It all started when I was visiting a friend and she put her 7 month old to bed in 2 minutes. She told me that she read The Sleep Sense Program, and it changed her life. She sent it to me in PDF format and after reading it, I became empowered to help Joe sleep better. It advocates to let kids settle themselves to sleep, which inevitably means crying.
A little bit about Joe: at 7 1/2 months old, he was still sleeping with us in our bed. It would take 1+ hours to nurse and cuddle him to sleep for bed. I would have to get up 2-3 times a night to nurse and cuddle him back to sleep. His nap times during the day were fairly non-existent. Whenever he seemed tired, I would try to cuddle him to sleep. I would try my hardest to lay him down without waking him, and he would sleep for 20 minutes. If he woke up in the transfer process I would have to start the cuddling/rocking all over again. Most of my day was spent trying to get him to sleep! He was always tired. I knew we needed a change.
One of biggest changes we implemented was doing a routine before all sleep times. We feed Joseph so he goes to sleep on a nice full belly. At bedtime we also give him a bath. But hands down the biggest change we made was ALWAYS putting him in his own bed, and not jumping to pick him up at the slightest cry. I was meticulously noting everything we were doing for the first 4 days (see Day 1 here and Day 2 here). He is in a pretty good sleep routine these days, so I don’t write anything down.
Now Joseph will take 2 naps a day with a total sleep time of between 3-4 hours. His bedtime is between 10-11 pm and awake between 8-9 am, waking once in the night for a feeding. His late bedtime is something we are really trying to work on. Ideally we would like to see him asleep at the latest by 8pm. However, he is getting so good and getting himself to sleep. In fact, Josh told me that he fell asleep on his own last night after being laid in his crib awake! Normally we snuggle him to sleep, but he seems restless over these last couple of nights in our arms. We think it’s because he wants to be put down for sleep! Amazing!
Lessons learned: routine is our friend and it’s ok if baby cries (a little…hehe).