Mr. Grey turning 4 months couldn’t come fast enough. He had a bed time routine that was working well for us but I was soooo excited when he finally reached 4 months old, sleep training age!!! *If your little one isn’t quite at that age yet but you want to get a head start on sleep training, see my post…
Before you begin sleep training, there are a few things you need to know and do.
- Understand how much sleep your baby needs
- Understand your baby’s natural sleep routine
- Create a bed time routine
- Understand what “sleep crutches” you/your baby have
I talk about the first three tasks in the previous post ” ??” So let’s talk about #4. Understand what sleep crutches you/your baby have.
Sleep Crutch aka Sleep Association
Here is what I have learned, a sleep crutch or sleep association is something you do or provide your baby with that helps them fall asleep. Some sleep crutches are okay to an extent, and some hinder your baby from learning how to fall asleep on their own, which is the whole point! Falling asleep on their own means when they wake in the middle of the night, they are able to put themselves back to sleep and that means more sleep for you!!! WOO HOO!!
Okay, lets not get too far ahead of ourselves! Raise your metaphorical hand if your are guilty of doing any of the following to get your baby to sleep…
Rocking, pacing, bouncing, nursing, using a pacifier, back patting, singing or jumping through hoops!! All of these are sleep crutches or things your baby associates with sleep. Not all are bad, but it is important to know that how you implement these associations may be preventing you from getting more sleep even though they may make YOU feel better to do them.
I was guilty of almost all of the above. I would bounce, rock, pace and nurse Mr. Grey to sleep. It wasn’t until I changed all the “extra curricular activities” that Mr. Grey and I began to get better sleep. So, I’m not saying that you have to stop everything, just change it up a bit.
So lets get to the training!
If this wasn’t your first stop to find out about sleep training, you will know that there are a bunch of methods to choose from. There’s the gentle method with minimal crying, the cry it out method, and an array of variations in between. It’s really up to you and what you are comfortable with. I have tried them both and can say they are both effective. To keep this post from getting too lengthy I will break it up by creating separate post for each of the sleep training methods and link them below.
One last tip: Starting around 12-14 weeks old, babies can go approximately 8 hours before needing to eat again.
Gentle sleep training is probably the easiest emotionally to do. Sometimes I find it very painful to listen to my little guy cry because he cries with such intensity. However, it does takes the most energy/effort, and could take baby anywhere from 5 mins to 2 hours to fall asleep.
The “Check up” method of sleep training was a good medium for me. I didn’t feel like I was ‘abandoning him in his time of need’ like most moms feel when they let there baby cry. I was also able to get small tasks done in between! Two birds – One stone!
This one was the toughest to do, but can be the most effective in terms of time it takes for baby to learn how to self sooth. I will say this, using this method does not hurt your baby, it does not mean you don’t care and you will not loose your baby’s trust. (Fears I know most moms have). I have actually transitioned from the check up method to the cry it out method with Mr. Grey, I explain why in the Check Up Method explanation.
What sleep method have you chosen? Let me know if or how it worked for you!