On {Baby} Sleep Training – Our 5 Month Update

So I posted this picture on Instagram a few days ago & got a bunch of questions about how sleeping has been going with  our {soon to be} 5 month old son, Brooks. Today I thought it would be fun to answer some of those questions and share with you a little bit of what we did, in terms of “sleep training.”

For us everything up until Brooks turned 3 months old was pure survival mode. He slept when he wanted, where he wanted and for however long he wanted. Never {ever, EVER!} wake a sleeping baby. At least that’s how I roll.

chubby cheeks

Up until the 3 month mark he was still sleeping in a pack n play in our room. He was still nursing every 3 hours or so during the day and would go for the occasional 4-5 stretches at night, but it was easier {for me} to keep him in our room, since we are on a different level than his bedroom. He’s a loud sleeper & he moves a ton at night, so we moved the pack n play to the opposite side of our bedroom after the suggestion from our pediatrician. She said this would keep him from waking up and smelling me {or milk!} and it would help with the transition to his crib in his room. I also kept him in his pack n play because I knew when we would be traveling to Florida, he would be sleeping in something similar since we had our trip to Disney planned around the 3 month mark for our little guy.

mama and baby sleep

After we got back from Disney we decided it was the perfect time to go along with advice we received from our pediatrician as well as this book & get Brooks on a set schedule each night. Word on the street is that between the 4-6 month mark, babies start to become aware of where they are sleeping, so we really wanted to get him used to sleeping in his crib.

Our current schedule consists of getting him ready for bed every night around 6:30/6:45 – this includes bath time, diaper change, putting on pajamas and a book before bed. I nurse him to sleep at {or around} 7:00pm every night and for the past 6-8 weeks he has been sleeping from 7:00pm until around 6am. It’s been all sorts of awesome.

Consistently putting him to bed at the same time was I think the turning point for us. We just started doing it one night and by the 3rd or 4th night he was rubbing his eyes right before 7pm, letting me know he was ready for bed.

passed out B

Of course there has been a few times where he gets up in the middle of the night, I know there will be random wake-ups that go along with growth spurts, and teething and that coincide with how much sleep he gets during the day, but for the most part, our little man has been a great sleeper.

So now since I know he can sleep through the night, I no longer feed him at night if he wakes up, unless absolutely necessary. If he does get up in the middle of the night I check his diaper {but only change it if he’s REALLY up}, turn on his sleep sheep {he loves that thing – it knocks him out!}, give him his wubbanub {also obsessed with this} or help him move into the middle of the crib/on his side if he’s wedged himself into an uncomfortable position. I try not to pick him up but if I have to, I will rock him back to sleep. I’ll only feed him again if it’s after the 4am hour if he gets up unexpectedly and more often than not after I feed him in the morning, he goes back to bed.

arms out sleep

I’ve really noticed that naps are key to a successful nights sleep. Brooks is currently taking about 3 naps a day – ranging from 20 minutes to 2 hours. It’s a hit or miss in terms of how long it will be – they usually happen in the morning around 9/10 another one around 12/1 and a final snooze around 3/4. When I am home I try my best to make sure he’s napping in his crib, but he will occasionally fall asleep in the carrier when I’m walking Jackson or in his carseat/stroller. I try not to be obsessive about where he’s sleeping – I want to be able to still be out and about doing what I need to do, as long as he’s getting a nap, I’m cool with it.

sleep training

The only bummer with Brooks sleeping through the night is that I have to PUMP! Since we are going 10-12 hours between feedings, I think it goes without saying that when I wake up, the girls are FULL! Brooks typically feeds from one side at each feeding, so in the mornings either right before or right after I feed him, I pump.

I went a few days without pumping in the am & not only was I super uncomfortable, I noticed my supply was a little light. When I pump from one side in the am, I get about 4-5 oz for my freezer stash, and my supply is in a good place. I’d obviously much rather have more than enough than not enough – and even though pumping is a bit of a time suck, I honestly can’t complain.

Also, my freezer stash is something I’m pretty proud of!

baby toes sleep

So that’s a little glimpse into how we’ve been sleeping the past few weeks. It all sort of happened really fast, I think part of what made the transition so smooth was that Brooks was ready for it. But {we’ve found} consistency is key! I also think that while we have tried to set a schedule that works for Brooks, he’s been a pretty good sleeper on his own from the get-go, so part of it is that we just got lucky too {because my parents said I didn’t sleep through the night until 8 months! Yikes! #sorrymom}

The only downside is that now that there is an established 7pm bedtime, we have to make sure we are home from wherever we are before 7pm. So if we want to do dinner or drinks or meet up with friends – only one of us can go, or we can go super early {aka – easily bird special, which tends to also be Happy Hour – so that kind of works! #babyinabar } or we have to get a babysitter {which so far has only consisted with the occasional grandparent staying over}

Even though battening down the hatches at 7pm every night is an adjustment, having Brooks sleep through the night is 100% worth it!

Fingers crossed he doesn’t read this post and completely change his sleeping habits…even though I know he will. The occasional tough nights are much more tolerable now, knowing that he can sleep straight through, he’s done it before and I know he will do it again!

GINAS PHOTOS

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How’s sleep going with your little one?

What worked best/didn’t work for you? Please share!

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EYES CLOSED ON SLEEP

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16 Comments

  • Reply Kristin June 26, 2014 at 9:48 am

    I’m always interested to read how other moms approach sleep and how their babies are doing, especially since my little guy has been a terrible sleeper since day one. My son is just a couple weeks younger than yours, so it was great reading your story and seeing how it lines up with mine. My guy was colicky, and for the first 3 months he refused to sleep anywhere but in my arms. He always nursed every 2 hours around the clock. It was tough and nothing ever got done, but he finally outgrew that. Around 12 weeks we finally moved him to the rock n play and at 16 weeks we moved him to his room (still in the rock n play). Since he was so late to that game at sleeping on his own and has very bad reflux, we stuck with the rock n play for the coziness and incline. He’s nowhere near sleeping through the night, and I have a feeling he’ll probably be a lot like you were – I’m not expecting it for several more months! We finally worked him down to nursing twice a night and that’s still new so he throws me curve balls every few nights. We have a wonderful nighttime routine of bath, nursing, swaddling, snuggling, then in bed around 6:45. He usually puts himself to sleep (win!) but sometimes he wakes up and fusses for a bit and needs a little patting before finally settling in. The rock n play has been a Godsend, but now we’re ready to transition to the crib, and I know it’s going to involve a lot of sleepless nights. I’m not looking forward to that. How did the transition to the crib go for you? The toughest part will be he’s never slept flat before. At least Brooks was used to sleeping flat in the pack n play, but that wasn’t something I thought about in the beginning (the things you learn!). Naps for us are similar – he takes 4 (we’re hoping he’ll work down to 3 soon) that range from 30 min to 2 hours. I’m glad sleep is going so well for you guys! I’m hoping things keep improving for us. My guy might be a bad sleeper by most people’s standards, he’s a million times better than he was even a month ago, so I’ll take it! Progress!! 🙂

    • Reply Leslie June 26, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      Kristin – Progress is always good! All we can do is cross our fingers & hope for the best!

  • Reply Laura H June 26, 2014 at 10:10 am

    My 8mo isn’t an awful sleeper, but he’s not a great sleeper, either! I agree that consistency is key. Gone are the days of nice dinners out…I’d rather have a chance at a good night’s sleep. I still nurse him once during the night, but I don’t mind it because he goes right back to sleep and it also helps me maintain my supply.

    The wubbanub is currently our issue. He has started tossing pacifiers out of his crib and then crying non-stop! It’s hard to know when to go in and when to let him cry, but we normally let him cry for ~10 minutes before going in.

    • Reply Leslie June 26, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      Laura – Brooks is currently getting really good at putting the binky back in his mouth – i’m crossing my fingers he doesn’t start throwing it out!

  • Reply Genevieve June 26, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Madeline is almost five months old, born 2/14/14. She has been sleeping in her crib in her room since she was about three months old. This happened by default as she is a BIG baby (currently 21 lbs) and I couldn’t squeeze her into her bassinet anymore. I figured, if I’m going to transition her to something it may as well be the crib!

    She started going to bed at 10, then 9, 8, now we start bedtime at 7pm too. Same deal: bath, jammies, book, nurse, sleep sheep. She has been sleeping from about 8pm to 4:45ish.
    The new development is she has started rolling over, so she wakes up enough to roll over, gets stuck on her tummy with an arm through the crib slat and cries. She’s wide awake by then and we’re up from 5-8:30. By the time she goes back down at 8:30, I’ve had coffee and am up.

    I’m hoping she learns to roll herself back onto her back soon because a 4:45 wake up time is just a little too early for mommy.

    • Reply Leslie June 26, 2014 at 10:27 pm

      Genevieve, we had the same issue but now Brooks goes to sleep on his side & that usually keeps him in his place for a while. He now ends up all over the crib in crazy different positions! So funny to watch!

  • Reply Jamie June 26, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Thanks for all your great tips! My little guy is 3 months old and has been taking a bottle to go to sleep and is in his crib around 9pm. How old was Brooks when you started the 7pm bedtime?

    • Reply Leslie June 26, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      Jamie – we started the 7pm bedtime around the 3.5 mark!

  • Reply Wiggs June 26, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Dr Weissbluth is our pediatrician! Clara’s a great sleeper too – love that book. 🙂

    • Reply Leslie June 26, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      so cool she’s your Dr!

  • Reply Patty O June 26, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    You’re doing a terrific job the Brooks regarding sleeping! Of course, you will have some bumps in the road, but he’s got a good foundation!

  • Reply Jessica@TWB June 26, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Have you tried pumping before you go to bed (which I’m guessing is a few hours after the baby goes to bed) instead of in the AM? Just a thought. As a working mom I pumped before my bedtime until my daughter was about 9 months old just for stash-building purposes, but it also helped to maintain supply once she was no longer waking up to eat in the middle of the night.

    • Reply Leslie June 26, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      Good idea! I usually don’t feel very “full” at night, which is why I usually wait until the morning. Might be nice to take the edge off when I need to though!

  • Reply Nikki June 29, 2014 at 10:45 am

    My baby is 12 days old today and he would probably sleep through the night but since my pediatrician wants me to feed him 2oz. every 3 hours, I get him up often. Tiring but overall he doesn’t cry an extreme amount.

  • Reply Katie June 30, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I have an almost two month old daughter so it was very interesting to read how sleep is going for your family! Would you mind sharing when you stopped swaddling your baby and how that transition went?

    • Reply Leslie July 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Katie – We stopped swaddling in the first month. He fought it & wasn’t into it after the first few weeks so we didn’t push it. He often woke himself up from the “scare” movement where he would flail his arms and legs when we didnt swaddle but then then he started sleeping on his side and is was never much of an issue. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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