of them seemed right for us. If there is one thing I have learned since becoming a mom it’s that you have to be flexible. Each sleep training method did have one thing in common, a bedtime routine. Something we were lacking. While we haven’t mastered sleeping through the night yet, we are working on a better daily routine. It has given me a little more sanity and a little more ability to plan our day. I can plan work around his naps and feeding schedule, and I can start dinner before he wakes up to eat (most days). There seems to be a little more routine, and therefore, order in our house.
There seems to be a little more routine, and therefore order in our house.
I have found that having somewhat of a routine has also resulted in a happier baby. He doesn’t get overtired as much and he isn’t starving before it’s time to eat. Sleep training for us doesn’t look like it does for most, it doesn’t look like a specific method, instead it looks like working toward a daily routine.
One of the most important parts of this daily routine has been creating a bedtime routine. Before we started researching sleep training, we didn’t really have a bedtime routine. Sometimes we would put our little one down at 7, sometimes he would go down at 11. Now that we have started sleep training, we start his bedtime routine at 6 each night.
Our little one’s bedtime routine consists of:
A bath -on nights that we don’t give him a bath, I give him a sponge bath
Lotion/Massage-He loves to have his feet and legs massaged with lotion
Clean diaper and onesie -Not that it’s warmer weather, I put him in a onesie. During the cooler months, I would dress him in PJ’s
Story time-Either my husband or I read to our little one every night. Sometimes my husband reads him Bible stories, sometimes he reads to him out of his college textbooks. I prefer children’s story books. Either way, he loves to be read to and will give you his undivided attention!
Rocking-My husband or I rock our little one each night, we may not rock him in the rocker every night. Some nights, we just hold him on our chest and bounce him. We make sure that he has some sort of skin to skin contact each night right before bed time.
Sleep- While he is still slightly awake, we lay him down in his crib. We try to make sure he is in his crib by 7 PM each night. This gives us a few hours alone and gives him a few hours in his crib. Although we haven’t fully transitioned him to sleeping in his crib each night (he sleeps during the night in a pack and play by our bed, simply for feeding convenience) this time, along with nap time during the day gives him time to sleep in his crib and hopefully won’t make the transition to sleeping during the night in his crib as difficult.