Sleep Training Baby Satski

Baby Satski had a hard time sleeping from the night we brought him home from the hospital. He had witching spells from 11 PM until 2 AM, when nothing seemed to console him. He would only sleep on my chest, so I spent a week wedged in the corner of the couch, trying to get some sleep in the few hours he would sleep between feedings. My arms finally got a rest when he started sleeping in the Rock ‘n Play, but he still only slept for two to three hour stretches at a time. Sometimes around 3 AM, he’d refuse to go back to sleep and I’d have to rock him back and forth for an hour, sometimes two, until it was time for his next feeding and we’d attempt sleep again. At two months he started doing four hour stretches a night, occasionally. We transitioned him into his crib. But I was still up with him three times a night to breastfeed. At three months he started doing five to six hour stretches for his first round of sleep. Then he’d be up about every two hours after that. I breastfed twice a night. At four months, I was back at work full-time and exhausted from the lack of sleep. I was only feeding once at night, but after his first stretch of sleep, he’d be back up every two hours even though he didn’t need to eat. He seemed to have an increasingly harder time falling asleep, waking up just one hour after we put him down most nights.

We established a night time routine from the very beginning, which everyone says is supposed to help babies sleep through the night, but that didn’t work. I kept hoping he would eventually start sleeping longer hours by himself, but as the sleepless nights went by, we decided it was time to start sleep training when he was four months and three weeks old.  I was really conflicted about this decision and I don’t think it’s the right method for everyone. Some babies naturally start sleeping through the night on their own, but other babies need to be taught that they can soothe themselves to sleep; that it’s not an emergency every time they wake up a little in the night.

I had read so many articles online and heard about various crying it out methods through a lot of people. But the information was all so vague. I needed a book to lay it all out for me. I wanted to fully understand what to do in every possible scenario. I chose this book: The SleepEasy Solution.

Sleepy-Planet

It gives different instructions depending on your baby’s stage. I studied it and made notes. Here’s the plan we strategized:

Goal:

Put baby down to bed between 6 and 7 PM, and have him wake up between 5 and 6 AM

Bedtime Routine: 

  • Bath/Massage, Feed, Book, White Noise
  • Put down to bed, write down the time on sleep chart
  • Wait 5 minutes while he cries it out
  • Go in room, pat him and say an established phrase. We used “It’s okay baby, we’re here, we love you so much”
  • Don’t stay in room more than 30 seconds
  • Record the time on sleep chart
  • Wait 10 minutes
  • Go in room, pat and say established phrase
  • Leave room, record the time
  • Wait 15 minutes
  • Go in room, pat and say we love you
  • Keep waiting in 15 minute intervals from here on out, until he falls asleep
  • Record sleep time and total amount of time it took for him to fall asleep

Weaning: 

On top of sleep training, we also had to wean baby off his night feeding. The book told us how to do that too.

  • Wake him up one hour before his usual middle of the night feeding time (Yes, so crazy! After all the effort it takes to put him to sleep, you’re supposed to set your alarm and then wake him up)
  • Feed him his typical full amount on the first night
  • Feed him one ounce less on the second night
  • Feed him two ounces less on the second night
  • Feed him same two ounces less on the third night
  • Feed him three ounces less on fourth night
  • No feeds by the fifth night
  • If he wakes up the hour before his feed on his own, do not feed. Do check-ins until he falls asleep. Wait 10-15 minutes after he’s asleep, then wake him and feed him

Night-Time Wakings: 

How to deal with the multiple wakings that happen in the middle of the night after you’ve gone through the whole fiasco of putting him down and waking him up to feed him

  • Record what time he wakes up
  • Check in at 5, 10, 15, 15, 15… foreverrrrr minute intervals, just like when you put him to bed
  • Record how long each wake-up lasts

Morning  Wake-Up: 

  • Let baby sleep for up to 12 hours
  • Continue check-ins until established wake-up time
  • Go in, say “you did it!”
  • Open blinds, turn on the lights, cuddle, and give him his full feed if he’s ready
  • Do not in any circumstance let him fall asleep in your arms
  • Start day’s routine

IMG_5303

Here’s what our nights looked like (he’s crying at each check, but sometimes quiet for long stretches in between):

Night 1:

  • 7:10 down
  • 7:15 check
  • 7:25 check
  • 7:40 check
  • 7:54 asleep
  • 10:52 wake
  • 10:57 check
  • 11:00 asleep
  • 12:00 feed
  • 12:15 asleep
  • 2:20 wake
  • 2:25 check
  • 2:35 check
  • 2:50 stopped crying
  • 3:05 check
  • 3:20 asleep
  • 5:13 wake
  • 5:18 check
  • 5:28 check
  • 5:43 check
  • 5:55 asleep
  • 6:10 wake up for the day

Night 2:

  • 7:00 down
  • 7:05 check
  • 7:07 asleep
  • 7:53 wake
  • 7:58 check
  • 8:08 check
  • 8:20 asleep
  • 9:25 wake
  • 9:30 wake
  • 9:37 asleep
  • 11:25 wake
  • 11:30 asleep
  • 12:00 feed
  • 4:14 wake
  • 4:19 check
  • 4:26 quiet
  • 4:37 wake
  • 4:42 check
  • 4:52 check
  • 5:00 quiet
  • 5:08 wake
  • 5:16 quiet
  • 5:23 wake
  • 5:28 check
  • 5:33 asleep
  • 6:00 wake up for the day

Night 3:

  • 8:04 down
  • 8:09 asleep
  • 12:00 feed
  • 3:21 wake
  • 3:26 check
  • 3:37 check
  • 3:49 check
  • 3:55 check
  • 4:05 asleep
  • 6:00 wake up for day

Night 4:

  • 7:05 down
  • 7:10 check
  • 7:16 asleep
  • 12:00 feed
  • 3:02 wake
  • 3:07 check
  • 3:17 check
  • 3:32 check
  • 3:47 check
  • 5:30 wake for the day

Night 5:

  • 6:55 down
  • 7:00 check
  • 7:02 asleep
  • No feed
  • 12:51 wake
  • 12:55 asleep
  • 1:14 wake
  • 1:20 asleep
  • 2:20 wake
  • 2:31 check
  • 2:35 asleep
  • 4:30 wake
  • 4:38 asleep
  • 6:00 awake for the day

Night 6:

  • 7:06 down
  • 7:11 check
  • 7:14 check
  • 4:00 wake
  • 4:05 check
  • 4:20 check
  • 4:35 check
  • 4:50 check
  • 5:00 wake for the day

Night 7

  • 6:38 down
  • 6:43 check
  • 6:53 check
  • 6:58 sleep
  • 12:45 wake
  • 12:50 sleep
  • 5:30 wake for the day

Night 8

  • 8:00 down
  • 0 crying
  • 5:30 wake for the day

His schedule the first few nights seem brutal, but that’s what he was doing even before the sleep training, except I was waking up and consoling him each time, either feeding him, re-inserting his pacifier in his mouth, or holding him until he fell back asleep.

We did most of this in the middle of the week, and went into work the next mornings like traumatized zombies. Russell and I disagreed and bickered over the “right” way to do things. I cried and felt like a terrible mother. There were many times I wanted to give up in the middle of sleep training, but I’m so glad we got through the hurdle of those first 7 nights. It helped a lot that we could see him improving each night.

Also one of the most important things was that Russell and I were on the same page before we started. We may have fought a little in between, but we went into battle unified. Actually, Russell went to battle alone. He surprised me by starting the sleep training one night earlier than we agreed, while I was out at happy hour, blissfully unaware. He knew I’d have a hard time that first night, so he decided to kickstart it without me. I’m glad he did.

We’ve had a few hiccups here and there, but for the most part, baby’s been sleeping 9-11 hours every night for the last month. It’s been life-changing for the whole family. Russell and I have our evenings together again, I’m finally sleeping after being extremely deprived for the last 5 months, and baby is so much happier and less fussy during the day now. Things may change again (regressions are common), but for now, we’re celebrating that we’ve survived this long.

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3 thoughts on “Sleep Training Baby Satski

  1. Hi Erin! Your story is so silimlar to my experience with my son. He was a horrible sleeper and we sleep trained at 4 months. Best decision we ever made. I feel for you, all those sleepless nights seemed to never end. You feel so alone and like there’s no end in sight. Good for you for sticking with it. You are doing a great job!!!

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