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We’ve had great success over the past year with regards to sleeping kiddos (check out my post on our preschooler sleep solution here). We try not to brag about it too much to our friends with young kids because most want to smack us out of pure envy. It’s true: we have our 9 month old sleeping 12 hours at night with 2 naps during the day and we. Are. Loving it.
He came out of the womb a pretty good sleeper, I must say, but around 4 months the dreaded 4 month sleep regression hit and we were stuck in a routine of waking and feeding a few of times per night and for extended periods of time. At his 6 month check up, his pediatrician said: “At this point he’s waking out of habit, not hunger. Let him cry it out and eventually he will learn to sooth himself to sleep.” And I’m over here like, Umm..okay…I do not have the emotional stamina to withstand the “cry it out” method whatsoever. (Probably part of the reason my daughter has (had) sleep issues). Ryan, on the other hand, had zero qualms with this idea, most likely due to the fact that a freight train could run through our room and he wouldn’t wake up.
Sleep Training 101
We started the first night with extended periods of crying, both at bedtime and during the night. We were to choose a period of time in which he can “cry it out” then go in and comfort him but lay him back down awake. No rocking him to sleep and placing him in his crib already sleeping and no feeding him a bottle under any circumstances. We picked 10 minutes as our “cry it out” time allowance which to me seemed like an eternity. After the 10 minutes was up, I would go in, pick him up, sooth him, change his diaper if needed, and lay him back down. At first he would scream to be picked up again but then I tried resting my hand on his chest so he knew I was still there. I would stand there for what seemed like ages with my hand on his chest and he would eventually fall asleep. Not exactly convenient but at least he didn’t need me to hold him anymore. This wasn’t something I wanted to continue long term so I did some research to find a solution and hit the jackpot!
The 2 Baby Items that Helped Our Baby to Sleep through the Night
Nested Bean Zen Sleep Sack (affiliate link) – This was probably the best discovery for our specific situation! It’s a sleep sack with a weighted pad on the chest to mimic the pressure of my hand. How perfect! Now I didn’t have to stand there and wait for him to fall asleep. Nested Bean also makes a Zen Swaddle to swaddle your baby in! Check it out here:
The Sleep Sheep – After I would lay him back down, I'd hit the button on the Sleep Sheep and it would immediately calm him. This plush sound machine soothes him to sleep with several sound options (Cohen prefers the rain sound). Now when we turn it on at bedtime and nap time, he knows it’s time to go to sleep. Olivia used it as a baby too and loved it!
After 3 nights of using both of these items together, we had less initial fussing at bedtime and full night sleeps. Of course he will wake up occasionally for other reasons, such as teething etc. but now we are primarily getting 10 to 12 hour stretches every night. I completely realize that using ‘sleep aids’ is still a form of enabling but hey, whatever works, right?!
I hope my experience is helpful to you and with a little patience, your little one will be counting sheep in no time!
With Love & Light,