Sleep Training is NOT for Sissies

The time had come and to be honest, the idea had been creeping in and out of this busy brain of mine for some time. I finally did it; I pulled the trigger and began the sleeping training process last Thursday night. There are a host of reasons one sleep trains. I'll share ours (or really mine since I am the one to get up with P and sometimes O during the night):

  1. P began eating less during the day. Why? Because I had basically conditioned him into a nighttime eater.
  2. To elaborate the above...P started waking 2 times a night to eat. 1/1:30 a.m. and 4/4:30 a.m.. I am not talking have a little snack. I am talking polish off a 5-6 oz bottle with 1 TBS of rice cereal. 
  3. At 4 months, P  weighs 16.4 lbs. That is more then double his birth weight. So as you can see, he is not starving.
  4. Lastly, it gets old waking up each morning tired. 
Yes, the last reason is a selfish one. Let's be honest though, a tired, worn down mommy does not make for a very productive or fun mommy to two young and active little boys. So while yes I would like to wake up feeling refreshed in the morning for me, it's as important for me to be the best mom I can be to my boys.

We are still working to establish a schedule for P. It's been much tougher then when O was this age and that is probably because P is forced to go with the flow and adapt to O's schedule (school drop off and pick up).Can't leave the guy home by himself.

My main goal in this process is to eliminate the night time feedings. I am attempting to do this one at a time. The first step is to get him to eat more during the day. So instead of feeding on demand like I was. I've become a slave to the clock. I am feeding him every 3-3 1/2 hours to ensure he eats majority of his meals during the day. Sometimes he eats 3 ounces and other times he eats 6 ounces. My goal is just to get him to eat. In addition to the formula, we add rice cereal. So in a days meals he is getting a whole additional meal just in rice cereal. How the heck could this kid possibly be hungry during the night??? Truth is, he's probably not hungry. It's just become a habit.

So here is the gist of it for all of you wondering what exactly my sleep training involves. It may very slightly from other processes you read. I did consult our pediatrician before starting. I wanted both his opinion and buy in. He gave me the thumbs up and told me to hang in as it will be about a 2 week process and will have its ups and downs. Boy, was he RIGHT!

Our night time routine for P begins anywhere from 6-7:30 p.m.. It just depends what time he wakes up in the morning and how his feedings fall. I am starting to see a pattern though and it looks like he is making his bedtime around 7:30 p.m.. So the routine would look something like this:
  1. Bath
  2. Diaper/pajamas
  3. Book/singing
  4. Rocking with bottle 
We try not to rock him to sleep. We don't want sleep to become associated with rocking. Once he is calm and starting to doze, we put him in his swaddle and and transition him to the crib with his lovey, say goodnight, give a kiss and walk out.

What to do if P cries: Wait 10 minutes. At 10 minute mark, go in, let him see me, give him his lovey to comfort him and walk out. The key is not to talk to him. You continue to do this in 10 minute increments until he falls asleep.

Night 1: Got off to a really bad start. I was reading books in bed with O and the Mister was feeding and rocking P. All of the sudden I hear the Mister calling for me. I go in and P had gagged while the Mister was burping him and threw up 3/4 of his bottle. After a loud sigh and a handful of curse words, I went and got the carpet cleaner while the Mister cleaned up P. About 15 minutes later all was clean and P was in his crib. We said goodnight, gave kisses and walked out. He stirred for about 3 minutes and was out. At 10:30 before we went to bed, the Mister decided to go back in and try to feed him a little more since he threw up most of the bottle earlier. He ate 2 more ounces and went right back to sleep, which is typically how he eats during the night. He is usually half asleep and goes right back to bed. He woke around 2:00 a.m.. I went in, fixed the swaddle, gave him his lovey and walked out. No crying, a little moaning as he settled back in and slept to 6:30 a.m.! SCORE! Way too easy for the first night. 

Don't get too excited...

Night 2: Not as smooth, but not horrible. O threw a wrench in my night the second night. He woke up at 12:15 a.m. asking for banana bread. What?!? Are you nuts? Go back to bed! Finally get him settled, get back into my bed and P wakes at 12:45 a.m.. I should just sleep in the landing between their bedrooms. I went in P's bedroom, adjusted the swaddle, gave him the lovey and walked out. He cried for 10 minutes. Went back in, did the same. He cried for another 9 minutes and was asleep. He woke again at 2:45 a.m.. This time I fed him and he went right back to sleep and slept till 7:30 a.m..

Night 3: Bedtime routine was tricky. We had friends over for a BBQ, so the routine was basically out the window. He went down a little later then usual. Woke up around 2:45. He had a dirty diaper. I changed him and then put him down with his lovey and walked out. He cried for about 8 minutes and was out. He slept till 4:00 a.m.. I fed him and he want back to sleep and slept till 8.

Night 4: EPIC FAIL. I am nominating myself for Mother of the Year! I am taking all the blame for this one. I was feeling a little selfish last night. I really wanted to get out of the house and go to the MOM's Club book club meeting. The Mister had a football draft at 8:30 p.m. and I didn't want to miss the meeting because they were picking the book for next month. So the Mister and I decided to move the boys routine up a half hour so we could get them down early. I could go to book club and he wouldn't have to rush to finish in time for his draft. Success! Everyone fed, bathed and in bed by 7:50 p.m. and I was out the door. Well I was just a little too quick to call success. P woke at 1:10 a.m.. We went through the put down routine four times. Misery for both of us. It's not easy listening to my little guy cry like that. As I crawled back into bed for the fourth time listening to P cry over the monitor, praying this would be the time he would fall asleep; the Mister rolls over and says, " You know he ate his last bottle early around 6:15 p.m.. He probably really is hungry." The feeling of failure quickly begins to come over me. My poor little P was probably really hungry. I jumped up grabbed the bottle and went in and fed him. He ate all 6 ounces. I changed his diaper and transitioned him back into the crib. It took him a few minutes to settle. The changing of his diaper had stimulated him. Finally at 2:30 a.m., I was putting my head to the pillow. The little guy slept till 7:15 a.m..

So just as the pediatrician had warned me, the process has been full of ups and downs. I am tempted to hire a sleep consultant. I have a handful of questions regarding, napping on the go, napping in the crib vs. the swing (only place he seems to want to nap lately), actual bed time and how to be successful in dropping the second night time feeding. I know the Mister is going to be against hiring someone and I can't blame him. Why spend the money? We seem to be managing. I am going to do some research first and see what I can find in regards to my questions. Wish me luck. 

Praying for a smooth Night 5!


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