Baby Sleep Training

April 3, 2013

This is a post that I really debated writing. Writing about crying is never going to be accepted by all. Ultimately I decided to share because I find reading blog accounts of baby events before I attempt them myself to be SO helpful. I hope this post is helpful for some of you. If you don’t agree with sleep training, you might want to just skip this one!

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I once heard that over 80% of families do some kind of sleep training. I have no idea if that statistic is true, but I believe it. Having survived the first 6 months of Mazen’s life and talking with so many of my mom friends (both in person and online ones) I am convinced that most older babies just need a little help to be able to learn to sleep.*

*Notice I said older babies because I would not ever expect a newborn to sleep through the night!

Mazen was a typical newborn who slept in 2-hour stretches at night and only napped when held. After turning 6 weeks old, he started to nap in the swing, in his crib and in the stroller and at night started sleeping 4-5 hours for the first stretch followed by a few 2 hour blocks. He went through the four month sleep regression from 3.5-4.5 months (yes it lasted a month!) and never regularly slept longer than 3 hours at time after that. During the peak of the regression, he was up as often as every 20 minutes! When things seemed to get a little better, he was still waking up every 1-3 hours all night, every night. As a 5 month old, he was a fairly good crib napper when he learned to roll onto his tummy but rarely slept for more than one sleep cycle of 35-40 minutes. He was a huge fan of the pacifier, and while it helped us tremendously during this time, it did end up being a big obstacle to sound sleep when it became a sleep association he needed to dose off. I feel that all of his sleep behaviors up to 6 months, while frustrating at times, were normal and typical.

I could sit here and analyze what I could have done differently, but I don’t regret much. Maybe I could have let him cry a little longer during the first 6 months in hopes that he would learn to sleep, but as a new parent to a first child, I don’t think I ever let him cry for more than 2 minutes before I went in to get him. Perhaps that was our downfall, but again, I don’t regret it. I probably needed to go get him more than he might have needed me!

Before I get into how we sleep trained, allow me to set the stage with a before and after.

Before at 6 months

  • 3-4 naps a day, 2 to 2.25 hours apart.
  • Most naps lasted 35-40 minutes (one sleep cycle) before he would wake up crying.
  • We would rarely (maybe once a week) get a nap longer than an hour. One time in 6 months he napped more than 2 hours.
  • Going down for a nap involved a wind-down routine at 2-hour wake time. I spent 15-20 minutes actively putting him down for naps by hovering over the crib replacing the pacifier after he pulled it out and cried because he couldn’t fall asleep without it. Matt and I called it airport: he’d pull a paci out and fly it around in his hand and another would land in his mouth. (You might say this meant he didn’t want it in his mouth, but he was just procrastinating sleep – he wouldn’t fall asleep without it.)
  • At bedtime he would cry most nights too – same parent soothing routine.
  • Nighttime sleep was from about 7:30pm to 7:30am with wake ups at 9, 10, 11 then maybe 1, 2, 3:30, 4:30, 6, 6:30 and 7. Exhausting! Wakeups were often fixed pretty quickly with a paci put back in and some pats.
  • One parent slept in the nursery at all times (usually Matt from bedtime to midnight and then me for the rest) so the other could get some sound sleep. This was SO helpful for us to get rest in the early months and we didn’t mind sleeping apart at all. But we were kind of ready to get normalcy back.
  • We had one night feeding around 3:30am. I cut back from feeding him every 3 hours to once a night fairly easily around 5.5 months in anticipation of sleep training. He didn’t really miss the nighttime feedings – we just did our usual soothing techniques and he went back to sleep.

And After…

  • Morning naps have extended to 1.5 hours most days of the week.
  • Afternoon naps have also extended but not always. Still taking 3-4 naps a day depending on their length. 3 naps is most typical. Waking up happy from a much larger portion of naps instead of crying.
  • Bedtime is between 7 and 8.
  • Our last nursing session is right before bed. After that I sing and hum songs in the dark room before putting him down. Usually he cries for a few moments when I first lay him in his crib, but that doesn’t last more than a minute or two before he starts singing sleepy songs (they sound like a cat howling!) and then falls asleep usually within 10 minutes.
  • Sleep 10-10.5 hours straight!!
  • Wake up between 5:45-7am.

Amazing difference, right? When I say he sleeps 10+ hours, sometimes he does wake up and make some noise at night. A brief cry here or there. But it’s been over 3 weeks and we haven’t had to go in for any soothing since the first few nights of sleep training.

The How

So the how. First, shout out to my amazing coach Caitlin! I said in previous posts that I “didn’t want to sleep train.” I don’t really think anyone wants to do it, but I knew I would when the time came IF the frequent night waking continued. As we approached 6 months, I knew we were going to need to do it. Since it’s easier to sleep train at 6-7 months than later, I knew it was now or never.

Caitlin’s sleep training post is so well written – go read it! I agree with all of her points, especially that Mazen knew he crib was a safe place to be. We followed the same technique that Caitlin did – a Ferber method with comfort checks every 10 minutes.

The basic guidelines are:

1. Comfort checks every 10 minutes of moderate to hard crying. (Light fussing doesn’t count)

2. If baby quiets down for sleep and starts up again the 10 minutes starts over.

3. The parent comforts for 30 seconds with touch and voice to let the baby know they haven’t abandoned them and tell them they are just learning to go to sleep.

Night One

I knew it was going to be hard. I may have shed a tear or two. But I also knew the more you bend the harder it is, so I was determined to make it the easiest on us all by getting it right the first time. I was honestly prepared for the worst. I really thought he was going to cry all night long. I knew even if he fell asleep the first time that he might cry for a really long time at his 3:30 feeding time. (Sidebar: I asked our pediatrician if I should drop that feeding along with sleep training and she said yes.)

Mazen cried for 42 minutes. We went in at 2 minutes, 5, 10, 10, 10.. and so on for checks. Matt and I both wondered if he would know how to fall asleep. We sat at the dining room table listening, watching the monitor and talking. And then all of a sudden he was quiet…asleep! We were so proud. He figured it out. We knew he was capable of falling asleep on his own, and that gave us the encouragement to continue.

The rest of the night went SO much better than I expected. (I took notes.)

  • 10:45-10:50 cry
  • 11:15-11:17 peeps
  • 1:05-1:14 cry
  • 4:45 a peep
  • 5:05-5:07 cry
  • 6:30 awake

As you can see, we didn’t have to go back into his room at all the rest of the night. And he did a 3 hour, 39 minute stretch! I did end up pumping around 4am during normal feeding time, but this was the one and only night I felt the need.

Night Two

At bedtime he fell asleep – alone – in FIVE MINUTES! We were again prepared for the worst and again shocked.

  • 9:10-9:36 crying with one check (because he calmed down at times we only went in once)
  • FOUR HOUR STRETCH!
  • 1:36-1:45 crying but not enough for a check
  • FOUR HOUR STRETCH!
  • 6:30 awake

Compared to our “before” nights, this was an incredible improvement with only one moderate crying session at 9:10.

Night Three

  • 8:05-8:20 moderate crying with check
  • 9:00 peep
  • 10:10 peep
  • 11:24-11:50 on and off moderate crying with 2 checks
  • 2:09-2:24 on and off moderate crying with a check
  • 5:40-5:45 peeps
  • 6:45 awake

We had a a little regression with the longer periods at 11:30 and 2 but overall still getting better. This was the last night we had to get out of bed for a comfort check!

Night Four

  • 8:08-8:16 whine to sleep
  • 11:48-11:55 light cry
  • 3:40-3:46 light cry
  • 7:10 awake!

It’s worrrrrkkkkinnnnggg!!

Night Five

  • 7:25-7:32 whine to sleep
  • SLEPT 9.5 HOURS!!!!!!!!
  • 4:55-5:15 on and off light cries
  • 6:45 awake

I consider this to mean that it took us four nights to teach him to sleep through the night.

Night Six

  • 7:31-7:42 babbled to sleep
  • SLEPT 7.5 HOURS!!
  • 3:00 peep
  • 6:30 awake

And Now…

  • 7-8 bedtime. He cries just for a minute when I put him down. Fuss/babble to sleep in 10 minutes.
  • SLEEPS 10-10.5 HOURS!!!!
  • Maybe a peep or two, but rarely crying at night.
  • Up at 6-7am

I’m SO glad we did this. In all of sleep training, there were only 5 times when Mazen was actually upset enough for us to comfort check him. Most of it was moderate to light protest crying. More whining than crying. One of the reasons I am glad we waited until 6 months to do this is because his cries changed. At 3-4 months he was still an itty baby with itty baby needs and itty baby cries. But by 6 months he knew how to throw a fit at bedtime, flailing about. I could tell during sleep training that he wasn’t crying out of hunger or pain or fear but out of protest. I could also tell he just wasn’t well rested. This made it much easier for me to handle emotionally.

Here are a few things I was not expecting to be so great

-He used to wake up a ton in the evenings at unpredictable times and I would cluster feed him frequently when he was younger. Therefore, leaving a bottle for a babysitter was challenging. We couldn’t say “He’ll wake up at 10 for a bottle” because we never knew. Now I can put him to bed and feel confident that unless he becomes sick he will stay asleep. I’ve been out with friends a few times and we’ve been on a date after bedtime, and it’s been fun to get evenings back!

-I’m spending SO much less time soothing. We used to spend hours hovering at the crib. And he was still crying! Now when I put him down for a nap he still fusses for a few minutes but I don’t have to be there the whole time.

-Also unexpectedly, his morning naps are now pretty consistently 1.5 hours. I can often hear him wake up and stir at the end of that first sleep cycle – around 35/40 minutes – but he self-soothes back to sleep.

-He used to wake up from naps crying, but I’d say half of the time now he wakes up peacefully and starts babbling until I come in. It’s so fun to see how excited he gets when he hears me enter the room!

-I am no longer making two beds a day (the nursery and the master) or washing two sets of sheets every single week and that rules. I love sleeping with my husband again!

And here is one downside to sleeping through the night

I miss him. I think part of the reason I wanted to wait was because I couldn’t stand the thought of going all night without a snuggle! Snuggles > sleep, I know, crazy. But now when I sing him his bedtime songs I know I probably won’t see him for a long, long night and that last hug is extra tight!

Good morning!

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{ 198 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shel@PeachyPalate April 3, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Amazing insight, and I’m sure this post is going to be madly appreciated by all the new mams and dads out there reading it! Lots of hard work but definitely worth it in the end!

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2 Regina April 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Thank you SO much for sharing!! Our son is 7.5 months old now (August 19th birthday) and sleeps from about 5:30pm until 3am, cries and I change and feed them then he goes back down until 5-6am. However, his naps are all 30 minutes long every 2-3 hours (rarely do we get a longer nap) and that 3am wake up is still there. Maybe we should sleep train after all….

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3 Irene April 3, 2013 at 3:17 pm

My 7 month old is on the exact same schedule and I think it’s acutally pretty good considering. Does he put himself to sleep or do you have to rock ect?

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4 Kim April 3, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Thank you for this post kath! I am a new mommy to a 3 mth old and this was very informative. Question…after they are crying for ten minutes and you go in to soothe, are you picking the baby up or just soothing while baby stays in crib? Thanks do much for the valuable information :)

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5 KERF April 3, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Soothing in the crib with voice and touch

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6 Lisa April 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm

My sons sleep was very similar to yours. Awake A LOT at night
I waited to 10months to sleep train…best decision ever (I wish I had done it sooner)!
At 21 months he’s a gem to sleep (so odd to say because as a baby he was NOT)

So glad it worked for you!

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7 Chelsea April 6, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Lisa – I have a 10 month old and we’re considering sleep training (again). We tried when he was around 5 months old and it helped us go from up every 1-2 hours to up 2-3 times a night. I nurse him and he falls right back asleep but it has been a long 10 months of getting very little and very interrupted sleep! Now that he can stand in the crib we have another problem and I’m sure it will only get worse as he gets older. Do you have any tips about how you sleep trained him at that age?

Thank you!

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8 Whitney L April 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Can you explain what you did with the pacifier? Did you take it away completely for this?

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9 KERF April 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Yes. Cold Turkey. I thought he would be so mad but he doesn’t seem to miss it

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10 Laura April 3, 2013 at 12:57 pm

This post is so timely! We are waiting for our little guy (who is a few days younger than Maze) to finish getting over an ear infection and then we are going to do sleep training. For his naps, did the change in his pattern and behavior seem to happen naturally or did you do the same check-in process as bedtime?

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11 KERF April 3, 2013 at 1:13 pm

He still fuss cries for most of his naps but settles in 5-10 minutes

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12 Jessica April 3, 2013 at 1:26 pm

For us, sleep training and stretching his wake times alone helped naps tremendously. He takes about 10-15 minutes to fall asleep for them, but its usually just whining and singing, not crying.

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13 Jessica April 3, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I also said I’d never sleep train but by 7 months our little guy was up every hour, when previously, (Before the 4 month regression) he could put himself to sleep. Sleep training went better than I ever imagined and helped improved naps too. Its amazing to be able to be productive in the evenings and be able to go to bed a little late, knowing I’ll still get decent sleep.

He is now 8.5 months old and on two naps. I started waking my son up at the same time everyday, 630. (Or if he wakes a little early, I let him hang out in the crib until then) and that has really helped with his schedule becoming very consistent. Knowing what time he will wake up allows me to set my alarm to wake before him; I get a lot done for the day in the morning and it helps so much. Stretching his wake times to 3, 3.25, and 3.5 hours was magic for us. He has two good naps and is in bed around 630 every night. Some nights its closer to 7, which is a ok.

Glad it worked so well for you.

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14 Sarah December 11, 2013 at 11:22 am

Hi Jessica,
I hope you are able to read this but in reading your post along with everyone else’s my 7 month old needs some serious sleep training and if you wake up your child every day at 630am, can you tell me approx what time you put your son down for naps during the day and how long those naps are? My son seems to wake up at 10am then goes for a nap at noonish-1pm and sleeps all afternoon!! Sometimes till 2 or 3 or 4 or even close to 5pm! I put my son to bed around 8-930 sometimes depending on his fussiness and rock him to sleep at bedtime with a bottle. I also do that for all his naps so maybe I’m doing something wrong :(

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15 Nina April 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm

This is such a great post for moms! I remember sitting in front of my compurter with a twitchy eye desperately googling sleep training techniques in the middle of the night. Over time we finally found what works for us. One thing is for sure, my life is so much better now that we’ve established a sleep routine.

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16 Kara April 3, 2013 at 1:10 pm

I hope people are kind about this post because you really demonstrate a great method to help your baby sleep. Babies need long stretches of restorative sleep. Mazen’s short naps during the day sounded like the result of being overtired. I am on baby #2, a completely different type of sleeper from #1 and when she stopped being overtired, the naps really sorted themselves out nicely. We had been keeping her up too late at night it turns out – hoping she would sleep longer! We followed the Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child book and it worked well for us. She wakes up once a night now at 3 months. I feel like a first time mom all over again! Sleep is tricky. And every baby is different. Thanks for posting on this topic. It is nice to read different perspectives.

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17 Sarah April 3, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I’m glad this all worked so well for your family! My daughter was a pretty good sleeper (not nearly as many wakings as Mazen!) so we didn’t get to the point of needing to do any sleep training at bedtime until she was a bit older, and I was also shocked at how quickly it worked. If I’d realized that, I might have tried it a bit sooner. :)

It’s cool that you’ve seen positive effects at naptime, too. He might also be getting to the age where he’s finally consolidating his naps. I remember being really pleased when I finally had somewhat concrete naptimes to plan around (even though it’s also constraining). I also learned to ignore the 40 minute “squawk” that sometimes came at the end of the first sleep cycle, since it didn’t always mean that she was awake, or that she woudn’t go back to sleep if I left her to her own devices for a few minutes.

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18 Katie April 3, 2013 at 1:17 pm

Mazen’s daytime nap patterns sound a lot like Josie’s. We sleep trained around 3.5/4 months and while it was hard the first night, she took to it so much easier than expected and I was thrilled to be sleeping through the night again! Her daytime naps were a different story- always 30-45 minutes. Finally, around 6 months she naturally developed a longer (1.5hr) morning nap and then two short naps. Just in the last two weeks (so around 8.5 months) her afternoon nap has developed and she now will take TWO 1.5 hour naps in her crib, putting herself to sleep. It is a good feeling to have a baby so well rested! I will never forget the days of having a cranky mess on my hands because she couldn’t get through one sleep cycle. Good for you and Mazen! :)

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19 KERF April 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm

I’m excited for the afternoon naps to consolidate some day : ) Will make getting out and about a bit easier

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20 Jessica April 3, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Dropping the third nap was so wonderful for us! I don’t know Mazen’s exact age, but around 7 months we stretched his wake times to three hours and got two long naps. It was scary though for some reason… :)

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21 Erica C April 3, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Does Mazen get a paci at other times during the day (just not for bed), or did you do away with them completly? Our little one is a great sleeper, but tends to need the paci to help her fall asleep, and we have a few wakeups in the middle of the night where all she needs is the paci back in her mouth, but it’s getting old running in there every time it falls out. And, now that she is 6 mths old, she has been taking it out and whipping it around!

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22 KERF April 3, 2013 at 1:23 pm

I offered one once when he was fussy and we were away from home (on our way back) to help him sleep but I haven’t at home at all

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23 Kelley April 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Congrats! I don’t think CIO gets the credit it deserves. We did it at 4 months and it was lifechanging. Did you nix the pacifier all together? We still use it for naps/nighttime (9.5 months old), but I want to get rid of it all together. I’m so scared though!

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24 KERF April 3, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Yes, cold turkey

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25 Kelley April 3, 2013 at 1:39 pm

You’re brave. I need to do it before mine turns one. I hear it becomes an awful power struggle if you wait longer than that. The perils of parenthood. =)

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26 Sarah April 3, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this, I have bookmarked it :) I’m expecting my son in early May and will likely take the same approach as you. I don’t want to do anything early on because a lot changes between 0-6 months. I used to be one of those people that said I wouldn’t sleep train (even though I wasn’t a parent yet!) but thanks to you, Caitlin and some other new moms who have shared their experiences, I have been educated to the benefits both for baby and their parents. Thanks again!

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27 Tamara April 3, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Yes, thank you so much. Our babe is going to be 6 months next Friday and I think we will be starting his sleep training then. We’re still swaddling and it’s SUCH a chore to get him down when he hates that thing so much. It will be fantastic to get him to a point where he can soothe himself back to sleep. We’re trying to move away from the swaddle, especially nowadays as it’s getting REALLY hot out here in the desert.

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28 Elizabeth April 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Kath, thanks so much for writing this post and also making it very detailed! I’m almost 6 months pregnant and I’m trying to read up on this topic now before the baby gets here. I’m part way through the Baby Whisperer and plan on reading the Healthy Sleep Habits book, too.

Question: How are your cloth diapers doing during the 10.5 hour sleep sessions? Are you adding any additional inserts or using a disposable? Just wondering, as I plan on cloth diapering, too.

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29 KERF April 3, 2013 at 2:05 pm

We’re using the Huggies overnights. I haven’t tried cloth at night since sleep training but I will before I buy more Huggies. It would be great to use all cloth

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30 Kym April 4, 2013 at 5:35 pm

My son sleeps from 10pm to 9am, and we put him in a BumGenius 4.0 with the regular insert + a newborn insert. It keeps him nice and dry until morning (though it is *heavy* with pee in the morning!). I know you have the AIOs but I think you could throw another insert between the flaps without issue.

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31 Sarah April 5, 2013 at 10:05 am

We use cloth at night (pockets) and stuff them more than her daytime diapers with a combo of microfiber and bamboo inserts, and they usually work. Sometimes there’s a bit of wicking onto her pajamas around the legs or at the waist in front (she’s a tummy sleeper) but it doesn’t seem to bug her and we just throw them in the laundry instead of leaving them to re-wear the next night. (Also, fleece sleepers in winter help, too – fleece acts a bit like a diaper cover and repels moisture.) We only use disposables when we travel, and those generally work fine at night, too, but I’ve noticed that when one of those overflows, it *really* overflows and she wakes up with a big soaking patch on her pjs. It makes an occasionally little bit of dampness with the cloth diapers seem totally acceptable by comparison. :)

Not nursing all night will definitely help, too – less liquid in, less liquid out (although DD’s diapers are still very heavy in the morning.)

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32 Monica April 3, 2013 at 1:54 pm

I wanted to say thank you for sharing your experiences with the sleep training. My baby is 5 months old and I know sleep training is around the corner (I am both excited and dreading it!). I have a question, when putting Mazen down for the night did you soothe him to sleep and then place him in the crib or put him in their awake? Was that process the same for naps? Did you reference any books to help you with the process. I really enjoy your blog and connect to most posts as our boys are very close in age.
Thank you.

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33 KERF April 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm

I followed the 3 guidelines in the post for everything. Wind down, songs, in crib, come back after 10 only if he was crying moderate to hard.

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34 Emily April 3, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Thanks for sharing… my son is almost 6 months old and after being up every 3 hours last night my husband and I decided this morning that Baby Sleep Bootcamp starts tonight haha (so it is very appropriate for us that you wrote this post today).

If I read correctly you do not do any night feeds per your pediatricians recommendation?? I am still debating if I should allow for one night feed in our sleep training plan… but, I would think it could get confusing for them if sometimes when they wake up they get fed and other times they have to work it out themselves. Any thoughts?

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35 KERF April 3, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I’d ask your ped. Since M is in the high percentiles for weight we didn’t have any concern

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36 Kelly Baker April 3, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Thanks for sharing. :) Every mom does their best, but I know that my best comes easiest after a good night’s sleep! After a had a baby, I told everyone about the benefits of being well-rested! There really is no better medicine, anecdote, or vitamin!

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37 Anne April 3, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I’m really glad this worked for you. It seems like Mazen was ready for it and that this method suited his temperament and personality.

I’d like to add my own personal experience with this method to the discussion in case it’s helpful for another parent reading this. I have a now-17-month-old son who didn’t sleep through the night in the traditional, 8p-6a sense, until he was 14 months old. My husband and I gave the Ferber method a good, honest try, however my son is an anxious kid who thrives on touch (we finally figured out!) and he would cry for hours on end. He would cry until he threw up and checking on him every 10 minutes only made him more anxious. We decided after a few nights that it wasn’t worth it and went back to waking occasionally (maybe twice each night) with him and soothing him back to sleep. Then 14 months hit and he suddenly slept through the night. All the way through, no waking. For some kids, some temperaments, some personalities, that’s just how it happens.

If this is your experience as a parent, I would highly recommend the book Sleepless in America.

And again, to Kath and the other folks who have found success with this method – kudos! You found what worked for your family and your kid and that is totally what parenting is all about. I’m only writing this in case there are other parents out there who were like me and felt discouraged when this method didn’t work for them.

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38 Sophie April 3, 2013 at 2:23 pm

As a long time reader but not a commenter, I felt I had to respond to this post! My baby is a month younger than Mazen and has a similar sleep pattern as you had before training, My question is – did you do the same Feber/checking method for naps?

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39 KERF April 3, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Yes. All sleep was the same

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40 Sophie April 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Thanks! Did it work as effectively/quickly for naps? I often hear these are trickier to crack? What if he didn’t nap well during the day? I’d be worried about over-tiredness and therefore taking longer to settle at night! Was this an issue at all?

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41 Jessica April 4, 2013 at 3:36 pm

I’m not kath, but for us, we started with nights only. We continued to help our son get enough sleep during the day at all costs so he wouldn’t be overtired. Naps typically come more easily after night training…

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42 Marci April 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm

sleep training works miracles, but is hard to live through. now that you’re on the other side, life is so much better!

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43 Cindy April 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Great news!! I never thought we’d have to teach out baby to sleep, but sleep training worked for us too. I think a lot of babies need that push and first time parents are hesitant to let their baby cry, like you I thought my son would just cry and cry and never stop, but it really works. The other thing I wasn’t prepared for was having to do it again. Teething, illness and traveling have all knocked us off the good sleep horse and we’ve had to resort to sleep training again to get him back on track. Glad to hear you are getting some good sleep, it makes ALL the difference!

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44 Cathy April 3, 2013 at 3:13 pm

On Mad About You they let thier baby CIO and it was an actual timed episode with no commercials. This was before I had my kids and I thought it had to be the hardest thing ever! I did it with my kids and it is, but it makes such a HUGE difference. A well rested mom is a happier mom! My sister still hasn’t done it with her son and he’s 18 months old and he still wakes 1-2 times a night. I’m glad it worked well for you and was a fairly smooth transition. You post such cute pics of Mazen it’s hard to picture him grumpy! :)

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45 Irene April 3, 2013 at 3:21 pm

How long is M awakre before his first nap? Did you have to nap train or did he always put himself to sleep for naps?

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46 KERF April 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm

2 hours and we had to train everything

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47 aimee April 3, 2013 at 3:39 pm

When baby wakes from his nap too soon-say 30mins into it, and doesn’t go back to sleep, do u still wait the 2-2.5hrs before the next nap?

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48 KERF April 3, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Yes, it’s wake time so the clock starts when he wakes up until 2.5 hours

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49 Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles April 3, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Thanks so much for this post. Even though reed only wakes ,e up once at three, I can’t wait for him to turn six months so I can do this…and quit the pack too! Xoxo

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50 Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles April 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm

That was supposed to be paci, not pack.

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51 Laura April 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Awesome post! I think the term “cry it out” conjures up such terrible images in a new mum’s mind. In reality, your experience seems more like “fuss it out”, which isn’t nearly as bad! You’ve motivated me to give it a try with my son, which is something I never thought I’d do. Thanks!

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52 Lyndsey April 3, 2013 at 4:14 pm

We did sleep training this weekend. It worked in one night for us – crazy. I do want to add that by the book Ferber increases the wait times each night (we are now on 17 minute first wait) and discourages “touch” – you are supposed to talk to baby for a minute or two, max.

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53 Erika April 3, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your lifestyle and experiences on here!! I am like you were and have never let my 5 month old cry for more than 2 min probably. And she can work herself into quite the scream. Did Mazen do this at all at first? This terrified as on planning on trying this method soon:) thanks again!

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54 Gina Langford April 3, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Thank you so much for sharing! I am bookmarking this as well and plan to use it as a guide when we are ready to sleep train Annabel :) SO GLAD you are feeling better, he is happier and more rested, and that you are getting that time back with your husband! XOXO

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55 Mary-Ann April 3, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Awesome!! A million thanks. Was M already out of his swaddle? If so, how did you wean him from it?

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56 KERF April 3, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Yes, he was. We just stopped cold turkey around 4 months. I thought he’d be mad, but he didn’t seem to mind at all

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57 Jennifer April 3, 2013 at 5:31 pm

We had to sleep train both our boys but for different reasons. Our first child couldn’t fall asleep on his own and would fight off all sleep and naps. Once he fell asleep, he would stay asleep until morning. We thought we would do the comfort checks when we sleep trained him but every time we went in to comfort him he got more and more worked up. After an hour with checks every 10 minutes we decided to not go back in his room. He cried for 15 minutes and fell asleep. It broke my heart that I couldn’t go in his room to comfort him but seeing either of us really pissed him off. ;)

Our second child needed no help falling asleep but he woke up every morning between 4:30 and 5:00 to eat until he was 9 months old (and he was in the 95% for height and weight….he didn’t need to eat in the middle of the night anymore). He would let us go in and comfort him and he didn’t get mad that we weren’t feeding him. But, he continued to wake up every morning at the same time even when we stopped feeding him so we ultimately stopped the comfort checks on him too.

You’re right that none of us want to sleep train but we have to. I’m super impressed you kept up that schedule until 7 months! ;)

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58 Lesley April 3, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Sleep training was the best thing we did for Penelope and ourselves. Congratulations on its success.
And, oh my GOSH – is Mazen such a cutie! That smile, with the tongue! I melt.

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59 Lesley April 3, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Sleep training was the best thing we did for Penelope and ourselves. Congratulations on its success.
And, oh my GOSH – is Mazen such a cutie! That smile, with the tongue! I melt.

http://www.thegabesleybunch.com

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60 Samantha April 3, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Great post! I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind also posting some links to some of the other bloggers that have had babies and have blogged about their experiences? I have found your blog so helpful since I’ve been pregnant and would love to read some other bloggers experiences. We don’t have that many friends or family members that have had children so this information has been a great help! Thanks!

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61 KERF April 3, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Off the top of my head: Art of Making a Baby, Writing Chapter Three, Healthy Tipping Point, Daily Garnish, The Fitnessista all have detailed posts on baby things.

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62 Samantha April 3, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Great, thanks!

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63 Leslie Paquette April 3, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Kath, thanks so much for posting this! I totally understand why you hesitated to do so as people are very opinionated when it comes to sleep training. I for one, had no intentions of sleep training my daughter, however decided to do so at my husbands and the pediatricians encouragement after a pretty bad few weeks. She slept and napped about as well as Mazen and her sleep seemed to be getting worse and worse! She always seemed so tired and cranky and so were we. It would take an hour plus to get her to bed and lots of times she was crying the whole time with us holding and soothing her. She actually cried a lot more with us soothing her than she did during the first few nights of sleep traing!! I was prepared for the worst and the first night we did it she feel asleep in 10 minutes, I was shocked. And she slept through the night!!!! What a difference it has made for all of us. My daughter is just days older than Mazen so I always look forward to these posts! He’s such a cutie!!!! Thanks for sharing this, Leslie.

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64 Laura April 3, 2013 at 9:23 pm

So interesting…I’m so glad your sleep training experience was a positive one. Thanks for posting in such great detail!

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65 Megan April 3, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Thanks for writing this post! My daughter is a few days younger than Mazen and we had great results with sleep training at night. Naps are still short unless she’s in the stroller or car though. When we try napping in the crib, we get severe crying for sometimes as long as 20 minutes, followed by only a 20 minute nap and back to the sobbing. Did you notice longer crying to nap for Mazen or do anything differently in the daytime?

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66 K April 4, 2013 at 4:15 am

Well done on the sleep training, at the end of the day it’s about finding a solution that works for your family. And for those who don’t choose to sleep train, it’s ok as long as long as whatever you’re doing works for your family.

Just wanted to share an interesting factoid on baby sleep from Pubmed, I found this the other day when looking for info on my own LO’s sleep habits! (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8680184)

“Health visitors and general practitioners are often asked for help because of what parents perceive as a baby’s sleeping problem. Many parents expect that the baby will be sleeping continuously through the night from a given age, often as early as six weeks old. The conflict between the parents’ expectations and the baby’s behaviour leads the parents to seek help. Analysis of the first 640 questionnaires received from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood (ALSPAC). Study show that many six-month-old babies have broken nights. Only 16% slept through the night at six months old. Half woke occasionally, 9% woke most nights, 5% woke once every night and a further 17% woke more than once per night, ranging from twice to eight times. For 16% of six-month-olds there was no regular sleeping pattern. Parents use a variety of strategies when the baby wakes at night, including rocking or cuddling, giving a dummy or feeding with milk or another drink. By six months old, 61% of babies slept in a room on their own, but 15% were always or usually brought into the parents’ bed if they woke, and 34% sometimes 28% of babies aged six months routinely slept in the parents’ bedroom. Knowing that their baby’s behaviour pattern is “normal” and shared by many other babies of the same age is often reassuring to parents.”

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67 Grace April 4, 2013 at 9:17 am

Thanks for posting this! I’ll add that despite what a lot of commenters have said, there is no scientific evidence (i.e. peer reviewed studies published in reputable medical journals) that show that “sleeping through the night” has any health benefits at all for babies. That’s not at all to say the (reasonable, gentle) sleep training hurts babies (there is no scientific evidence of that either!), but CIO is done for the parent’s benefit, not the baby’s.

And Kath, thanks for the even, non-judgmental post on sleep training. We choose not to CIO in our family (different strokes for different folks!) and your post is the least judge-y one on sleep training that I’ve read! I’m glad that it worked well for you.

As for naps, FWIW, our daughter naturally started sleeping better during the day around 8-9 months (her naps stretched from three 45 minute naps to two 1-1.5 hour nap in the crib). At that age bedtimes also drastically improved; we went from nursing for 30-45 minutes at night to 5-10 minutes of nursing then a super easy transfer to the crib. And when she went down to one nap at 13 months old it got even better – she naps from 11 am to 1 pm in her crib, every day, like clockwork, and sleeps from 8 pm to 7 am at night with one or two very short wake-ups to nurse (5-10 minutes of nursing or less) (and this is without any sleep training and we still co-sleep and nurse on demand at night). I think a lot of babies will just naturally grow into “better” sleep, once they get a little older. So for those that choose not to sleep train, you’re not dooming your baby (and yourself) to a million wake-ups per night for years to come. :)

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68 Sarah April 5, 2013 at 10:09 am

> I think a lot of babies will just naturally grow into “better” sleep, once they get a little older.

Yes, this! Some sort of sleep training often helps for many families, but whether you sleep train or not, babies do generally consolidate their sleep as they grow – it’s just a developmental thing. No harm in gently nudging them along if your family needs to do that, but some of it will happen no matter what. (We did eventually do a little bit of bedtime sleep training but never did anything for naps. She just gradually consolidated those herself.)

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69 A week behind April 4, 2013 at 6:30 am

It’s so interesting to read your experiences of sleep training, which were very similar to mine with my little guy. We started sleep training at 5.5 months, when he suddenly stopped waking only once or twice at night and going back to sleep immediately after feeding, and starting waking every hour or two and needing lots of “soothing” to get back to sleep (actually the soothing would often only infuriate him more!). I too thought I’d never sleep train, but in my naivety had thought that babies would just sleep when tired. Rather than fight fight fight it!!

It only took us about 2 nights to go from frequent wakes to no wakes at all. With one difference – I go in and dreamfeed my son twice a night. I’d love to drop these feeds altogether, but for him they seem to be full long feeds rather than comfort sucks. He’s a wee shrimp compared to Mazen though at around the 25th centile for weight, and I’m just not sure if he actually needs these feeds.

Was Mazen fully feeding when he woke up in the night or did you feel he was only really snacking at this point?

Oh, and I totally know what you mean about missing them at night! My partner used to share the night soothing and once we trained he practically sprinted in to get him in the morning as soon as he heard him peep!

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70 KERF April 4, 2013 at 8:50 am

He was fully feeding but I think out of habit

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71 Liza April 4, 2013 at 8:22 am

I don’t have children but I just can’t imagine letting my child cry it out. Not saying that you are a bad mom, because Kath I think you are a great mom, but for me I just don’t think it’s something I could do. Guess I won’t be sleeping much when I do have those kids!

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72 Rachael April 4, 2013 at 9:29 am

I have a 10 month old and I too couldn’t imagine letting my child cry it out. But, in the end (around 9 months) we did and it was the single hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I paced around the house willing myself not to go rescue him. A more rested baby = happier baby. Not to mention happier parents. Sometimes as a parent you have to do really hard (read: heartbreaking) things for your child’s health and well-being. For some babies who are tired and dragging all day because of poor night time sleep, CIO is a tool we can use to help our children. Before when he got tired he would still try to play and keep going. Now, he understands “tired” and will crawl over to me and lift his arms and let me know he’s ready for his crib.

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73 Jenn April 5, 2013 at 12:05 am

Doesn’t have to be one or the other! I have a 4yr old and 2yr old and have never let them cry it out at bedtime. I get plenty of sleep and so do they. They were both sleeping similar to how Kath describes Mazen pre-training, but I slept close to them, so it was a matter of a quiet “shhhh” or a quick feed or reaching over to their bed for a quick cuddle to get them back to sleep. So even though they might wake 5x a night, baby and I were only actually *awake* for 2-5min at each waking so overall sleep hours were still fine.

My way (note I’m saying *my*, its what we do in our family, no presuming to tell anyone else what to do) of helping my children be happy and healthy is to respond to all crying. Most adults like to sleep near the one they love the most so it figures baby would too.

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74 KT April 4, 2013 at 8:41 am

Good for you! I had twins born a couple of weeks before Mazen was born and at five months we realized that we had to do something, so we read a book on sleep training (Sleep Easy Solution, I think) and boy, am I glad we did it. It completely changed our days and nights. One of my sons did really well on the very first night and the other one struggled a little more with it, but by the second night, he did much better.

It’s hard to do something that so many people are so critical about, but with two babies, I really didn’t have a choice. I have to wonder what those critics would have done in my situation. It sounds like you made the right choice for your family too! As helpful as it is for us parents, it’s got to be even better for our babies who are now able to easily soothe themselves back to sleep (until those teeth start bothering them and they need a little help from us again :-))!

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75 Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) April 4, 2013 at 8:50 am

Clara was a CRAZY sleeper (meaning she NEVER slept, up and down all stinking night long) until we did Ferber at 6 months. Amazing! (We tried hard core crying it out at 4 months and looking back that was prob not the best decision for her at that time but we were desperate and exhausted. Oh well. She is not permanently damaged from it and we live and learn through our first time parenting!)

It’s it amazing how their disposition totally changes once they are getting consolidated night sleep and are well rested?? Since sleeping soundly at night Clara has woken up happy and smiling every day for the past 5 months (minus one day when she woke congested and w/ double ear infections, but that’s different.) I love going in to get her in the AM when she is sitting in her crib smiling from ear to ear and having a ball.

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76 Kristi April 4, 2013 at 9:02 am

Thanks for sharing and so glad it worked for you! I have read Caitlin’s post several times but find yours to be super helpful with the inclusion of your nightly notes. I also agree with you that whatever you do in the first 6 months is about soothing your baby and helping him navigate all the changes he’s going through. The only point I disagree with you on is the sleeping in the nursery aspect and only because as baby gets older (3-4+mos) they become so much more aware and sensitive. A couple weeks ago my LO started waking all night and I thought it was the 4mo regression. We moved him to his room (he sleeps in a swing) and he stopped the extra wakeups (still wakes to eat). It was so much more convenient to have him next to my bed but at some point we were disrupting his sleep and we were also quick to pop the paci in at the slightest sound. Now I only hear the important hunger cries so its possible he’s still waking but putting himself back to sleep.

You mentioned this but Mazen is pretty big for his age which was in your favor in regards to not only sleep training for bedtime but also cutting out all night feedings, which are really two separate things. Before I had a baby I thought sleeping through the night happened around 6 months and that meant zero wakeups but many babies still wake for a feeding well past 6 months (which is then a night weaning issue and not cry it out). Just includin that for those that read all the comments as I always do!

I definitely look forward to the day I put my baby in his crib (not sleeping ther yet, eek!) and don’t come back til morning but I’m also savoring the night feeding cuddles because I know what you mean about missing him at night – as crazy as it sounds!!!

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77 Ashley April 4, 2013 at 9:43 am

I’m glad you wrote it, too! And Caitlin’s post, that was practically my guide. We sleep trained at 4 months…so stupid. It took so much longer because of the regression, it was a bad idea. BUT, like you said — NOW it’s all worth it! My daughter still wakes up once to eat, but it’s generally at 4 and I’m okay with it because she’s still so small (14lbs at 7 months). Some nights it’s earlier, but more often it’s later, and I think she’s getting close to sleeping through. Three cheers for sleep training!

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78 Liz Dean April 4, 2013 at 10:02 am

So happy to hear he is sleeping SO well…that means you guys are too! The best. He is so handsome.
I was all for letting my son cry for certain periods of time when I felt he was old enough. Sleep training/helping him learn to sleep better was the best thing we did for not only him, but us and our relationship…to be happier and more attentive to each other daily. My son is now three years old, sleeping solidly for 10-11 hrs at night and still takes daily naps for about 2 hours….I’ve stayed dedicated to our routine :) Good job!

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79 anne April 4, 2013 at 11:04 am

This is a great post! Thanks for writing and including so much detail. I will definitely refer back to this one.

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80 Jennifer April 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Baby sleep is so hard. However, you managed to remain so very fresh faced. How did you do this? Teach me!

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81 Marie April 4, 2013 at 12:32 pm

After your nighttime routine, you put him down awake? Does he stand up and cry? I tried cio for two days only because our 8 month old stood and cried for a total of three hours! The second night I gave up two hours into it because he was shaking and his voice sounded like a frog. Absolute torture for both of us. Would love to try it again but don’t know if our little guy is just different or if you just persevere through it. Mama needs to sleep!! So does baby!

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82 KERF April 4, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Yes awake. That is key. He can’t stand (or sit) in his crib yet. I think that’s why it’s easier to ST at 6 months than older. Good luck!

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83 Marie April 5, 2013 at 8:09 am

Thanks, Kath. He’s actually been standing since 5 months, but never realized standing would affect sleep training until I tried it! Did tried it last night, and he only fussed for an hour total! Oh magical sleep! But then my two year old who NEVER wakes up at night was up for an hour! ha!

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84 KERF April 5, 2013 at 10:32 am

:( it’s tough

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85 Alexa April 4, 2013 at 2:38 pm

I’m jealous that Mazen only cried for those increments! When my little guy cries it out, he’s obviously inherited my stubbornness. The first night he cried for an hour and 35 minutes. I got in the shower finally so I didn’t have to hear it. It got better each night, but offda, that first night.

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86 Anna April 4, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Great job! I did our first at 9 months and wished I did it sooner. It’s so hard to take that first step! I did CIO for naps and then did bedtime a few days later. Now at 23 months she’s awesome at sleep. I’m working on our 5 mo old now and it’s so much easier the second time around.

I haven’t met a family yet who has sort of lucked out with sleep. I think it is necessary to teach them to sleep — it’s almost cruel to make them rely on you to go to sleep as an older baby. It’s do hard to CIO but now when my babies cry I know something is wrong and it’s easier to handle.

Ps – nicely written post

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87 Kelly April 4, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Thanks for sharing your information!

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88 Amy April 4, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Congratulations!!! I’m so glad it was worth it for you. I am a full-supporter of sleep training (for babies who need it). It works!!! Now we know for baby #2. :)
p.s. My son is over 2 and still uses a binky to sleep (started using it with sleep training). I am waiting until he is ready to get rid of it. I wouldn’t hesitate to give Mazen’s back if there are any bumps in the road (hopefully there won’t be)!

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89 Micaela April 4, 2013 at 9:45 pm

I find this post SO interesting. I don’t have any babies yet, but I find all of these stages and things fascinating. It’s also interesting to see cultural differences, I’m from New Zealand and the idea of having a baby cry themselves to sleep is the most natural thing in the world to me! I don’t know if that’s my family’s culture or an NZ thing, but I feel like it’s really normal. When I read your disclaimer my initial thought was ‘what?! Who would disagree with this?!’ So interesting! Good job working out what works for you and your family, Mazen is ADORABLE!

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90 Marcia April 4, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Glad it worked out. My first kiddo was not a sleeper and we had to sleep train for our sanity. By 8 months we were getting 8 hrs, but we had to repeat the sleep training when he got a new tooth or got a cold.

Second baby waaaay better. 9-10 hr stretches at 12 weeks to seven mos. then the teeth came in and all heck broke loose. We are better now but are doing some gentle sleep training as needed. I have two kids nod a full time job. No way I can function on a night of 1-2 hr stretches! Sleep training is awesome!

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91 Chris April 5, 2013 at 8:23 am

Bravo Kath!! Good job with this, and helping to explain the method to others. As you know we did the old-school method, and it was torturous for me. Knowing I could soothe every 10 minutes would have helped… consistency is key.

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92 Ali April 5, 2013 at 10:04 am

Kath, how do you attach your crib bumper? I’m due in June and we have the same crib and bumper as you. Is it wrapped around just one side? Thanks!

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93 KERF April 5, 2013 at 10:31 am

It’s a breathable bumper that we added once he started moving all around. I just followed the instructions (which were a bit complicated) for the type of crib we had.

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94 justine April 5, 2013 at 10:33 am

Thank you so much for writing about sleep training and how it can WORK! I’ve also heard a lot of negatives about the thought of sleep training and was SO glad to hear something positive! I’m four months along with my first child and am doing as much research as possible. I’m definitely gonna re-read this post once baby is here! Thank You!!! :)

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95 Erin Motz April 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm

This was such a great post. I always love reading things that encourage new parents, not ONLY talk about how hard it is. Great great info! But I’m a little confused what people would be offended by? Like, why a disclaimer?

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96 CML April 5, 2013 at 4:24 pm

It’s been the same for us. So glad to have evenings back now that he is sleeping better, but we miss him. Hard to say good night because I know I won’t see him for hours… : )

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97 Farah April 5, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Hi Kath!

I just recently started reading both of your blogs. I LOVE how detailed you are in these posts! Keep it up. Mazen is so adorable. I love how he smiles with his tongue. SO CUTE!

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98 Liz April 6, 2013 at 8:00 am

Thanks for posting! My baby is 4.5 m and she isn’t a horrible sleeper, but the issue i am having now is that she rolls over to her stomach and wakes herself up because she doesn’t like being on her stomach. For the last 1.5 months she has been sleeping in the rock n play because of this. Did Mazen have issues rolling over in the crib? I am hoping by 6m she will have more control over this (being able to at least flip back over on her own) and we can do some sleep training.

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99 KERF April 6, 2013 at 10:10 am

The more she does it the better she’ll get, so hopefully it’s brief

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100 Sally April 6, 2013 at 8:35 am

I did this, too, only I don’t think it had a name back then! I did it earlier, though, at about 2.5 months.

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101 Mary-Ann April 6, 2013 at 11:28 am

Kath, I already commented once but I had to come back and say thanks for posting this. We are literally in the middle of this, and having a reference point for a baby like ours (though Mazen seemed to wake a wee bit more) and knowing you made it out ALIVE has been so helpful. I hope you haven’t gotten a bunch of crap comments, because unless you are actually hurting your child, no one gets to say crap about this choice. We simply couldn’t be good parents to our baby anymore because we were so tired, so I think our babe would trade a few cry-ful nights for more endless days with a happy and interactive mom and dad.

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102 KERF April 7, 2013 at 12:44 am

Thankfully not a single crap comment (yet!)

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103 Katy April 7, 2013 at 12:41 am

Your post gave me the guts to go for it. The first night, he seriously cried for 45 seconds and then fell asleep and slept through the night. The second, no crying. The third, some regression and we had to do 1 min, 1 min, 2 min, 3 min, and then sleep. Since then, 10-20 sec of crying and then sleep. Love. Thank you for the courage to go for it!

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104 Tara April 7, 2013 at 8:27 am

Kath, we have the same crib as you and I was wondering how you attached the mesh bumper? The one I bought is too long since it’s meant to go on a regular crib and wrap around the sides, whereas ours has the solid sides. I’ve thought about hemming it, but wanted to see how you did yours.

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105 KERF April 7, 2013 at 10:19 am

I just followed the instructions on the package for cribs with wooden ends – I don’t really remember how I did it, but it involved wrapping it from front to back around the open slats and securing. There wasn’t any extra fabric – just doubled up mesh.

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106 Tanya @ Vegan Faith April 7, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Eleanor is just now 5 months old and is mimicking exactly the patterns of Mazen. Would you have started it as close to 5 months? I have been going back and forth for about two weeks. Our nights are so restless. I cut nursing down to just once at 3:30 or 4am and it is still a wakeful night. I am so encouraged by your post but not sure if it is something we want to try now or wait another month. Also, what were you doing during naptimes these same 5 days? How did those go?

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107 KERF April 7, 2013 at 4:48 pm

I would wait until you know her cries are more protest when she goes down.

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108 KERF April 7, 2013 at 4:49 pm

(Which could be now – or a little later)

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109 Sandy April 7, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Thank you so much for this post, it gave me the nerve to go ahead with sleep training our 9 mo old, I was so nervous! He has always went down easy (because we gave bottle bed), but he started waking up exactly 45 mins after putting him down and we were getting him out and having to calm him down, and usually feed a little more to get him back to sleep. He would also wake up around 3 am alot of times and we would give a bottle.

The first night he cried 45 mins. ( he stands up and puts his arms up, so it was soooo hard). We did the checks, and after that he slept all night. The second night we switched up the routine so we did books, songs, and pjs before bed and put him in wide awake, instead of giving a bottle right before bed. It only took one check that night. Tonight, we put him wide awake, and I left his room with him standing, but it took no checks and fell asleep in less than 5 minutes. Wow, I hope this continues! Thank you so much!

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110 Heather April 8, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Great post Kath! I think all parents sleep train. We just don’t all call it the same thing! I think when people read or hear “sleep training” the automatically think CIO or some other written method. But, whatever it is we are doing, is training our baby one way or the other (or maybe our babies are training us. ;)
I have a 4.5 year old and a 9 month old. We thought we would do the same thing for our second daughter as we did for our first, which was rock her to sleep every night until she was done with being rocked (at about 3 years and no we didn’t mind doing it at all and she was and is a great sleeper). However, our youngest does much better if we use the sing/sway technique and put her down while she is drowsy but not sleeping. If we try to rock her to sleep, she will doze off, then next thing you know, a little hand shoots up and grabs your face while she grins and giggles (stinker!).
Anyway, I don’t think there is any one method of sleep training that is best or that works for all babies and families. Glad you found what seems to be working for you guys!

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111 Lori April 9, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Kath, yours and Caitlin’s sleep training posts have been so great. I was ready to go for the gusto with my soon to be 6 month old when I realized, duh, you guys already had your babies sleeping in the crib. We have been co-sleeping. I have a feeling transitioning from co-sleeping to crib AND sleep training might be more complicated :( Do you know of any bloggers that have been through this and written about their experience? I can’t seem to find much info online about this transition. Seems like most families co-sleep for longer than I want to. I need more space and sleep SOON ;) Anyone out there have any good info on this? Any advice is appreciated! PS- Kath, I’ve been reading for a few years now and really appreciate your informative posts about food, home, baby, etc! I love the new format of KERF :)

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112 KERF April 9, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I don’t know of anyone who has blogged about this. I know books like the No Cry Sleep Solution have advice for the transition, but it was for a very gradual change. Perhaps you could try that first?

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113 Hope April 11, 2013 at 3:52 am

Hey Lori check out mybabysleepguide (http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2010/04/help-your-baby-fall-back-to-sleep-on_25.html) she did a post on this.
Kath, I really enjoyed this post. My wee one is 5 months old on Monday and I so get what you mean about missing them at night, but I am also grateful for my sleep! Mazen is such a cutie, I loved loved that pic of him from your solids post where he’s ferociously going for the spoon! Such a sweet wee man :)

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114 Kelsey September 5, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Hi Lori,

I realize your comment is from five months ago but I am now finding myself in the same situation you were in at the time with wanting to sleep train (possibly CIO) but your babe was still co-sleeping. Did you eventually transition to the crib and train in some way?? Would love to hear how things went for you if your willing! I love cosleeping but I really think my baby would sleep a bit better if he had more space in the night. And was your baby napping in the crib or in your bed? I ask this as I’m laying in bed with my five month so he can get a good nap in past a single sleep cycle :) thanks!!

Ps- Kath, I’ve never considered CIO until reading this post, thanks for writing it months ago! :)

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115 Sandy April 10, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Congrats! Now with the second kid you won’t think twice;) classic first time mommy thing, you will be amazed how fast that second one will sleep! Yeah for sleep training!

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116 Lisa @bitesforbabies April 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm

What a great post! And good for you for sharing your strategy…to each his own! We (as parents) should know better than to judge others. We all have different levels of patience, willpower, etc.
We also used the “Ferber” method…I feel horrible saying it, but it didn’t affect me greatly when my son cried because I knew he was safe and only needed to get over the initial detachment. It was the best thing we could have done because he was falling asleep on his own (no soother) by four months.
I had planned to do the same with my daughter but she is a thumb-sucker so she easily soothes herself…and she was sleeping all night (12 hours!) by 6 weeks!!!!!!

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117 coco April 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm

what do you mean by “peep” Kath?

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118 coco April 23, 2013 at 5:50 am

Kath. we started sleep training last week and I have few questions:

1) did you wean off the 3am feeding from day one?
2) did his naps suffer in the first few days? My baby used to nap for 1.5 hours, after we started sleep training, her naps are shorter if we even get one. She could cry protesting for an hour or more.
3) what temperature do you keep for his room? i’m asking because now that I don’t swaddle her anymore she sleeps in a halo sack and sometimes she has cold hands at time.

Thanks Kath! :) So glad to have you as leader in every developmental milestone. :)

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119 KERF April 23, 2013 at 6:36 am

Yes, we weaned that feeding at doctors recommendation. We had the opposite with naps… His super short ones got longer. I think he was tired too because on day 2 he napped for over 2 hours! I’m sure she’ll sort out naps once her night sleep settles.

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120 coco April 24, 2013 at 5:47 am

thanks Kath. She’s doing better these days, she takes 2 short naps and barely cry. I hope her naps get longer in the next few days. :)

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121 amy April 25, 2013 at 7:50 am

Kath – thank you so much for this post. My little man is two weeks younger than Mazen, and he was waking up 14 times a night screaming for his paci; pretty much every time it fell out during the end of each sleep cycle!
It didn’t go as smoothly as it went for you, but it’s been a week and he cries for about 5 minutes at night before falling asleep. I am really hoping I don’t always have to hear my sweet baby cry himself to sleep every night. That’s heartbreaking. But it’s much better than the first few nights, which took almost an hour.
Did you have any issues with naps? He fights them for hours, even though he’s extremely tired. He’s a grouchy baby all day long now because it takes him two hours to finally cry himself to sleep, exhausted. Then he wakes up, is happy for two hours, then cries another two hours before napping again. I’m going nuts! I’m getting a good night’s sleep, but now my little one is just soooo unhappy :(

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122 KERF April 25, 2013 at 9:26 am

Glad it worked for you!

We are on a pretty regular nap schedule now based on wake time not the clock. His wake times are 2 hours in the morning, then 3 hours, then 2.5-3 hours, then 2 hours. Does that make sense?

If he’s up at 6:30, I put him down around 8:30. Then if he sleeps until 10, he goes back down at 1, 3 hours later. I’d see if you can figure out a sweet spot. M cries for naps about 50% of the time, but he’s getting better and better and rarely cries for more than 5 minutes – and it’s rarely a bad cry.

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123 amy April 29, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Thanks :) Nights are a breeze now. Not even a word of protest. But he still screams 45 minutes for his naps. I totally understand what you’re explaining… I’m trying to find his “sweet spot”… but not having luck yet. I guess it’s just trial and error for now. I was just kind of hoping he’d be as easy as Mazen… LOL.

Still… no paci at least, and he’s finally getting a good night’s sleep. Naps will come next! Thank you for your help!

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124 Racheal @ Running with Racheal April 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I agree – the absolute hardest thing about my daughter sleeping through the night is how much I miss her. But, I like having my sleep back! :)

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125 Amelia April 29, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Aaah, it feels so good to get a full night’s sleep again, doesn’t it?! Lucy was very difficult to sleep train…she could easily cry – hard – for 3-4 hours without pause. I think the difficulty of it all varies depending on the baby, but when the self-soothing begins to work, everyone benefits. Glad you’re getting more rest!

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126 Brooke May 5, 2013 at 5:03 pm

OMG, I am going to try this tonight!

My little guy is 6 months old and is still getting up every 2-3 hours!

We had a few good weeks of sleep between 3-4 months where he slept 5-6 hours in a row but it went back to 2-3 hour blocks once we quit swaddling due to him rolling over. He’s now sitting up and pulling himself up in the crib and crying a lot in the night, I hope this works!

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127 Kimberly May 16, 2013 at 9:26 am

Hi Kath,
I am referring back to this post because I am beginning slepp training with my 5 mth old. She is waking up 5 times a night needing her pacifier to be put in. As part of this sleep training, would I put the pacifier back in or just do 5 min of cry it out with out replacing pacifier. She doesnt want to be held, she just wants the pacifier. Thanks again for your post and help

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128 Sarah May 18, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Great post, Kath! This is such a personal, and often controversial, topic among parents. I have a 17 month old, whom I breastfed for the first year, and am pregnant with my 2nd child. My child slept 7-8 hours a night starting at 7 weeks and was sleeping 12 hours a night by 12 weeks. At 17 months, she is still sleeping 11-12 hours a night with 2-3 hours of naps each day. I credit her good sleep habits to the book, On Becoming Baby Wise, by Gary Ezzo and Robert Buckman. It is a wonderful resource that helps parents to establish a wake/feed/play/sleep schedule with their babies. The basic premise of the book says that if you keep a consistent routine of wake/feed/play/sleep throughout the day, your baby will begin to sleep through the night on his/her own. I didn’t really need to “sleep train” — using the Baby Wise method helped my child to establish healthy sleep habits without my intervention. I will definitely be using this method with Baby #2!

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129 Melanie June 8, 2013 at 4:12 pm

If M got drowsy, and you put him down for a nap, but he wasn’t falling asleep, was there a limit as to how long you’d let him go before you’d say nap time is over? If nap wasn’t successful, would you try another nap again a little later?

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130 KERF June 8, 2013 at 8:36 pm

I didn’t have a set time, but maybe about 30 minutes max? I knew by wake times that he was often ready about 2-2.5 hours from last wake up (now it’s 3-4 hours later) so I could get it right most of the time

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131 Bells July 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Thanks for sharing, I started sleep training of my 7 month old LO last night and he pretty much followed a similar pattern,I am waiting for night 2 today and hope all goes well. Sucks to see LO crying miserably for an hour the first time:). Wanted to check what exactly do u mean by “Peep” , Is it you peeping in his room or the LO just peeping to see if all’s ok.
Another question- Did u ever felt the need of feeding him at night ?

Thanks

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132 KERF July 17, 2013 at 7:53 pm

I mean peep like “the baby made a peep” – a little cry/noise but only for a second.

I didn’t feel the need to feed him. My doctor said he didn’t need it physically and since he’s been in the 90th percentile for a long time, we knew he was doing well

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133 Michelle August 6, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Hi! I also read Caitlin’s post that you linked, and I’m wondering if you too tackled naps at first, and then bedtime, or both at once?

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134 KERF August 6, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Both

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135 Michelle August 6, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Ok Thanks! Did you remove the pacifier completely during non-sleep times?

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136 KERF August 6, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Yeah, but he wasn’t really into it when he was awake

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137 Kelly August 8, 2013 at 8:40 am

What position do you lay your baby in? My baby prefers tummy sleeping but gets frustrated on her belly when awake and isn’t able to roll herself very well yet.

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138 Sherri August 17, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Veteran mother of 32 years, Registered Nurse (Emergency) for 25: PLEASE put your babies on their backs to sleep! This has been the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics for many years to reduce the incidence of SIDS.

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139 Tenille August 20, 2013 at 3:58 pm

My son is 5.25 months old. We are starting sleep training but he is in a stage where he rolls over onto his tummy and then uses his back legs to push himself with his face down in the mattress…he will do this while semi-sleeping and pushes himself into the sides of the crib, bashing his head. As well he will whine and fuss while doing this until he is so frusterated he starts crying…did u ever deal with this? I usually have to roll him back over to his side or back, and re-position him in the middle of the crib and then hold him with my hand so he wont roll back over and re-start the pushing…sigh…

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140 Emily September 16, 2013 at 8:06 am

So we just started sleep training for our soon last night and he cried on and
Off for 30 mins and then fell asleep. Overall the first night
Was so much better than nights we have had in the past. I do have
A question about the pacifier. My son is attached to his pacifier
And needs it at night as a soother. So during the night when he does wake up
He looks for his pacifier. How did you overcome
The pacifier issue and what actions did you do?
Thanks

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141 KERF September 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm

We sleep trained and took away the paci all at once. Cold turkey. M liked his, but he didn’t seem to miss it either

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142 Jodi September 27, 2013 at 10:39 am

To experience moms that took away the paci cold turkey how did your lo sooth themselves to sleep. I really don’t want her to suck thumb because it will be hard to break the habit later. I know it’s natural for them but how can I avoid this I know it sounds mean but I am wondering should I do it now or wait until she can replace it,

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143 vicki October 2, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Hi. We started sleep training tonight as my baby is used to falling asleep nursing and I want to get her a) in the habit of putting herself back to sleep when she wakes at night without a feed and b) be able to put her down for naps in the day without having to have a feed.

At bedtime I nursed her as usual but instead of putting her down asleep I kept her a little bit awake. We took it in turns and actually went in every 5 minutes as she was crying excessively and by 25 mins she had put herself to sleep. I will repeat this tonight if she wakes at what I call “silly times” i.e. 1 hour after I’ve just fed her. My main question is about night feeding. The technique you suggest seems to aim at totally cutting out night feedings. My baby has her last feed at 6:30pm then will wake for feeds at 12ish and 3ish before waking for good at around 6:30pm. Does the technique suggest that instead of feeding her at these times I should be doing 5/10 minute visits to get her back to sleep and cut out feeds all together from day one of the technique??l

For your reference she is 6 months and 1 week and is on the 9th centile so is fairly small for her age, she weighed 14lbs at her last weigh in 4 weeks ago.

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144 KERF October 2, 2013 at 7:53 pm

I would talk to your doctor about the night feedings. Mazen definitely did not need anything at night anymore, but he was also in a high percentile. We were down to one feeding at night when we sleep trainEd

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145 Katie October 11, 2013 at 4:44 am

Hi there,

Your blog post is the first literature on sleep training that has really struck a chord with me and given me hope. My son is 4.5 months. He has gone stretches from 9pm-3:45AM a few times or 9pm-2:30 in the past followed by additional wake ups every 2 hours after those long stretches. Lately, he’ll sleep 9-1:00 for a feeding…then 4:00ish…then either 6:30ish or 7ish…He is 17.11 lbs and in the 84th percentile for weight and my pediatrician said it’s ok to sleep train at his 4th month checkup. I also started him on cereal (as per her recommendation) once a day.

I am exclusively breastfeeding on demand in addition to offering solids once a day. I know you posted that you knew your son was gaining weight, but how do I get the confidence and assurance that my son doesn’t need any of these feedings throughout the night? I am concerned that I’ll be depriving him of feedings he needs, but does he actually need them
or is a good portion of these wakings out of habit? It’s difficult to embark on sleep training when I desperately need more sleep (the broken sleep has taken it’s toll on me immensely), but am anxious about leaving my baby hungry.

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146 Katie October 11, 2013 at 7:57 am

Hi Kath,

I have another question.y son typically has a wake time window of 2-2.5 hours as well before he gets fussy and wants a nap. I take him to his nursery, nurse and rock him to sleep in my glider and then put him down for his nap. He usually has one 2 hour nap and two smaller catnaps (30-45 minutes) a day. When you put your son down for a nap, do you just place him in the crib without any breastfeeding and rocking?

Thanks

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147 Samantha October 16, 2013 at 9:51 pm

I need help!!! Thanks for writing this it gives me hope. Stumbled upon this blog by googling sleep training and my question is…. How do you know when the cry is just to much, what I mean is my daughter will scream and cry until she coughs and gags! :/ I’m at stay at home mom so I feel bad for even thinking to sleep train but she won’t nap during the day without being held and then only for 30 mins maybe. And at night she falls asleep drinking a bottle but wakes up a couple hours later and can’t go back up sleep on her own. I just need advice!!!!

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148 Samantha October 18, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Can anyone help me!!?? Any advice would be appreciated!

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149 Bernadette October 17, 2013 at 9:55 am

Would I be able to email you?

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150 KERF October 17, 2013 at 11:17 am

I’m sorry but I’m not a sleep expert!

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151 Bernadette October 17, 2013 at 11:46 am

Hi!

Ok just one quick question, was M able to sleep/nap
Anywhere ? How did he self sooth??? Thanks !

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152 Brittany Marr October 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm

so did you stop the pacifier at bedtime or are you still having to play the out the pacifier back in the mouth 100 times… my daughter spits hers out then gets upset so I have to go put it back time and time again?

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153 KERF October 25, 2013 at 9:07 pm

We took it away cold turkey

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154 Jess November 6, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Thank you for sharing your experience. My husband and I are excited to start next week after we have a little more time to discuss things and make sure we are on the same page. I’m even inspired to try quitting the paci cold turkey now. :) One thing I did want to ask.. My son is 8.5 mo and only this month started sleeping in his crib (prev in rock and play). When he wakes up in the middle of the night peeping if we don’t rush in he can go back to sleep on his own. But if he wakes crying hard, we rush in quickly as if we get the paci back in soon enough the paci and some patting are enough to console him. If we wait a few min he gets into a rage and will never settle without being picked up, rocked, etc. My fear is that if we leave him for five, ten min and then go in to comfort him for thirty sec there will be no comforting done at all. If he doesn’t settle down do we still leave after thirty sec or if he is consistently not comforted this way for a few nights would that mean we should try pupd in your opinion? Thanks so much. :)

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155 KERF November 6, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Remember your goal is for him to comfort himself. Your checks are to remind and reassure him that you are there and he has not been abandoned and is safe. Does that make sense?

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156 Jodi November 13, 2013 at 9:25 am

Thanks for sharing your experience. Your lo sound likes mine and your right it’s tiresome. He too has a paci and up every 45mi to an hour naps are 45min. I was just wondering prior to sleep training did he have the paci durning the day. We are trying to wean are lo durning the day and it’s hard. Also did you offer a blanket or stuff toy? How did your lo self soothe at night? Was it hard to console him durning the day with out the paci and how long did it take yours to forget about it durning the day? Sorry so many ?. Just nervous about getting rid of the paci completely. Thanks and appreciated your experience.

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157 Jodi November 13, 2013 at 11:52 am

Also is there any other website that you recommend to go too, your website I find was very informative and wondering if there is more experience like yours. Like a said just nervous about it the whole crying.

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158 Jess November 13, 2013 at 10:16 am

Yes, makes total sense. Thank you for this reminder! It can be easy to lose sight of the goal. Our first two nights went GREAT! Night 1 we had 30 min of crying and then slept until 7:07am with just a few peeps & squawks. Night 2 we had 1 min of crying and then slept until 7:40am with just a few peeps. But naps are a different story. :( Yesterday he cried the full hour and I gave up on nap 1. Nap 2 he cried 25 min and then slept 50min. Nap 3 he cried the full hour and we gave up again. And nap 4 he cried 25 min and then slept 43min. He is currently 40 min into crying through nap 1. Does this sound like we are going ok?? I feel bad letting him cry so long but hate to jump ship since nights have gone so well. Any thoughts?

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159 KERF November 13, 2013 at 11:01 am

I would guess he’s not tired and maybe just switch up your naps so he is?

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160 Brandi November 20, 2013 at 6:53 am

Did your son ever wake up crying in the morning or after a nap? We tried this method for the first time last night and on top of being congested from all the crying he also woke up upset. Even after we got him out of bed he was fussing. Any thoughts?

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161 Lisa December 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm

This was such a great read and I feel encouraged. I start sleep training tonight and I’m nervous, but I’m keeping my eye on the prize.

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162 Lisa December 6, 2013 at 1:40 pm

I have a quick question. So I just started sleep training. I put him down around 7:30, so should he not get a bottle until 6:30-7?

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163 Mary Jo December 11, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Hi,
I have been doing the CIO for 5 nights now and it doesn’t seem to be working. She’s more of a grunty than a crier. My pedi says at her age, she needs to nurse after 6-8 hour stretch. Her bedtime is 6 and she’s always gone down no problem- it’s staying down that it. I don’t nurse to sleep and she goes down awake. I let her cry/fuss if it’s before midnight but after that I will go in and feed her. Then I won’t feed her again until 5 am and that’s only because if I don’t she’ll be up for good, but if I feed her she stays down until about 7-7:30. We’ve been doing the Ferber method, going in after 5 min. not picking up but rubbing her back and calming her down, reassuring her we’re still here. She’ll calm down but cry when we leave. Sometimes it takes 45 min. Sometimes when she wakes up throughout the night it takes 45 min. every time. I haven’t noticed a pattern of getting better. I feel like I sleep trained her the opposite- to wake up every 2 hours and comfort suck and I have been trying to break this for 5 nights now. I too rushed in there the second she made a sound since day 1. She is now 8 months. Any thoughts/suggestions would be so appreciated as I am saddened by this……TIA.

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164 steph December 12, 2013 at 7:08 am

hi kath

i know you’re not a sleep expert, though your post makes you look like one, so it is hard not to ask for advice!

my daughter is going through a similar 4 mo regression as Mazen–in your estimation, do you think it is counter-productive to train during a regression? some nights she is up a lot (maybe 5-6 times) and i feel like i need to do something about it, but then again it seems like a lot to expect to teach a baby new habits at a time when he or she is growing/developing/changing so much. do you think riding out the regression and waiting till they are a bit older is, ultimately, helpful?

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165 KERF December 12, 2013 at 1:22 pm

I have heard not to train in a regression, but I don’t really know for sure if it would work or not. I felt more comfortable waiting until Mazen was older

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166 Laura December 28, 2013 at 6:25 am

Thanks so much for writing your blog about sleep training. I had a 2 month period of ‘sleep regression’, not getting any better – made worse by me responding to every cry. After a month of 1-2 hourly wake ups enough was enough and I started to research controlled crying (having previously sworn against and tried the no cry methods which made things worse). We are just after night 2. Less crying than if we hadn’t done it, she slept straight from 8:30 -1, a few cries at 4 and 5. I fed and changed at 6:30 and she went down for another 2 hours. Hope to see continued progress, it will save my sanity. You blog was honest and clear and gave me the hope that it would work and be worth it. It is! Thank you Laura and Baby Meg

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167 Laura December 30, 2013 at 5:42 am

P.S night 3, 10 hours straight sleep :)

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168 Roushka January 8, 2014 at 11:36 am

Thanks for posting this! This sounds A LOT like our son. Just wondering what you did for naps? We are currently sleep training and I’m finding naps very hard. He takes 20-30mins to fall asleep. Also, We’re still feeding him twice in the night. 11pm ‘dreamfeed’ and 4:30ish breastfeed. I’m wondering if I should drop one of these? Otherwise, we’ve made a whole lot of progress. No more random wakings and hubby and I doing tag team to soothe him!

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169 Jenny January 13, 2014 at 4:31 pm

I have been looking into sleep training my 6 month old as she is keeping us awake, but then I stumbled on this website which lists 8 reasons why not to sleep train. It kind of made me think twice, now I’m not sure what to do. anyway here it is http://www.alternative-mama.com/8-reasons-to-avoid-sleep-training-your-baby/ please help!

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170 KERF January 13, 2014 at 10:07 pm

All I can say is that it was one of the best decisions we made for our family

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171 Amy February 19, 2014 at 1:47 pm

I can’t thank you enough for this account of your sleep training experience. We are about a year behind you, with a daughter that’s just now 5 months old, and we followed the exact same method this week for sleep training her that you did with Mazen. I had no idea it would be so good for us all! She has responded easily it, and we only had to go in twice on the first night, and just once the second night and that was at about 5 am after she had been asleep a good long while. Last night (night 3) she slept for almost 12 hours straight!! I can’t tell you how exhausted we were from the fragmented, paci-replacing, restless sleep we were all getting. Naps are still a struggle and I’m sure we’ll still have ups and downs, out it’s all so encouraging.

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172 Grace February 19, 2014 at 6:11 pm

While sleep training:
During day sleeps when baby wakes after one sleep cycle of 40 min,
Do you let her cry it out and fall asleep on her own or go in and soothe again
Or just let her stay up and hope she has a longer sleep for next one?
Thank you. Your site was very helpful.

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173 Supermouse February 21, 2014 at 8:04 am

That’s pretty much how it went for us. My twins were 6mos old when we decided to do what you did, and it took 4 nights, very similar to what you described. After those 4 nights, they slept from 7p to 6a most of the time, wo/waking up. They took 2 naps/day until about 18mos old, then dropped to one nap/day until 3yrs old.

They are 5yrs old now, and still share a room. They still go bed well most of the time (sometimes they like to fool around!) and I have no regrets about the sleep training.

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174 Kim March 3, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Kath, I know this post is old but I have been referring to it a few times a day recently. We are transitioning our 6 month old girl from our bed into her crib, her room and I was SO anxious about letting her cry herself to sleep but I read this post over and over again, much like reading birth stories gave me confidence during labor & delivery. Well… IT WORKED :) I put her in her crib, she cried for 10 minutes (while I ate cupcakes and read a magazine to distract myself), I went in and wiped her forehead with a cool washrag since she sweats a lot when she cries, told her I loved her and left the room again, 7 minutes later OUT LIKE A LIGHT. She’s in there now sleeping on her belly (also a first for us) and I’m in here singing hallelujah! Thank you so much for taking the time to post your story, it has helped us tremendously :-)

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175 Ashley March 31, 2014 at 5:37 pm

I know it has been a year since you sleep trained Mazen, but your post has been so helpful for us in sleep training our daughter. We have had great success with nights, but naps are very difficult. Did you experience this? thank you.

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176 KERF March 31, 2014 at 8:16 pm

I honestly don’t remember that much other than what’s in this post. We were on an every-2-hours-from-wake time schedule and so I put him down and I think he fussed it out a few times, but we didn’t have any major crying after sleep training was over.

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177 Kasi April 5, 2014 at 5:57 am

Thank you for writing this. I read it while listening to my son cry last night as we started sleep training. It helped me remember how well it had worked with my daughter, and why I was doing this… Though it didn’t stop the tears on my side either.
Thank you again.

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178 Ellen April 10, 2014 at 2:58 am

Hi, thanks for sharing this, it helped my son very much when he was 8 months. After 1 month training, he is muh better. But sometimes, once every 2 weeks, he is off th pattern, with big cries, then the whole sleeping pattern is disurbed, need t do the trainig (2 nights normally) again. Is that what you experienced? What is your advice on it? What is the age when the little one can learn t sleep by himself without the help of sleeping training?

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179 KERF April 10, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Could it be related to teething?

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180 Susan April 11, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Hi there, I stumbled upon this after googling sleep training in desperation after having not slept in 5 mths. My 5 mth old would wake up every 3 hours and sometimes every hour. I would co-sleep bc it would be the only way I could get any rest. My husband and I agreed to try this out and be committed for both daytime and nighttime sleep. The first two nights were hard with my baby boy crying one and a half hours with lots of tears. And daytime naps, he would cry sometimes up to 45 minutes. But we stuck to it going in every 10 mins and soothing without picking up. On night 3, our boy slept 8 hours straight! It is a MIRACLE. I’m posting this to share with the other mums that it is possible. Our boy is very high spirited and I was pretty sure it wouldn’t work. But it has! Thank you, thank you!!!

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181 KERF April 11, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Yay! Glad you had success!

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182 Karey April 19, 2014 at 7:54 pm

I’m usually very hesitant to comment (I have no clue why!) – but I found your blog post after searching about sleep training – there’s a lot of articles out there but I wanted to read a real mama’s experience :) I wanted to say thank you – this post was SO SO helpful in giving me the extra “push” I needed to make the decision to give sleep training a try. Your pre-sleep training behavior sounds SO much like my experience with my son, though he’s a bit younger than Mazen was (he’s 5 months). The pacifier has been my worst enemy at night and for naps – constant wakings to put it back in ALL night long. I felt like for naps I was glued to my monitor to be ready to get in and put it back before he fully woke up.

I was debating sleep training and something in my gut told me he was ready. After reading your post (and noticing the similarities) I figured I had nothing to lose. We are now on night #3 – and though he’s not quite there, things are 100 times better than they were and I can see the progress made in just a few nights (and we are pacifier free!!) I’m confident that soon we’ll be in a good pattern and routine. So I guess I wanted to say THANKS for your post and honesty :)

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183 Kath April 20, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Yay I’m so glad!!

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184 Dee Payne April 29, 2014 at 5:09 am

We were struggling with the pacifier, too. On night 1, I made the mistake of keeping it. So, I really think Night 2 was our Night 1, because I had to start over. The paci kept giving her false comfort. Tonight (night 2) we are pacifier free, and I’m so glad. She still wakes up, but she has been able to self soothe every time and get back to sleep without it. I don’t regret having a paci for those younger months, but I honestly don’t think she needs it now, after experiencing a night without it. It was just standing in the way of good sleep, because we (like you) would rush in to replace it every time it fell out of her mouth – many, many times during the day and night. I’m looking forward to seeing the full effects of sleep training when we’re done, but I’m already feeling better about this. THANKS for posting about the paci experience. I’ve read a LOT of blogs/websites/etc, and nobody has really addressed this issue. Glad to know it worked for you!

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185 Dee Payne April 29, 2014 at 5:00 am

Thanks so much for your posts. I’m currently in night 2 of sleep training our 6 month-old girl. This is all new to me, because my first child slept through the night from month 2 and never looked back. He’s now almost 4, and still sleeping great. We were just a little “spoiled” according to our doctor. After 6 months of getting up 4-6 times a night, I said “enough!!!!” I did some research (lots of research), found a few sites similar to yours, and jumped in! Like your experience, it’s going better than expected. I’ve been looking at your notes from what happened each night, and that’s very helpful. The only thing I’m unsure about is…waking up in the morning. How do I know she’s ready to wake up, and doesn’t just need to CIO for a while and go back to sleep? Obviously, if she wakes up babbling and smiling, then I know she’s ready. But if she wakes up at say, 6:00, crying, I’m not quite sure what to do. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

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186 Kath April 29, 2014 at 4:25 pm

When m wakes up crying he’s usually not ready to get up (unless he’s sick). That’s been my gauge.

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187 Dee April 30, 2014 at 1:39 pm

okay, nights are going great. It’s working. Naps…not so much. She’s getting through that first 30-45 minute sleep cycle, then waking up screaming (eyes still closed). I’ve tried the same wait it out techniques that have been successful at night time, but I can’t get her to fall back asleep for the 2nd portion of her nap. She’s obviously not ready to wake, but she can’t get back to sleep for some reason. Then she’s whiny and fussy the rest of the day because she’s tired. Ugh!!!! Any suggestions, anyone???

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188 Kath May 1, 2014 at 10:37 am

I would just keep doing your comfort checks at 5 or 10 minute intervals until she’s back down or maybe like 30-40 minutes goes by

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189 Renee May 9, 2014 at 2:37 pm

I love this post! We sleep trained our first daughter at 7.5 months in 3 nights! And I’m just about to start with our second daughter at 6 months, and I’m feeling the same anxiousness I felt when we started with our first, expect this time I know it works! This time around we’ll be taking her paci away, so I’m a little nervous for that, but I’m hoping our experience goes much the same as yours with your son. Thanks for writing this, even though I’ve already been through sleep training, I love to read other people’s experiences as we start again with our second daughter, and this post was wonderfully detailed. Cheers to good sleep hopefully by next week ;)

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190 Gina May 14, 2014 at 1:23 pm

This was the best post I’ve found in my sleep training research! Our son is 8.5 months, and I believe he started with a sleep regression in mid-April and never got back on track until now. We’ve been pretty successful at night, using this method, but naps are still not going well. We’re trying the same method, but he doesn’t seem to be taking to it like he has at bedtime. He fusses much longer before he falls asleep and he only usually sleeps 30-35 minutes at the longest. Any suggestions?!

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191 Rebecca June 15, 2014 at 12:10 am

Hi Kara,

My baby will be 5 mos in a few days. Do you think it’s too early for sleep training? She puts herself to sleep for all naps and bedtime (with some soothing down much of the time). She has done a few 4 abd 5 hour stretches lately at the beginning of the night, but after that I pull her into bed and she is up quite frequently. Also, she has started catnapping most of the time, doing 4-5 30 min naps.

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192 Kim July 1, 2014 at 9:49 am

Just wanted to say congratulations! Sleep training is not easy but it’s so worth it! I was opposed to crying with my first baby, until at 14 months we were nearly insane with sleep deprivation. Like you, in 4 nights the problem was solved. Everyone is so much happier and better rested because of those 4 nights. Thanks for sharing your story!

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193 Carrie July 28, 2014 at 7:13 pm

Just a quick question, did you stop using the pacifier when you started sleep training?

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194 Kath July 29, 2014 at 9:10 pm

Yes, cold turkey. He didn’t seem to miss it. I think we were still in that sweet spot before he really knew that he was addicted to it outwardly.

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195 Veronica August 14, 2014 at 10:34 pm

Thank you so much for sharing!!!! I did this with my 3 year and a half boy and it worked. I know have a six month old and I am crying myself just thinking about letting Emma cry but I know it works. I love your last paragraph so much since I am really sad I won’t be able to snuggle my little one at night again…:( A big challenge for us is that we have her in my room because we just have two rooms so I am not sure how to handle that. I will pass her to her brother’s once she is complete train. Thank you again for sharing your experience.

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196 Rachel August 20, 2014 at 10:33 am

I am a first-time mom of a four-month-old. She’s not sleeping great but we’ve held off from sleep training so far. Your post gives me hope for the future!

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197 Kelly September 4, 2014 at 11:20 am

Thank you for sharing. I am beginning sleep training this weekend with my 6 month old and his current sleep status, day and night, are almost exact to Mazen’s. It is refreshing to hear you have had success! While I understand all babies are different, my 6 month old has been much different than my first son, I appreciate hearing I am not alone!!

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198 Rachel September 18, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Thank you so much for sharing! I have a 5 month old who is now rolling over onto her tummy. Whenever she rolls over, she wakes herself up! I think that once she learns how to roll onto her back, we will be golden. My question is: how did you get him to nap? This is something that we REALLY struggle with!

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