23.10.13

sleep training 3.0

**Like many parenting techniques 
(think co-sleeping, formula feeding, extended breastfeeding), 
sleep training seems to be quite polarizing with big fans for it 
and critics against it. I'm not recommending this for others
 or saying it's the only way, just sharing our experiences :)

YES! The time has come, it's time to SLEEP. We've starting sleep training, for the third time! It's brutally hard as a parent to delve into the world of sleep training - I know from experiencing this twice already - but it's oh, so worth it. Chloé, let's do this girl.


After seeing such enormous success sleep training Lily with the Babywise method, we were eager to do it with Oli, too. He took longer than she did to master his schedule but I think part of that was our fault. We were less consistent with him because we were worried about normalcy for Lily, so it was hard living on his schedule when it meant doing less with Lily (trips out of the house, etc). Though the initial sleep training isn't more than a couple of weeks, it was still hard to go full-on with Oli when we had Lily to think about. Plus when we sleep trained Lily it was in a larger condo where her bedroom was farther away... point being? Crying wasn't so hard to live through. With Oli, it felt like during the times when he'd need to cry-it-out, it was a pervasive cry all around us and it was hard to get through. I caved a lot and was less disciplined, which resulted in a harder time for all of us. To this day Oli isn't as great a sleeper as Lily and we often wonder if it's because with her we were so structured and hardcore with sleep training and much less so with Oli.

We've started with Chloe and it's already amazing! Babywise is the kind of parenting method that you have to do full on or it doesn't tend to work, so it's been a week of sticking to a very strict schedule, but already she's adapted incredibly! Before we started, Chloe was staying up until about 1am every night and when she'd wake for her night feed (around 3 or 4am), it was a two hour affair. So she was never really sleeping longer than three hours. Now she follows the above schedule almost to the tee, and after her 11pm feed she sleeps right until 4am! The five hours in a row is bliss. She's also taking her first three naps really well - no crying when I put her down and she sleeps right until the two hours are up. Where we're having trouble is the 5-7pm nap (she usually cries straight through) and the "bedtime" and evening sleep from 8-11pm (she sleeps and fusses on and off).

There has been some bad press about Babywise that I'd like to quickly clear up. I've read and heard of babies failing to thrive on this schedule, loosing weight, and mom's milk supply dwindling. It's important to know that the book never suggests following this schedule until mom's milk supply is well established and baby is over birth weight, and if baby ever seems hungry to first feed her before putting her back to sleep/cry-it-out. Babywise babies I know (those whose parents follow the book to the tee and did the scheduling full-on) are often very chubby, and actually gain weight on the schedule since they are eating and sleeping much more regularly than otherwise, making them very healthy.

Babywise principles are well supported, but I suggest following them along with a strict schedule since my babies tend to need that frame to really grasp the naps and night sleeping. But if scheduling and crying it out isn't your thing (I don't blame you, it's not for everyone!), these can still be really helpful.
  • Baby shouldn't be awake longer than 1-1.5 hours
  • Baby should nap no less than 1.5 hours, ideally 2 hours
  • Baby should eat every 2.5-3 hours and have a full feed
  • Baby should nap often during the day but proper lengths of time
  • Baby should have limited soothing tools so she learns on her own (motion, swings, nursing to sleep, etc)
Also, since it's so early, we're using the sleep hierarchy as we aim for her to ultimately grasp the Babywise schedule, which is:

Top priority:  Baby sleeps when she should (naps, night)
2nd priority: Baby sleeps when she should, in her own bed (not in a swing, in your arms, etc)
3rd priority: Baby sleeps when she should, in her own bed, and falls asleep on her own (not fed to sleep, rocked to sleep, etc)

Right now we're just focusing on the top/1st priority!

We've loved this form of sleep training in the past because of the results, not because it was easy! It's quite challenging for the whole family at first - adjusting to baby's schedule for the initial training weeks (eventually the best part is that the baby is able to sleep anywhere!) and hearing her cry at times. But I'm ready to dive in. Because I'm ready to sleep through the night, myself ;)

You can read about our past adventures in Babywise here and here

I've read the book over and over again, but I still have to write out the baby's schedule every time we start or transition to a new schedule. Above is the schedule for a Babywise baby at first. It says 0-3months for simplicity, but I wouldn't recommend starting Babywise until your baby is at least 1 month old (and the book suggests waiting until breastfeeding is well underway, so that will change depending on the person). It's just helpful for me to have a visual. I made these to remind me, feel free to use them also.  Below are the next steps for Babywise. You'll notice naps are always 2 hours but awake time gradually increases. The dream feed eventually is dropped and Babywise babies end up sleeping 12 hours at night very consistently. I've never met a family who did Babywise full-on and didn't see this result! It does take time and there are sacrifices to this type of strict scheduling, but guys, it works LIKE A BOSS.



What have you done for sleep training in the past? 
There are so many books + methods out there! 

42 comments:

  1. I hate to ask a dumb question, but I don't have any kids so I don't know if this even occurs - what if baby doesn't feel like waking up after only 2 hours? Would you wake her up intentionally or just let her sleep until she naturally wakes?

    Also - We won't have the luxury of staying home with baby after 1 year, so how do you think this would work for daycare providers? I'm assuming you would have to find out when they normally structure naptime and try to adapt to it?

    Thanks for this and other posts on your blog - when I have a baby you will be a huge resource for me!

    Joanna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not a dumb question Joanna :)

      After two hours, you must wake them. When babies nap longer than two hours they can be super groggy and sleep less at night. It can be so hard to wake a sleeping baby - they can sometimes sleep through anything! But you try your very best.

      The goal of Babywise is to structure their day so that they in turn sleep 12 hours at night. Usually 7pm-7am. Once the baby has grasped the 12 hours at night, naps can be much more flexible. If the daycare has them napping at different times, don't worry. By 1 year your baby would be sleeping through the night presumably, so they can handle the change in naps :)

      Delete
  2. this is great! I will be using this with BB2. as a very LAX mom in sleeping the first time, it has made some areas of my life MISERABLE. As I type this my toddler is sleeping on the couch. that's bc she sleeps when, where, and how long she wants. We have tried to get her out of the habits, but when we let her CIO now, she is clearly full of anxiety after only a few minutes (crocodile tears, pink face, hiccups, screams, and clinging to my neck when I go to check on her). It breaks my heart, and I think she's just a bit too old now, so we may have to approach things differently.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just to warn you, at any age letting a child cry it out is hard! crocodile tears and all the rest you mentioned is par for the course. Though I agree that the sooner they start the easier it is to grasp. After 18 months of building habits it's hard to break them! One pro to Babywise is the anxiety thing - when you leave them for a nap, let them cry it out, and come back every.single.time you build trust with your child and teach them that you'll always come back and that there isn't anything to be afraid of with going to sleep. Some parents reason that leaving them to cry will create anxiety or trust issues but if you never let them experience that they won't learn to trust you because they'll never have to.

      Delete
    2. I know I just have such a HARD time with it. It's the toughest thing. We will need to try again soon though. Although I know Penny trusts me, despite not having her CIO for long. I don't think that's the only way to build trust (if it is, there's lots of parents with kids who don't trust them!)

      Delete
    3. I'm sure she does trust you, and I certainly didn't say its the only way to build trust , just that it helps build trust for babies.

      Delete
  3. My friend Mel posted this article on Facebook recently. I thought it was pretty funny but also confusing, since all the books obviously claim to be right! Me sharing this is only for a laugh and not meant to be negative toward your method of choice since what the heck do I know!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hilarious! There literally is a book to advocate and demonize every form of parenting! I found you just have to decide what you want to do and stick to it. There is evidence for and against everything. Such a funny read, thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  4. I find this really interesting as I have used parts of this method. I have really really really sleepy babies. During their first weeks of life I honestly probably only saw their eyes open for a few minutes each day. Macy especially was small and 2 weeks early so she slept all the time. We sleeptrained Levi at 6 months and let him cry it out. He was sleeping 12 hours - minus a quick 10 minute feed at 3am. It only took 3 nights to cut that out. Since then he sleeps 12 hours a night and still does two naps a day (each for 2 hours) and he is 20 months.

    Macy just hit 3 months and sleeps through the night like a boss with no sleep training. She sleeps from 9pm until 6/7 every night. I also NEVER EVER wake a sleeping baby. There are days she goes 5 hours before her next feed and the next day 2 hours but she is such a good tempered baby. I was planning on letting her cry it out eventually if she didn't sleep through the night - but because she was only a 5 pound (& 9 ounce) baby I fed her on demand but she seems to have put herself on her own schedule.

    I guess what I'm saying is I'm torn about the babywise method. I have never really had to use it.... but I think I would definitely consider it an option if I was desperate for sleep. And every baby is different so we may be using it eventually.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like you have amazing natural sleepers! Lucky mama!

      Oli was suuuuper drowsy all the time like you described your babies. Chloé has been so alert. Her first 24 hours she seriously only slept 4 hours. Exhausting!

      Feeding on demand at the start is pretty universally recommended - by babywise too, especially if you have a newborn! I think it's great you did that, and it seems she didn't need sleep training anyway the way she sleeps!

      Enjoy my friend :)

      Delete
  5. Do you go in to comfort your babies if they have been crying for a long period of time? I have a seven week old, and I just started sleep training this week. She cries for a long time! I have gone in and patted her belly and soothed her, which stops the tears, but they start right back up as soon as I leave. Also, when and if she does fall asleep after CIO, she wakes up after a short time. We swaddle her at night, and she's a great night sleeper, but it's the naps we're having trouble with. I didn't want to swaddle her for naps because I didn't want her to be totally dependent on the swaddle to sleep, but I'm thinking maybe that would keep her asleep for longer during naps? What are your thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lara, I'd say it depends. You need to follow your baby closely, even on schedule. If she's teething or having a rough day, you might only let her cry it out for a short time before going in. Or if she hasn't pooped all day you might go in if she's crying-it-out to double check that she has a clean diaper. You've really got to read them, which gets easy since no one knows your baby like you do. Babywise says you can always go in, check on baby, comfort them as you said, but then leave again. If baby calms down the second she sees you and cries again when you leave it's a good sign that she's not in need of anything - just lonely :) That helps me listen to the cries because I know that my babies aren't hurt or hungry - they're just wanting to party!

      I think swaddling is great and I do it with my baby and have for all three. It's supposed to resemble the tighness of being in the womb or something, and so is good for soothing them and making them comfy. I don't see a problem with it, but it's up to you! I think it's mostly newborns that really love being swaddled because it's like the womb, so I don't think you'd have to worry about becoming dependent on it - I don't know many people who swaddle past a couple months old because babies get so big it becomes impossible. Right now, with our baby (5 weeks old) I swaddle for every sleep time (naps and night).

      Delete
  6. Thanks, Emily! That is really helpful. I am swaddling for every nap now, and she sleeps two hours like a charm. Before she was waking herself up after 20-30 minutes or so because of her flailing arms. I'm not sure I'm doing it "by the book" at least Babywise book...but after two days of attempting a schedule, she slept 7 straight hours at night! That was enough encouragement for me to keep going.

    I love your blog! You are a great mom! Can't believe you have three and you are younger than me. But we are wanting to have our babies close together as well. Makes for a few years of crazy, but then all the crazy is in one span. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so sweet! Thank you!

      Delete
  7. Anonymous16.9.14

    We follow the same schedule! Baby Wise has been awesome.... Quick question, Our LO has a fussy time (same as yours) from 5-7p. Any hints/suggestions on how to survive or help them work thru this time so they are less fussy?? Any advice/insight is welcomed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. those fussy times are tough, I usually just try to keep busy and not let the fussing get to me! some people swear by carriers during those times...

      Delete
  8. Do you always stay true to schedule? Whether or not baby slept or slept only for a short time? I'm asking because I'm going to start sleep training. :)) so I guess this question is suitable for the beginning stages.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. try your best to stay true to it, yes!

      Delete
  9. I'm wondering if anyone has a any advice on using sleep training with a 4 week old that is comfort nursing. I'm trying to do the wake, eat, play, nap schedule, but it is more like wake, eat, play, eat, nap. We have tried numerous things to get him to sleep, but he will only fall asleep while nursing. We also have a very active toddler that keeps the baby from falling asleep. Please help! I'm really stressed out and have to return to work in a few weeks. Any advice would be great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. start sleep training around 6 weeks, once breast milk supply is established :)

      Delete
  10. My sweet little guy is now 6 months but I remember in the end days of my pregnancy reading this post. I looked to it all the time, usually exhausted and half awake, but this was such an amazing resource for me. I printed out these schedules and have them close by to remind myself.
    Thank you so much for being a voice of reason and comfort for me in those early days where everything is a little chaotic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you are so welcome brooke!

      Delete
  11. Question... My LO tends to wake consistently at 7:00 or close to that. However, I want bedtime to be 8:00 pm. Should I try to push wake time as well to be 8:00 am or just start the day at 7:00 and tweak the evening schedule by letting him nap to 6:30/7:00 pm and bedtime at 8:00 pm? TIA!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yep! You want them sleeping for 12 hours, so if bedtime is 7, wake time is 7, and adjust accordingly if you decide to push back bedtime :)

      Delete
  12. Stephanie9.3.16

    Hey I have a question about the Dream Feed. When did you get rid of it? I put my baby down around 700pm and do the dream feed at 10pm. His wake time is 7am but so far I have tried to stop the DF but he wakes up for it between 1000ish (out of habit) or if he is sleeping 12am because he is hungry. If he needs it for a bit longer what cues will I have that he doesn't need it anymore? He is just over 4months old. Thanks! I can;t wait for him to sleep 12 hours!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm trying to remember! I think around 6 months? I started pushing the dream feed later and later to see if baby would wake without it (like 11pm, midnight) and then around 5 months start trying to skip a might or shorten the dreamfeed.

      Delete
  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. don't transition cold turkey, work towards it. So instead of a full hour awake each time, start with 15 minutes, then 30 minutes, then 45, then an hour. He might need to cry it out when he's waking midway through naptime. If you're feeding him constantly he's not getting those rich full meals that the schedule helps establish, so I'd say cry it out for naps, feed a big feeding, but definitely if baby wakes at night, don't cry it out at night. Babywise never suggests leaving a baby to cry during the night, only for naps.

      Delete
  14. Hi, your post is very helpful. I read baby wise but our doctor was against the method so we didn't implement it in the beginning. Now my baby is 3.5 months old without a set routine. I want to start one to have structure. I've been waking him up at 7am regardless of how many time he woke up to feed through the night, so we are good on that. He can usually only stay up an hour and then he needs to be put down for a nap, he is great at falling asleep with no help but the nap time vary, he naps an hour most of the time and tops 1.5 hour, so I pick him up and won't feed him until the three hours have passed between feedings, but the length of naps are inconsistent. Would you recommend stretching the naps so he eventually sleeps the two hours? I am thinking the lack of sleep during the day is what throws him off at night. If he wakes up in the middle of the night I try to console him for about 15 mins but if that doesn't work I feed him, can't let him go hungry! What are your thoughts on that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! Here's my thoughts, but do whatever you feel is right! It's important that naps are as consistent as feeding times, so don't let your baby nap longer than 2 hours, but also don't "wake" him until 2 hours. So if he wakes up at 1.5 hours, leave him in his crib until the 2 hour mark, then get him, give him a big feed, and repeat.

      Babywise is big on night times being flexible, which I loved. I can let a baby cry it out during the day for nap time, but I couldn't deal with that at night! When the whole family is trying to sleep and everyone is exhausted! So Babywise would say, in the night, if he needs you, go to him. You always can feed your baby in the night, at any time. Day time scheduling is the big thing here, and that will lead to longer stretches of sleep at night.

      Delete
  15. How exactly do you change a wake time? My little guy has always gone to bed at 7 and woken up at 7. The last 3 weeks or so he has been waking at 6 and just lays in bed babbling which in turn messes his schedule up all day. I don't get him up from bed to feed until 7am still but he's still awake in his bed. Also, when he wakes up early for a nap and cries off and on for the other hour he's supposed to be napping do I just get him up when it's "time" even tho he only slept for one of the two hours? He's done so great with it and is still sleeping through the night just trying to figure out these last two things haha how dare he have a mind of his own ;) he's almost 5mo. Any suggestions?! Thank you so much again for the help. I've recommended this site to so many friends and live by it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So the thing about scheduling is that you live by the schedule, even when baby isn't. So if he wakes at 6am, don't go to him til 7am. if his "nap" is totally him crying or fussing, that's ok - pretend he slept and carry on. You have to help them get back on track, so stick with the schedule, feeding and napping at the set times. Glad to help!

      Delete
  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have trouble with understanding that he is napping 5pm-7pm wakes up and takes a bath but is supposed to be in bed at 7pm for twelve hours of sleep. Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have a very very alert baby. From day one she has been eyes wide open and ready to play. She is 5 months old now and is awake most of the day but her schedule is very wonky. So, I'm ready to try this to get her to sleep through the night. How long would you suggest I do the 3-6 month old schedule if she hasn't started sleeping through the night? I'm wondering if she needs more awake time. (Her first precious moments were video tapes and she opened her eyes and stared straight into her dad's eyes.). She is alert and awake A LOT!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Rebecca29.5.16

    Thanks for the schedule graphics! They're really easy to read and understand. Except, I have one question. On the 3-6 month schedule, it says nap 5-7pm, then 7pm eat, bedtime. I'm wondering is baby sleeping from 5-7 and then just waking to eat and go back down? Or do you do a bedtime routine? How long is baby up at 7pm? Just a little confused. Thanks for your help! :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous14.6.16

    Emily, your blog has been so helpful to me as a new mother to a 11 week old baby girl. I am actually a healthcare provider and have been recommending Babywise to all my patients for the past few years. Now that I am personally using this method, I have found it to be extremely successful in not only getting much-needed sleep for both parents and baby but it makes for a very happy baby during wake times. I started this method at 1 month of age once we had established breast feeding and I could see she was gaining weight appropriately. I have been gradually changing her schedule every 2 weeks (since week 8) to transition her from every 3 hours of eating to every 4. We are currently at 3.5 hrs. She is sleeping 9-10 hours at night which started at week 9.

    I have 1 question about this method: I have been struggling with the afternoon nap. My baby lays down and falls asleep on her own but wakes up after about 30-45 minutes of sleep. She is happy and wants to play. At first, I assumed that her morning naps had provided enough sleep and her afternoon nap didn't need to be as long, however, she would then get very fussy about 1 hour before she was due to eat. So, I decided to let her stay in her crib when she woke and let her play-- I was thinking she would eventually fall back asleep, but this rarely occurs. I didn't know what you thought about this? Do I shorten morning naps? According to the book, you should actually shorten wake time before the afternoon nap as they say the baby can get overstimulated and won't sleep well. I did try this as well, but found she would play in her crib longer before falling asleep and continue to awake after 30-45 minutes of sleep. Do I continue to keep her in her crib for the 1.5 -2 hours her afternoon nap should be? As I said, she is very happy in her crib and this is okay with me at home, however, I will be returning to work in 3 weeks and she will be in a in-home daycare. I just want to ensure she is not waking other babies and is sleeping well for our daycare provider. Thanks again for sharing your experiences!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I have a question about the 0-3 month stage. what do you do about night feedings? should they be sleeping and not eating from 11pm to 7 am when you wake them up? I am on baby #2 and i honeslty cant really remember what we did with our first. He is 4 now, its been a long time but we also supplemented formula, this time we are EBF

    ReplyDelete
  23. hi! i have a question my son is 3.5 months and id like to switch to the four hour schedule above soon, how did you increase the feeds 3-4 hours esp if he woke up early from a nap and cried? any tips? also any tips on naps lasting an hour or 50 mins versus the full 1.5/2 hours?

    ReplyDelete
  24. It's been a while since I broached the subject with Koreans.
    บาคาร่า
    จีคลับ
    gclub

    ReplyDelete
  25. My sister did the Babywise method, too. I used Hipp good night formula from organicbaby.la/hipp-goodnight. Both worked really well. :) Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope it will help a lot of young moms! :)

    Greetings, Natasha

    ReplyDelete