Sleep training is yet another topic that every single mum would probably have a story to tell, and mine hasn’t been so bad. When we started discussing sleep training ACE, we sort different ways to go about it, which eventually led us to the sleep training path that we are on now. Initially, I was not open to a particular style, letting the baby cry, but I have come to realize that it is surprisingly an inevitable aspect if you really want to sleep train your baby. Before we started sleep training ACE, she woke up every single night and sometimes wanted to latch on throughout, now, we sleep so peacefully that it’s hard to imagine there’s a baby at home. In fact, we sleep like babies, lol! Now, how did we achieve this? Well stick with me as I take you through my journey of sleep training our baby, and you could learn a thing or two (I hope).

What did we try?

To start with, during our early days (oh she’s 8 months now :)), we read about different techniques which we tried;
– Playing white noise audio
– Playing lullaby (though I prefer singing)
– Reading a book
– Giving the baby a bath before bedtime.
But eventually, we incorporated only one, giving her a bath before bedtime (excluding winter periods) and it’s been very helpful. Honestly, the other approaches mentioned above were not effective.

How did we start Sleep Training?

On the first day of her seventh month, after a day filled with fun and joy, I turned to my husband and said, “let’s try this sleep training thing for real”. So we did. We gave her a bowl of Cerelac (this is the brand of cereal we use and she likes and what we give her every night). Afterward, we gave her a baby ideal hot bath, and it looked like she loved it! Then we powdered her, put on her night jumpers, turned off the light, prayed over her, placed her in her cot, and started to walk away. The show was about to start. She was sleepy but a bit confused because she was used to falling asleep in my arms. So as expected, she cried, but we left her alone for about five minutes and listened to make sure she wasn’t crying due to discomfort or pain, then we went in to check up on her. When we got to her, we didn’t pick her up but just patted her down for about three minutes to get her settled, and then left again. This time around, we left her for longer (seven minutes) and she didn’t cry so much but was still not asleep. We went in again to give her a pat and after about four minutes, she slept off. The last thing I did was to sleep in a different room because babies can smell their mums/breastmilk. I noticed that the nights I slept in the room with her she woke up more often than nights when we slept in separate rooms, and she slept all through the night. It’s been over a month now and she has been extremely cooperative.

Here’s a recap of this simple method of sleep training your baby.
  1. Ensure your baby is active and also naps during the day.
  2. Set a specific night time for baby. Anytime between 7 pm and 9 pm is ideal.
  3. Prepare baby for bedtime, that is with dinner and a nice bath.
  4. Place baby in the cot and turn off the light.
  5. Leave the room and listen for discomfort or pain cries. If the baby is crying to be carried, do not be tempted into doing so.
  6. Go and check in on baby after five minutes if the crying continues, and if not, then lucky you!
  7. If the baby is crying, pat to soothe for about three minutes while still in the cot and then leave again.
  8. Repeat step 6 if the baby is still crying (nobody said sleep training was easy, lol).
  9. Give yourself a pat on the back when the baby finally sleeps.
  10. Sleep in a different room if you can.

Note: Sleep training isn’t so easy. You have to prepare yourself for some hard things like;

  • Listening to your baby crying and not doing anything. You have to be strong
  • Going back and forth to check in on baby till they sleep

But in the end, you get to enjoy some great things;

  • Sleeping earlier
  • Sleeping throughout the night (if you’re lucky)
  • Having a routine for you and baby. It will help you plan better.
And what have we learned so far?
  1. You have to be very patient with your baby and the process. Its not everyone who is lucky enough to get results overnight, but be assured that you will get the desired results.
  2. Like I had mentioned earlier, you have to be strong when the baby is crying. It’s only normal for them to do so because they are used to being carried and sooted.
  3. Always ensure your baby has a filling meal before bedtime to increase their chances of sleeping throughout the night.
  4. Try and sleep in a different room away from the baby to avoid them sensing you and waking up for some night top-ups.

So that’s how we’ve successfully been able to sleep train our baby. There are still some nights when she cries a bit before sleeping, but most nights, she sleeps off the moment she is placed in her cot till the next morning. In fact, she sleeps for 12 hours straight or more. Now her dad and I can enjoy some couple’s time at night with no baby worry 😉

I would love to hear how this routine turns out for you if you try it out. Thanks for reading!

Love,
Nonso

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