I am probably not the right person to talk about sleep training! I am still working on sleep training and cubby is 6 1/2 months old. When I was pregnant, I listened to everyone’s advice regarding sleep training and was confused. Some people told me to start sleep training almost immediately, when your baby is 6 weeks old. Others told me between 3-5 months was a good time to start sleep training. I also had friends who let their little ones find their own sleeping schedule and followed that. I had heard of different methods like letting them cry it out/ going in after a certain number of minutes, picking them up until they stop crying and putting them back down and repeating that/ dreamfeeding/ putting them to sleep at the same time each night whether they were tired or not or a mixture of all of the above. I did the “wait and see” method, which is probably why I am still sleep training today!
There are a couple of reasons why I didn’t feel like letting cubby “cry it out” or why I didn’t start earlier. To start with, she was born premature at one month early and was low birth weight at 5 lbs. 11 oz. We had come home with her from the hospital and had a HELL of a first night as she would not wake up to feed and was very lethargic. Luckily, we had an appointment within 2 days at the kid’s clinic and discovered that she had jaundice, her bilirubin levels were through the roof and her weight had dropped to 5 lbs. 2 oz. Needless to say, we were readmitted. I was told that I had to pump constantly and feed her every 1-2 hours and to keep pushing fluids as that would decrease her bilirubin. She had to be on a light therapy bed so I could not hold her or take her out, except for feedings. I used a preemie bottle and between my mother in law and I, we kept feeding and feeding her all hours of the day and through the nights. I never really got to sleep or recover from the trauma of the birth, or tearing and getting stitches. I was sleeping about 30 to 40 minutes at a time before I had to get up and pump and bottle feed again. I tried breastfeeding numerous times, but her latch was too weak. I was exhausted, my legs were swelling up with fluid as I never rested and elevated them, but my one goal was to increase her weight.
For the first 2 months, feeding became my primary goal and I never had time to think about setting up a sleep schedule or watching how long her naps were. I was waking up every 2 hours throughout the night for the first 4 months to feed cubby. With perseverance, she finally began to latch properly for breastfeeding at around 4 months. I was still waking up every 2 hours throughout the night for feeding. I was following her cues; if she woke up hungry at night, I would go feed her. She was in her own room and sleeping in her crib at 4 months, which is one floor down from my bedroom, so I was going up and downstairs every 2 hours throughout the night. It was quite a workout. I remember sleepwalking downstairs to feed her, putting her back to sleep in her crib, and sleepwalking back to my bed for another 2 hours of sleep.
I was following cubby’s cues and still focusing on feeding her, although her weight had improved. By around 4 1/2 months, she began waking up only twice a night for feeds so that was a real treat to sleep for 3 1/2 -4 hours consistently. Unfortunately, that is where I am now at. She still continues to get up twice a night for feeds. I secretly know that she could probably sleep through the night now, but I had a goal of starting to wean her off of her night feeds at 6 months. I know you are thinking that she is already 6 1/2 months old; however, since she was a month early, she is technically 5 1/2 months old. I am in the process of sleep training her. I joined an amazing website:http://www.babysleepsite.com and am impressed with the author’s techniques and similar disposition to mine. Maybe when I have my next child, I will try the “cry it out” technique, but I just can’t do it with cubby! I highly recommend this website. There is a lot of free information and tips/techniques for sleep training, weaning of night feeds, napping schedules and promoting sleep while travelling with your little one. There are also three packages that you can purchase, which include loads of good information and recordings/support for your sleep training endeavours. I purchased the silver package.
I am currently working on noticing cubby’s signs of fatigue and putting her down for naps before she gets overly tired. I try to put her to bed at the same time each evening and am working on establishing a set bedtime routine. I think I am going to finally wean her off of her night feeds. Wish me luck!