Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Is sleep training right for you?

Do you have a perpetual fog around you as you go through each day? Do you forget what you were about to do/say/ask right after it pops into your head? Is your one consistent thought really a prayer that you will get more than two hours of sleep at any one time? I was right where you are now for the first 9 months of my twin’s lives. I had tried everything, researched for hours, bought books...reflux and teething were initial issues, but even after these abated the sleep challenges continued.

I ended up sleeping on a bed in the nursery with my son (my daughter had few sleep issues). He would not stay asleep for more than 45 minutes at a time and wanted to be nursed back to sleep--I would try to sneak him into the crib and he would immediately wake and be very upset with me.

I found out I had trained him to only fall asleep by my nursing/holding him, and the slightest try for freedom would reset him to his neediest self all through the night. While I fully support co-sleeping, it seemed this arrangement made both of us wake far more often then was healthy for either of us.

I was at my wits end when I tried Suzy Giordano's book, "The Baby Sleep Solution: A Proven Program to Teach Your Baby to Sleep Twelve Hours a Night.' The best part is there's very little crying involved. I learned really helpful tips, such as most babies want to sleep earlier than we schedule them, even if they act charged up until bedtime.

Basically, Giordano’s method is in three steps:

# 1: Feed four times a day, every four hours. Make sure they get 24 oz or more a day, or a full nursing session (keeps them from wanting to snack all night). If they get fussy early, distract with a walk or new activity. Try to stay within 15 minutes of schedule. Do solids at the same time if feeding.

# 2: Do your bathing/pre-bed routine at the same time in the same order every night, feeding last--then place baby in crib awake (full, warm, dry), leave AND CLOSE THE DOOR--no sneaking! If she cries, wait 3 or so minutes, come back in, comfort. Don't pick up, but rub belly, sshhh, etc. Leave as soon as she calms, and repeat until she falls asleep. The first night can take four hours or more, but each night gets easier. By three nights, my son went from wailing to no crying when I left the room. It was a relief to be able to go in to him and not let him get hysterical.

# 3: When the first steps work, start to place baby in crib awake during naps after a shortened pre-nap routine using the same method.

The first week was a nightmare of no naps ( I almost gave up) because I had gotten them into feeding before naps, but I adjusted naps to within 2 hours of feeding, and they got fully used to it by 10 days (AM nap for 1 hour, 2 hour PM nap).

Both babies now regularly sleep from 7:30-6:30! While still nursing, I did one feeding if their little night cries escalated--they usually didn't eat enough during the day on those nights.

Good luck and happy sleeping! 


Giordano, Suzy. The Baby Sleep Solution: A Proven Program to Teach Your Baby to
Sleep Twelve Hours a Night.



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