Sleep Training 101; 4-6 Months

Hey friends! If you're curious on sleep training methods from 0-3 months click here to read up on that! 

As for us, we have progressed! We hit the 6 month mark this week so I guess I'm writing this a couple of days early but OH WELL

These couple of months were rough. Right when you think you're getting to know your baby, and their exact next move - BAM they change. Seriously. They change all the freaking time and they don't do it on purpose but DAMN I need a break! (excuse my language? Is damn bad? idk????? help??) ANYWAYS We have prevailed friends! And we made it through another sleep deprived couple of months! I keep telling myself dang I can't wait for our next baby (yes I can) because I feel like I'm going to be totally prepared with my online journal aka my blog. (I know this is unrealistic haha - let me dream okay!)

I had a sleep training epiphany though, last week. I realized that at different points of her life, different sleep training methods work...... differently.

Who woulda thunk it?

SOOOOOOO the first 3 months of her life we were ALL about swaddling, and it totally worked for us! But now that she has a better grasp on rolling over, it's not in our routine any long. Ttem permanence & cry it out totally did the trick for us from 3-4 months, but it just hasn't been working for us as well lately. So last week, when I was convinced I would never sleep again, I did some research.

At 3 AM. My favorite time at night if y'all didn't already know. 

I basically found that at this point in her life, a similar but totally different (are you still following?) method is working for her. I'm definitely not opposed to doing crying it out again at a different point of her life, but right now this other method is working best for us.

*Just so you know, my posts usually contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase by pressing a link, I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.*



sleep training your baby

Basically, our nightly routine (and nap time routine - consistency is key, besides bath time, of course) goes something like this :

7 PM Bath time

I try to make sure I don't do bath time any earlier, because then it throws off her entire routine. So we do bath time, which honestly takes us a solid 10 minutes, because who knew bathing a small human was super quick, Less surface to cover I suppose! After bath time, we do our normal baby lotion massage, and sometimes read a bedtime story depending if she's really fussy or not. She is different every single day, but also the same. I know, I sound insane. 

Jammie switch up!

If you read my last sleep training post, we weren't dressing her in those warm footie pajamas everybody swears by, because she was swaddled and we didn't want her to overheat! Well you guessed it! We are now in the footie pajama stage. I still stick to my word on 0-3 months about not doing it, but like I said before - she changes constantly! Since we are no longer swaddling, we have now switched to those warm and fuzzy footie pajamas! Not only are they absolutely adorable, but they keep my girl nice and warm at night (since we are not letting her sleep with blankets because of the risk it raises for suffocation and SIDS). 


Nurse

For us anyways. If you're formula feeding, this is where your bedtime (or nap time) bottle would come in. So we sit in our rocking chair, while I nurse. I usually turn her bedroom light off and nurse in the dark to set the calm atmosphere vibes. 

Independent crib time

I used to be pretty huge on rocking her to sleep, and then putting her in her crib and tip toeing to sleep, but more often than not she would wake before I could even leave the room. I thought she was regressing or maybe her "startle reflex" wasn't quite gone yet. Turns out, she just wanted to self soothe and be left alone. Since she can now understand item permanence and knows when I am no longer there, I talk to her. I know she doesn't understand exactly what I'm saying with my words, but she can sense my emotions and the different tones in my voice. So I coo at her, and turn her mobile on, and she smiles and coos back. Then I tell her that I'll be back to check on her soon. I quietly escape to our room, and watch her on the baby monitor. She continues to coo and play with her pacifier, as well as puts the pacifier in her mouth on her own when she wants to. Most nights, I go in her room about 3 times, just to let her know I am there and I am checking up on her. Then I tell her again each time that I will be right back in a calm happy manner. Make sure you are taking lots of deep breaths - even if this takes forever! Remaining calm is huge! 

Now, that being said - she does have bad nights when we try to do this. Where I leave the room, and she screams at the top of her lungs. In this case, I kind of let her cry it out. BUT by cry it out, I mean I let her cry and when she stops for a moment, I rush right in. I am trying to basically "reward" her for not crying. Does that sound terrible? I feel like it does - but it really works! These nights are far and few between and I feel like it's because she knows that if she doesn't cry and scream that I will be more likely to come in. Maybe I'm crazy who knows. But it's working. And usually, after about 3 times in and out of her room, she falls asleep on her own. I mean out of nowhere passes out, and doesn't wake up for 3 - 4 hours. (she still eats a lot throughout the night - we are working on that!) When she does wake up, I nurse her, she passes out, I put her down, and that's all.

Now, if you're just tip-toeing into crib transitioning, I suggest doing the 3-5-7-10 minute method. Put the baby down in their crib, leave for 3 minutes. Go back, soothe them, lay them down, repeat, but this time for 5 minutes. Then 7, and finally 10 minutes. The hope is that after that 10 minute mark they will be asleep! 

Remember that attitude is everything!

If you remain calm, and tell yourself this is something you can do - then you totally can do it! Babies can 100% sense our anxieties & our stress, so once we calm down, they tend to as well!

Back to bed for mama.  AHHHHHHHH

 

Final thoughts

 

  • Reward not crying
  • Dress in warm footie pajamas
  • Self soothing in the crib
  •  

     

    This is what's working for us right now, but I'm sure it will change for 7-10 months!

     

    Happy sleeping!

     

    Xo

    -MMM

     

    Postpartum Realities

    As a new mom there are so many different things constantly running through your mind. A new problem I never expected to have postpartum arises every single day. You think you know, but you have no idea, until you are actually in that spot. 

    Last night my daughter slept through the night in her own crib in her own room. This wasn't the first night this happened. But still, somehow I am exhausted this morning. Why? Because I sat and stared at the monitor as every single minute  passed.



    postpartum realities

     

    1. Sleeping through the night

    WOW. Nobody warned me how miserable this was/still kind of is. Is it just me mama's? Am I crazy? Don't get me wrong- I totally enjoy my evenings with my other half. But 3 AM hits, and she still hasn't made a peep - and I am losing it. Why did everybody talk about this moment like it was magical? I know I SHOULD be taking advantage of this moment right now, but I can't because every fear in the world is currently setting up camp in my brain. Then she rolls onto her belly - and now I'm really hyperventilating. This is NOT all it's cracked up to be. I miss her, I'm worried about her, and I'm still exhausted the next morning. I feel like this is really a lose lose and I should prob go pick her up and cuddle with her right this instant, right? 😩

     

    2. THE CLOTHES.

    So I knew she had a huge wardrobe even prior to our baby shower, but WOW. Nobody can prepare you for the amount of decluttering you're going to be doing AT LEAST the first 6 months of their life. It doesn't just happen in spurts like you would think. I'll go through her clothes at 3 months, then 6, so on so forth. Nope. Every. Single. Day. I go through clothes. I have a permanent gift bag in her room that I am forever throwing things into, so I can pass it down to my friend who is having a baby next month., And don't even get me started on YOUR clothes. You find something comfortable, that fits, and then your weight fluctuates AGAIN. You go from super preggo, back down to 3-month-preggo look-a-like postpartum, and then kind of back to normal... but not really? Clothes = clutter = madness = I-dont-have-time-to-declutter = AHHHHH!!!!!!

    postpartum recovery + healing after birth

     

    3. Unwanted parental guidance + Negativity

    Okay, third time is the charm. WOW. I can't believe the things people say to you as a new mom. I mean I heard horror stories prior to being a mom, but it's an entire other level when you are actually a mom. Let me break it down for you in the simplest terms - you will never win this battle. It doesn't matter how long your kid is rear facing, or how often you homemake their baby food, or whatever it is you do. You will never be able to please everybody. People are going to constantly question every single method of your parenting. Why don't you cut their hair? Why don't cut their nails? Why don't you feed them this way? Everybody has something to say about everything. Accept it early on, and ignore them. Don't let it consume you! Why are we so negative towards each other? Why do other moms feel the need to constantly tell me "Oh, it's only just started" or "It gets worse" Like??????????? Can we stop?! And how about the judgement and questioning? Why do we feel the need to question each other about how we parent? I am all about advice from other mama's who have struggled before me - educate me! And I love to educate others from my experiences as well! It's why I started blogging! But do we have to be so negative? Stop putting each other down, or telling people that it gets worse! Seriously?! We can do better mama's! This goes for all of you, I don't care what generation! Grandma, aunts, cousins - it's not okay! 

     

    With everything in life, "this too shall pass"!

    But until then, I'll be enjoying my growing babe, staying up all night watching the monitor, and ignoring the negativity! I hope you choose to do the same!

    What kind of postpartum surprises did/do you run into? 

    Xo

    -MMM

     

    Sleep Training 101; 0-3 Months

    So you spend 40 weeks of your life growing a tiny human, about 20 (give or take - hopefully take for your sake!) hours in labor, 2-3 days recovering in the hospital with countless visitors and being woken up what feels like every 5 seconds for meds and vitals, and then they send ya home and tell ya to "rest". Let's laugh together, ladies. If you are in this stage right now I have two things to say to you :

    1. It is not forever. I know it feels like forever, but it is not.

    2. You will sleep again, I promise.

    I know if you're reading this  you're probably just desperate for these tips and tricks so let's just get right into it!

    *Just so you know, my posts usually contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase by pressing a link, I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.*



    sleep training your baby

    Okay, so first things first. Your newborn is not going to completely sleep through the night. They need to get up and eat. This is normal. There is no magical method to make them not do this. BUT you CAN use my method to help them sleep in longer stretches. My baby would do 3-4 hour stretches at night on average. She would more-so do a 5-6 hour stretch, wake up, eat, and then do another 3-4 hour stretch. 

    New Mamas : How does 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep sound?! Woot Woot!

    I cannot guarantee this works for absolutely everybody, but it did work for us, as well as some friends we have suggested it to. I also am not going to lie and say she's a perfect sleeper every night. She definitely has had her gassy or colic-y nights, But all babies do! I found that if I can do something that works 90% of the time for us, that the other 10% is not so unbearable.

    1. Routine

    THIS IS CRUCIAL. I had a "friend" one time look at me like I was a lunatic and say "Why do you already have her on a schedule?" with a nice little eye roll to follow. Routine is SO IMPORTANT. At every stage of their lives! It helps them THRIVE! Our routine went as such :

    7 PM - Bath time 

    7:45/8 PM - Story time

    8/8:15 PM - Nursing (or bottle)

    8:30/9 PM - SLEEP.

    I know they say "don't bathe your baby every day" but I felt that for routine purposes it really helped us, so that is obviously up to you. But I would suggest filling that space with something else familiar on the nights you chose to not bathe them. For us, bath time insinuates to her that it's time to settle down and get sleepy. Although she does not personally tell me that, I can tell, as her mother, that during bath time she really relaxes and starts to settle down slowly. During bath time, we use Lavender Shampoo and Lavender Body Wash as well. When actual bath time is complete, we do a short baby massage with Lavender Bedtime Lotion. Lavender is everything. It is said to help babies soothe and the one we use, which is fairly common, is formulated with "NATURALCALM" essences, which release a blend of gentle and calming aromas.
    sleep training

    Now the clothing is tricky. Did you know that heavy clothing can increase the risk of SIDS? How you dress them for bedtime is REALLY important for what's to come in the next few steps. We found that the onesies, that are long sleeve, and have the flip over mittens on the end work best. See what I'm talking about here. After we got her all dressed, we would read her a quick story book, and I would nurse her in the rocking chair in the nursery. A bonus tip : make sure you are spending plenty of time in the nursery! It's very important to get them comfortable and familiarized with their room, if you ever plan on them sleeping in there. If you don't plan on that, or that isn't an option, I just suggest at least nursing or feeding in the same spot every night. Usually she would get very sleepy, but not quite asleep, after eating. Now it's time for the real key to the equation.

     

    2. Swaddling

    Okay don't exit this screen! I know you probably think you know everything about swaddling, but so did I! Like every other mom out there, you're going to come home, try swaddling them, and come to the conclusion that your baby "doesn't like to be swaddled." This is normal. They absolutely fuss and fight the swaddle, no doubt. But once they are swaddled - that's where the magic happens. There's a reason they are swaddled and quiet in the hospital, people!! Aden + Anais Swaddles are a must, they are thin and light but still get the job done, and I absolutely consider this a necessity for all new moms. Practice also makes perfect! Once you get past the fuss and the fight, it is so worth it, I promise!!
    The swaddle method can be tricky, but this image I found on  buzzfeed  is really a huge help!

    The swaddle method can be tricky, but this image I found on buzzfeed is really a huge help!

    ... but wait, there's more!

     

    3. Double Swaddling

    Okay this was the real magic for us. She would easily kick and punch her way out of the single swaddle. I don't even mean using another muslin blanket to add the double, you NEED one of THESE!!!!!

    Make sure you have the correct products at hand, because The Swaddle Me is another necessity!! Not only are they going to fight being swaddled, they still have their Moro reflex, which is their "startle" reflex. This will wake them up out of a dead sleep! Double swaddling them is nothing new, though! They also do this at most hospitals as well! The double swaddle method helps them feel secure and supported, similar to the womb. and although they will fight it at first, a couple of rocks and bounces later, they will be passed out! 

     

    Final Thoughts

  • You need Aden + Anais Swaddles
  • You need a Swaddle Me Sac
  • Do not dress them in heavy clothing when double swaddling.
  • Don't sleep on this method!!! It may not work instantly on night one, but NOTHING does!! (except my baby acne cure)

    Hang in there, mama! Your baby is going to be sleeping in no time! 

    I hope this method works for you, too! Subscribe to my blog, and look out for my next Sleep Training 101 post on 4-6 month babes! (Currently working out the kinks on this method with my 4 month old!)

    As always, please feel free to reach out to me if any of this seems confusing or you need any extra help! Mama's gotta stick together!

    Until next time!

    Xo

    -MMM

    SLEEP TRAINING

    Thank God for 3 AM wake ups.

    It's 3 AM. Your baby is screaming, and you can't make it stop. They are fed, they are dry, they are swaddled and they are rocked. Nothing is working. It becomes frustrating. If you say you've never been frustrated at this moment, you're lying. I know I get frustrated as a mom in these situations more often than I'd like to admit. But I know my baby is just tired and doesn't know any better, it's her only way of communication right now. So I continue to rock her, sometimes until I'm crying, begging for sleep, and she eventually closes those eyes and gives in to the inevitable sleep she is fighting so hard. 

    Last night this happened. Last night, one of the very few nights my other half was home. We are spending it awake, at 3 AM, frustrated, with a screaming baby. I would never blame her for this. I blame myself, for allowing myself to even get frustrated. So I rock my baby and I cry because this is the second night in a row she's woken up every hour, after sleeping through the night most of her life so far. Karma for bragging about it I suppose. So I continue trying everything I know until finally she gives in and is suddenly so peaceful and quiet. And then I pray. I pray that she stays asleep until morning, because mommy is just exhausted. And then God speaks to me. What if she didn't wake up at 3 AM and cry at night? What if she weren't here at all? And then my eyes really open y'all. Some people pray every day and every night of their lives to have this exact moment. Some people pray to just hear their babies scream. Doesn't that sound a little crazy? It isn't. Somewhere out there at this exact moment, there is a soldier awake wondering when he's going to hear his baby cry for the first time. And on the other half of the world, his wife is also wondering when she will get help with this screaming baby. And then there's parents who never got the chance to meet their baby, and are probably awake at this exact moment, crying themselves. And then there's the parents who have been trying to conceive for days, weeks, months, years; who are probably awake at this exact moment crying and begging and praying for a positive pregnancy test. And then there are the parents who did get to meet their baby for a split second, and that was it, just a second. Those are the ones that hit me hard. Those parents, they are laying awake, enduring pain I can't even imagine, begging and praying to just hear their baby cry at 3 AM. 

    Life is all about perspective, and God is so good at reminding me of that. So I crawled in bed and I cried because how selfish am I? There are so many people in this world begging for this exact moment and I am begging for it to be non existent. Never again. I can't promise I won't ever get frustrated again - that's normal. But never will I ever take for granted my beautiful, healthy, baby girl crying at 3 AM again. So I cried as the love of my life pulled me closer and just held me and kissed my forehead, because he knew exactly what I meant when I said "Some people pray for this exact moment." And I can't help but even cry right now when writing this because wow. God is so good to me, and I am so grateful to be in my home with my hardworking fiancé and my healthy, beautiful sleeping baby. 

    If you're a mom who gets frustrated at 3 AM (or any time of day) and you find yourself asking "Why does this happen to me?" Instead, say : "Thank God for 3 AM wake ups." When your baby is awake, screaming at 3 AM, it means they are breathing. It means they are communicating with you to the best of their ability. It means that they need their mommy or daddy. How special is that? How amazing is that? 

    I am so grateful to be awake at 3 AM.

     

    Xo

    -MMM

    My beautiful family.

    My beautiful family.