Today’s blog was actually intended to be posted when our sleep training mission started. I had huge plans to do a daily blog post recapping that night’s events, but such is life. I tend to just go with the flow these days.
So to recap, Liam was approaching 13 months old and I was approaching the idea of jumping off a cliff. Not only was he waking up 3 – 4 times in the middle of the night, refusing to go back in his crib unless he was completely knocked out and unaware of his surroundings, he also decided 9:00 p.m. was no longer an acceptable bedtime. Oh and to top it off, he was now waking at 5:30 a.m. I was a zombie mom each and every day. The day before my husband and I had two weeks off work was the day I decided it was time to start sleep training the little night owl.
The crying it out method simply wasn’t for me, or for Liam. He would work himself up so much that he would almost vomit, or I would give up and go get him which just made him think, “Okay, if I cry good and hard, mommy will come get me.” I started researching sleep training methods and stumbled across The Sleep Lady Shuffle from The Sleep Lady, Kim West.
The concept in a nutshell:
There are three phases, each phase lasting three nights. For the first three nights, you actually sleep on the floor next to the crib (I didn’t care. I was desperate). Every time your little one wakes up in the middle of the night, merely, SHHHH him/her back to sleep. If they stand up or get really upset, you can lie them down or pat their back, but only for a few seconds. Nights four through six, you move your ‘bed’ closer to the door. Same concept, but if they wake, just SHHH – no more physical contact. For nights seven, eight and nine, you move your bed into the hallway right outside the door. And of course, you log the times for every stir, wake and cry.
What we did:
The first night was a zinger. The Sleep Lady says when putting your baby down, if they stand, lay them back down, when they are laying down, rub their back. Constantly tell them to SHHH and that it is bedtime. Holy moly! After a half hour of being screamed at and stiff armed, Liam finally gave up and went to sleep. Oh and this method is to be a one person job per night. So Reed and I took shifts and I happened to get night one because it was my brainiac idea. Liam woke up about four times, each time all I did was SHHH and he went back to sleep.
Night two was remarkably better. When going down, Liam stood up a few times but never once cried. We simply laid him down gently each time and told him it was bedtime. He woke up twice that night but with a SHHH, he was out.
The third night he actually laid down when we put him in his crib and never once stood up AND he slept through the night.
Nights four through six we moved our make-shift bed closer to the door and the nightly activity was pretty boring during this span of time…but boring was good!
Now, nights seven through nine we straight-up refused to sleep in the hallway (we had to draw the line somewhere). During these days, we simply stood outside his door for just a few minutes after we laid him in his crib and SHHH’ed him if he stirred. That was it.
Where we are today:
It is important to note that with this Sleep Lady Shuffle, a strict bedtime routine is key. Evidently babies thrive on routine. I also learned that when a baby is waking up very early, it is actually because they are going to bed too late. You would think the opposite to be true, but it’s not. So with this sleep training, we have established a routine for LT that consists of bath time at 7:00, bottle/snack in his highchair at 7:30, brush teeth and in his room by 7:45 – 8:00 p.m. for some quiet story time with music in the background. He get’s 10 – 15 minutes of story time and then its bedtime. Generally speaking he is placed in his crib no later than 8:00 p.m. and he wakes up at for school..aka daycare.
Our results have been straight up AH-mazing. After story time, we tell Liam it is bedtime, we give him kisses, he kisses his stuffed puppy, we lay him down and he is out. Not a single peep. And the best part is mommy and daddy have had uninterrupted sleep for five weeks now…FIVE WEEKS. The downside is we now have a limited amount of time with him once we get home from dinner, but at the end of the day a healthy, full nights sleep for Liam is more important. And a happy baby = a happy mommy and daddy!