Babies and children crave routine. I too crave routine as a structural person. When I first started staying home with Little Guy, we had a huge lack of routine. He also started eating solids and teething all at the same time which disrupted his sleep too.
We were frustrated, exhausted parents. Little Guy would wake up at 11pm and again at 3am. Since I stayed home, I was the one who would roll out of bed all bleary-eyed and take care of him. For WEEKS we didn’t know what to do.
I’m not an expert or doctor. This is just what worked for us! I love sharing any life hack, baby hack, or whatever it may be with you to make your life easier! If you want more info, see your pediatrician or look online. My favorite resource is Baby Center.
We Asked Everyone With Kids… Does Your Baby Sleep Through the Night?
The answer for most was “yes!” and for several it was a hard “no”. Finally D discovered someone who had taken their child to a sleep therapy session. They had no luck with the sleep therapy session, as their follow-through was nonexistent. But for us, it worked like a dream. *And we didn’t have to pay the big bucks to go see this sleep therapist!*
The tactic used is a soft version of the cry it out method. While, yes, you do let your child cry you also give yourself the opportunity to help them.
What the “Soft” Cry It Out Method Is
Your baby cries at night. As a new mom, my instinct was to immediately get up and tend to him. Before Little Guy was born, we read “Bringing Up Bebe” by Pamela Druckerman (this is our favorite parenting book). She insisted that mothers must “pause” before going to check on them. This gives the child an opportunity to connect their sleep cycles (typically after the first 45 minutes of sleep) and sooth themselves back to sleep.
By “pausing” before tending to Little Guy, he was able to sleep through the night at 6 weeks. This “pause” that I speak of is about 5 minutes. As a wee little fella, that’s about all he would cry and then fall back asleep.
It should be noted that we never had our baby sleep in our room, either in a bassinet, crib, or co-sleeping.
Using this “pause” that Druckerman spoke so fondly of, we thought we had hit the jackpot! When baby turned 7 months old though, the tides had turned.
Pausing no longer worked. We would wait 5 minutes and go check on Little Guy. I would feed him, change him, and nothing seemed to work. It was time for something different. *PS: I’m not a sleep expert! If my ideas and the other ideas of the interweb don’t work for your little one, it might be time to go see the expert!*
The soft cry it out method is waiting longer than 5 minutes and then tending to your baby. You shouldn’t touch your baby while checking in on him. Only stay in the room long enough to replace their pacifier (if using) and softly shush them or whisper that they’re okay and to go back to sleep (1 minute or less).
- Night 1 – Talk it over with your partner and decide what your time limit on crying is. By 6 months, baby should be able to sleep through the night without needing to be fed. We decided on 5 minutes – 10 minutes – 15 minutes – and then 20 minutes. After your third or fourth crying period (up to you to decide), go ahead and pick them up – change them, feed them, do whatever your mommy instincts are telling you to do.
- Night 2 – Wait longer between each check in. 10-15-20-30. It will be worse than night 1. Trust me.
- Night 3 – Wait even longer between your check ins with little tot. 15-30-45-60. You might think “Oh this will be even worse!” On the contrary my dear mommy friend. Night 3 is when something magical happens (for us it did at least). After the second waiting period, he soothed himself back to sleep. Magic! or he realized I wouldn’t be coming in to give him a bottle or pick him up.
- Night 4 – repeat night 3’s times.
It is so important to FOLLOW THROUGH!
None of this sleep training business will work unless you stick to it. Even now, Little Guy will occasionally wake in the middle of the night. We always let him cry for a minimum of 15 minutes. Normally, by minute 7-10 he has soothed himself back to sleep.
We hope that this routine of him self soothing and sleeping in his own room will do wonders for us when we one day transition him to a toddler bed.
I hear stories all the time in my mommy Facebook groups of how their kiddos are 3 or 4 and still not sleeping through the night. With persistence, routine, and following through, I bet you’ll have a sleeping baby in no time.