Tips to Easily Segway Into Sleep Training

I’m a big pushover. I have two sons; for my first child, I finally tried “sleep training” at ten months. I realized that it was necessary because I just wasn’t sleeping; I would go into his room and fill his little tummy with formula or breast milk every few hours so I could get some sleep. It was an easy fix, and he would fall right back to sleep. But then one week my husband traveled to London. I just kept feeding him because I couldn’t handle the lack of sleep on top of working all on my own. I think I constipated my child. My pediatrician even assured me that he was getting enough calories. That’s when it clicked: my son doesn’t need to eat throughout the night, it’s all for comfort.

A friend of mine, who had a similar-aged child, had done sleep training a week before. She said it was great and, while hard, she was now getting sleep. So one night, when my husband was at a Cubs game (he is even more of a softy so I couldn’t rely on him), I started the process. My friend kept me strong as I wanted to give up.   I kept telling myself, this is the best for us both, he needs to figure this out. And after a few days, he was sleeping. Now, mind you, that doesn’t mean everything is blissfully easy moving forward. There is still sickness, traveling, schedules, and things that happen where these babies will try to suck you back into their web of holding and feeding, but then you just do another bout of sleep training and let them know who the boss is.

So I sound like a total hard ass, right? Cut to: me pregnant with my second, surprise! I was going to have two boys exactly two years apart. Technically, it ended up being two years and a day. Anyway, I told everyone, “I’m sleep training at three months--I can’t go through the same thing again. I know how beneficial it is!” But I had forgotten that, if the one cried, the other would wake up.

And so I prayed. I prayed I’d have one of those babies that would miraculously sleep through the night. And while my baby is pretty awesome, no, my friend, he is like his brother: obsessed with his mommy and obsessed with eating. Fast forward to seven months and there we were again: feeding the baby every two hours because we needed sleep. And there I was, once again realizing something had to be done.

So back to sleep training we went!  This time I made sure my husband was on board (I told him if he wasn’t on board that he could do all of the night feedings by himself).

To encourage me, my friends said things like:

  • He will still need you even after he sleeps through the night, he will always need his mama.

  • Sleep is important--right up there with food and air.

  • Mommy needs sleep to function, also it’ll be easier for others to help if baby is sleeping at night.

  • You are setting the foundation for healthy sleeping habits.

And on night three, he was sleeping!  Hopefully, we are on the up and up. Wish me luck, I’ll do the same for all of you sleepless, working, mamas.