I know MANY of you have been asking for tips, tricks, and advice on sleep training and what my experience was with sleep training Leo, so I wanted to give you a little insight on our journey!!! Oh, and if you make it all the way to the END of this blog … there might just be an amazing giveaway for one lucky new mama or mama to be out there!!
First off let me say that I always thought I would be one of those moms that let my baby sleep wherever. I have fond memories of sleeping on a pile of coats in northern Alberta while my parents socialized till the wee hours. Justin and I aren’t “scheduled” people and so NO way was I going to “sleep train” my child. However, when I got summoned back to work almost immediately after Leo was born … I just about died. Two TV shows, building a house, travelling, and being a new mom … I needed SOME way to anticipate the day.
I also want to say that it’s not recommended to start sleep training until your baby is 3 months or 14 pounds, BUT there are ways to start to prepare and make your life easier in the interim while you wait patiently for baby to put on the pounds …
OK here we go!!!
A few months post Leo’s arrival, going back to work, and after exhaustion and breakdowns started to occur on the reg, and AFTER I read so many books and blogs with many failed attempts … I started to surrender to this process … that’s about the time WeeSleep reached out to me (HALLELUJAH!!!!) … I was soooo excited to get this started and LOVED the promise of a full nights sleep. But after a few nights, my excitement turned to angst.
It hasn’t been easy, but I was thinking the other day (after Leo had TWO 2.5 hour naps and then slept 11 hours through the night) “HOLY CRAP!! IMAGINE IF I HADN”T SLEEP TRAINED HIM!?!!?!
Lots of people wanted to know if crying was involved … so I think we have to be honest with that … 100% yes! Janey actually said to me that LEO was the babe that cried MORE THAN ANY SINGLE baby SHE HAS EVER HAD on night one! Lol … she also admitted she was losing her mind thinking “Seriously, this is happening with Jillian Harris for love of gawd … nooo …” LOL!!!
Having said that, (I know there are going to be some good and bad comments about this), I should let you know that WeeSleep’s method is no CIO (NO CRY IT OUT, which means no interaction and/or touch, words, etc.) … Although Leo DID cry, we were closely coached about how we could re-assure him, talk to him, be in the same room as him etc … It still made it terribly difficult but I wanted to trust the process even for a few nights.
From Janey: “Babies tend to cry when they are protesting change. When babe cries they are initially saying “Hey hey hey … where is that boob? Or my rocking? Or or or or- this isn’t how we roll!” Then, with consistency, they say “Hey, I am starting to detect a little pattern going on here … I am feeling safe and am kinda digging soothing myself to sleep thing!”
Janey taught me that there is NO reason to think that periods of crying, along with positive and loving, and attentive parenting have a negative impact and that research proves that structured sleep plans work and they increase health and well-being of the whole family. I was beyond relieved hearing this from her!! Basically, Leo would cry, but we could be in the room with him, talking to him or reassuring him … and eventually he didn’t need us anymore. But yes, crying is involved, and still when Leo wakes because of noise, teething or pattern interruption, we still let him figure it out on his own, (I mean lets be honest, like any diet or fitness training … we cheat sometimes 😉 … usually 90% of the time he now puts himself back to sleep before I cave and swoop him up.
So, I’m not 100% biased, there are SOME cons, and while they are slim, there are a few.
1. You need a controlled environment for naps: So Leo doesn’t really nap in a stroller or on the bed or floor (or at a randoms house on a pile of coats LOL) … it’s not like a “nap where you want” situation … so you need to figure out the WHERE and set up the nap locations if you aren’t going to be home (crib, dark, sleep sack, noise machine). Though, he WILL nap in the car, so road trips are okay!
2. You need a schedule: I was never a schedule person and now I find we are like clockwork, which I know does not sound fun to some parents … but you know what IS fun!??! Being able to entertain, watch a movie, have a bath … whatever you want when baby is sleeping! But you HAVE to stick to the schedule! This isn’t about YOU, it’s about the babe … so if you want results you have to stick to the routine!! Hahaha I sound like a fitness trainer!!! CRACK THAT WHIP! LOL! When you do, it’s amazing and you can go off it from time to time, but if you are wishy washy all the time then you won’t have the results!!
3. There’s no cuddling to or napping with baby: Yup. Which I really miss! LIKE SO MUCH!! Leo fell asleep on his Nana the other day while they were babysitting him and he NEVER does that with me anymore … and … I miss that 🙁
4. There are tears: As I mentioned above … there are tears, and every mom’s instinct is to fight that … so that was definitely difficult.
OKKKKK THOUGH … Then there are the PROS!!!
1. They SLEEP! So, Leo sleeps almost 4-5 hours during the day (2 big naps, usually 2 hours+ each) and goes to bed religiously before 7:30 and SLEEPS THROUGH THE NIGHT! OK DO YOU NEED MORE PROS THAN THAT?!?!??! LOL! He’s been doing that since he was around 5-6 months and has stayed on this schedule.
2. Cool, calm, and collected: I truly feel that most of his “cool, laid back” demeanor is due to the fact that he is WELL rested, and I am well rested … and so he rarely fusses …. which is amazing!! He is such an easy baby and RARELY whines or cries …
3. You can plan: Once you get your babe’s schedule down pat it’s easy to have and FOLLOW a routine! You can anticipate the day and know if you book a lunch at noon, you can take your babe and they will be a dream! No meltdowns! (well … I can’t guarantee that one … lol)
4. You’re not trapped at home: There is no feeling of being “imprisoned” … outside of nap time … You KNOW you have time during the day to work or clean, and getting a baby sitter is EASY because they just need to come sit there, no instructions for if they wake up because 95% of the time it won’t happen! At night, Justin and I have a glass of wine, work on the yard (or my computer LOL), and I really get a chance to get that downtime.
I am SO grateful for the process and highly recommend it!!! Though I REALLY still miss co-sleeping … at least I still have Nacho … LOL!!
If I could offer up two personal tips from me to you, they would be …
1. Bottle when baby WAKES not when they are going down for a nap (except before bedtime): Yup. Resisting the bottle in the middle of the night. Once they are “heavy enough” they can get through night 1-2 … and then you will find that they start eating WAY more during the day. Essentially they are getting their calories during the day, so they won’t need them at night! Sometimes this is hard with breastfeeding because you can’t measure how much supply you have or how much they are drinking, so for me, I found pumping and bottle feeding a great way to measure.
2. Sprout Baby App: I LOVED using this app when Leo was first born! Several caregivers can use it at once which helps keep EVERYONE on schedule as to WHEN baby woke last and when baby ATE last and for how long! It’s brilliant!!
In the end, there were about 4-5 tips that stuck with me, but to make it TRULY work, I think having a hard ass (cough … Janey … cough) to keep me accountable is what worked in the end. Picture a personal trainer here … sometimes you NEED that person to get the results. When I told Janey this she said that I wasn’t the first to point that out, having a check in person who KNOWS what is going on, having someone to vent to or hate during the process. It’s what helps parents move forward. Which, funny enough … Janey IS a personal trainer too … so she is not only a hard ass sleep coach but she is also that hard ass trainer … apparently, they go hand in hand!! LOL!! Alright … here are Janey’s top 5 tips!!
Dream On: Top Five Sleep Tips
1. Location, Location, Location – It’s All About the Crib
- Put your babe down to sleep in the same place as much as possible. Whether your child has their own room or shares, putting them to bed in a familiar place lets them know that they are safe and in a place where sleep – not play or awake time – is expected. They learn to love their crib – swear it!
- Sometimes you just HAVE to travel and be on-the- go. Then it’s time to improvise! Portable playpens and Dock-A- Tots are fair options if you have to be away.
- And remember, bare is best – a flat sheet on the mattress only. Sleep sacks are also a great safe addition.
2. Staying Up Does NOT Mean Sleeping In
- Think keeping your baby up later means they’ll sleep in later? HA. Think again. It’s actually the opposite. A child being overtired can cause early wakes, rough nights and of course a super cranky babe
- Think of the day as two distinct parts – 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night. If your wee one wakes at 7 a.m. then bedtime should be around 7 p.m.
3. Consistency is Key
- Babies, like adults, are creatures of habit. They love to know what’s going to happen next. Manage their expectations and keep it consistent. If they know that they get a bath, bottle, book then bed, then they’re ready for it and even start to look forward to it – makes sense, right?!
- Work out a night-time and nap-time routine that works for you – keep it less than 30-40 minutes or babe will get a second wind and blow your efforts out of the water.
Sample Bedtime Routine (30-40 minutes maximum)
Diaper, pajamas, sleep sack
Feed (if applicable for age) *Do not let babe get drowsy! Drowsy is dangerous. Cold
washcloths on the forehead are a great trick to keep babe awake and alert.*
Read a short story – with the lights on!
Sing a Song
Sample Nap Routine
Fresh diaper, change into comfy clothes (would you want to nap in jeans?) and sleep
Read a short story
Sing a Song
4. Drowsy is Dangerous
- This is for sure one of the hardest things to grasp about baby sleep. You do not want babe to be drowsy, half asleep and dazed when going into the crib. If awake is point “A”, asleep is point “B”. If your child needs something (like a soother, feed or rocking) to get from “A” to “B” you are in trouble. Ditch whatever it is and let your baby learn to put themselves to sleep. When it happens, it’s magical. And you’re there to support them every step of the way!!
5. Stick It Out
- Be committed to and excited about sleep coaching! It can be a bit scary and new at first, but remember that you’re finally going to sleep!! You’ll all feel healthier, more patient and obviously more rested. Embrace it. Revel in it. With the help of a professional, you know that someone is always on your side and looking out for you and your baby.
Alright, and LAST BUT NOT LEAST … make sure to enter the giveaway below if you are a new mama or a mama to be because this is WORTH IT!! Janey from WeeSleep is generously giving away a RESCUE ME Virtual Consult ($425 value) to one lucky winner!!
I hope you find this useful and that it answers some of your questions!!! Let me know what you think in the comments below and GOOD LUCK!!
Ps. The lucky winner will be randomly selected and announced on September 6th!
This is such a good read, and so helpful. Thanks so much for sharing.
Holy! The same thing happened to my daughter, and the only thing that worked was to let her understand she can sleep on her stomach too… Basically don’t turn him over, and he’ll soon figure out stomach is an option too! And don’t worry about the “dangers” of being on his stomach: if he can roll over again and again, he has enough neck control to turn his head from side to side. My daughter is actually a tummy sleeper now!
Love reading about this, great tips! We just finished sleep training our 5 month old, it was going wonderful and she was sleeping 12 hours at night.. but then yesterday she started rolling onto her tummy and can’t get back! I went in 15 times last night to flip her back! Did Leo go through this? Any tips?
I’ve sleep trained all three of my kids and they always went through the rolling over issue. At first I would roll them over again but when they started consistently doing it I would lay them down on the side they kept rolling over to so they would either have to figure out how to sleep on that side or learn how to roll back over. After about 3 days they figured it out and their sleeping schedule went back to normal.
Happy to see a Mom that is taking her babies best interest first. I see so many Mom’s who don’t believe in schedules, let the baby sleep whenever it wants, wherever it wants, and it’s a recipe for a totally exhausted and messed up baby lol. This is how we did it when I had my kids and it’s still the best method for both baby and Mommy to have their own ME time without each other!
My little man is only 6 weeks but when he’s 3 months or 14lbs you bet I’ll be sleep training him!! ❤️
Having sleep trained my son, it is the best thing ever. I am now the mom of an amazing 14 year old who has never fought bedtime and knows his body signals. He understands the importance of sleep and its impact and how you feel when you are overtired. 100% agree that crying does happen and you have bumps along the way but you handle them better as a parent because you are sleeping as well.
Thanks for the great info! What did you do if Leo woke up in the middle of night? How did you get him back down?
Thanks for the chance for the giveaway ?
I also never planned to sleep train and we have had hiccups along the way (including the fact at 13 months she does not sleep through the night still!)
Few things I agree with. – crying is ok. I had to learn it’s protesting and understand she was ok. I bask in having a schedule and able to plan out days so well.
I want to say for other mamas. 10.5-11 hours at night is OK! I struggled for so long trying to get 12 and in actuality very few can do a full 12 hours in their crib. It doesn’t leave much Sleep debt for the rest of the day. That being said Leo seems to get a lot of sleep for his age (sorry!) 4 hours of day sleep would be great but again most do 2-3 so keep expectations realistic if you can’t get that!
My daughter in law used Wee Sleep and highly recommends them. She was so sleep deprived I felt so bad for her. Now they are all rested, happy and thriving!! Sleep is very much under rated! Glad to hear it worked for you too Jillian ?
Love your post ! I used the same sleep training method, and it worked like a charm. 🙂 However, My Eve who’s born one week after Leo hehe, still wakes up for a bottle during the night, even if she eats and drinks like a ogre during the day. What should I do?
Love this blog post!! Dying to get my six month baby on a schedule as I am self employed and need to get back to work soon!
Hi Jillian! Thank you for the post – I really enjoy reading your blog and watching your shows. This entry has especially hit home! My little boy is 5 months old and we are desperate for more sleep (both for his growth and development and for us to survive the next few months!). We are moving to Kelowna, I will be writing a huge board exam and starting work. 🙁 Thanks for the advice (which I do follow religiously) but haven’t seen results (yet) from our early sleep training attempts. Wish us luck!
So lucky! I started sleep training, it went well for a month, then for some unknown reason he started crying so hard he vomited the bottle every time, now i sooth him down and put him down semi sleep into his crib. I know its no good, but i rather do that than him throwing up every night.
Sleep training does not work for all baby’s. I hope that moms with baby’s that cry so hard that they throw up don’t feel like failures because they have to rock or soothe there baby’s to sleep. Rocking and soothing your baby is ok.
I agree with this… some babies don’t just fuss and cry a bit. They are hysterical, hyperventilate and throw up… not very peaceful at all is it? but mom gets to sleep? Doesn’t seem too fair to me. Hope moms do their research and find what feels right to them and their babes. I personally love sleeping with my babes and wouldn’t trade it for anything!!
Omg Jillian. Thank you for that. My son Eddie turned 1 on August 25 and we are going to start sleep training tomorrow ? I know I’m starting late however I never knew anything about sleep training. The advice you gave is awesome. Thank you so much. Love you guys.
Love this. Which sleep sacks do you use? We have an 8 month old and finding sleep sacks that work is challenging.
We use the Gunapod sleep sacks from Gunamuna and I absolutely LOVE them, they’re so soft!! http://www.gunamuna.com/shop/ XO
Our baby boy is turning 10 weeks old this Friday and we haven’t had a full night’s sleep since before he was born 🙁 we will have to wait a bit longer to start sleep training because he was born small – four pounds, 13 ounces – and is only eight pounds now! Can’t wait to get him on a schedule. This momma needs some much needed z’s!
My daughter had acid reflux as well and because she was in pain a lot I never considered sleep training. I was a zombie for a year and at 2.5 she still wakes at least once a night but only needs us for 30 seconds. I have 2 other children that never required sleep training. They slept well in their own. I am a schedule person and always followed babies cues for eating and sleeping so that helps I think.
Every baby is different and every baby has different needs. It was extremely hard with my daughter but I wouldn’t change it…I want my babies to know I’m always there for them no matter what. Especially at night when it’s dark. They are only babies for a short time…I have a 14 year old and I now just bathe in my 2 babies because everything is just a phase and will pass. Nothing compares to the ease and sweetness of a babe
Thank you so much! I have a two and half month old that I would love to train to sleep better. He has acid reflux and I think that’s waking him up :(. Any tips on that? Thanks!!
I will definitely keep this information bookmarked come next year 🙂 Thanks Jill!
So loved reading this! I have followed your Leo journey since the very beginning and always refer back to your baby posts about what you love, your tips, best baby gear, etc. Please keep writing!! Now we are off to Hawaii for vacation and i’m terrified of the time change for our 6 month old – any tips for when you took Leo?!
Hi Jordan! Thanks so much!! I actually recently shared a post on our first trip to Hawaii with Leo!! You can check it out here: https://jillianharris.com/maui-recap-travelling-leo/ XOXO
Sleep training saved with my my PPD. I had it with both my boys. And knowing they were well rested and happy made the days so much easier to tackle.
Hi JIllian, I really love reading your posts. Can you please tell me what Janey’s credentials are as a sleep coach, and what evidence are you siting that structured sleep plans increase your health?
Hi Melissa! You can find all of that out on her website or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org XO
Does Leo have a crib liner? Does he sleep with a lovey? Thanks for sharing!
Amazing insight and excited to try some of these tips with our new little bean when she arrives! <3
I had an absolutely miserable baby, she cried day and night (when held, in her chair, swing, car seat, stroller, baby carrier) and would not sleep for more than 2 hours at a time. When she was 4 months old my Dr. said “she cries when you hold and when you put her down so put her down and let her learn to sooth herself. She is probably over stimulated from all that you are doing trying to calm her”. It took a few weeks for her to learn the routine but once she got the hang of it she was sleeping 11-13 hour nights and taking two 1.5 hour naps during the day. Almost 10 years later and she is still the BEST sleeper! My only wish is that I had started sooner!
I used this approach with my children as did most other moms I knew. Somehow the new generation slipped away from it and unfortunately suffered the consequences.
Babies grow and develope during sleep and that just doesn’t happen if they are tugged along because mom wants to go out. It would be like us trying to sleep with a big party going on. We would want to be a part of it.
Also at some point your child will go to one nap and eventually no nap. Otherwise how will they manage in school! The first sign for this is a change in nap times and nightime napping. You will know when it’s time and because Leo can settle himself he will help you figure out what he needs. It’s hard to give up the scheduled me time but as he gets older you will find more things to do together. Like spending your time with him when another baby arrives and is sleeping.
It’s interesting reading how different families do sleep and sleep training.
I’m glad it work for you and Leo 🙂
I want to start out by saying how much I love following your journey, Jillian, and as a mother of a fourteen month old girl, I can relate to a lot of your posts. However, this particular one has left me with the need to share a different perspective. From day one, I realized quickly that sleep is vital yet fleeting for a new mama. I was also debilitated by the lack of sleep and fully understand the breakdowns and desperation that comes with it. There is a lot of advice out there, and then there are your instincts. Instincts such as the overwhelming need to pick up your baby when they cry. It is biological. There is a reason why every fibre of your being wants to hold your baby when they cry and why you have a physiological reaction to that sound.
I am sure that Janey is lovely, but sadly, I think that her advice left out a few key details that have been confirmed by science. This is her business. A business that produces happy customers when the babe eventually becomes the “good sleeper” that you express.
It is detrimental to an infant to be left to cry outside of the embrace of a parent or loved one. Studies have confirmed that an infant left to cry alone has elevated levels of cortosal – putting them in a fight, flight or freeze mode. When that same infant is crying in their mother’s embrace, cortisol is not present. Following the first few nights of sleep training, when your baby stops crying and is able to go to sleep on their own, raised levels of cortisol are still present, even though they are no longer voicing their concerns through crying. Why would they? They have realized that crying, one of their only means of communication, does not warrant a response and is therefore futile. I can get into how elevated cortisol in infants wires their brain for stress and anxiety, producing the children and adults whom we see today in our Western world with a plethora of issues and diagnoses, but that would have to be a whole other post!
What if I were to tell you that babies are not supposed to be “good sleepers” and that is a myth created in our society so that you can entertain, or watch a movie, or take a bath? Or that self soothing is impossible for infants based on the parts of their brain that they have access to at such an early age. Self soothing is a skill related to the regulation of one’s emotion. It is a developmental milestone that is reached in part when the last part of the brain matures; the neocortex, which is the rational or analytical part of the brain that enables humans to assess a situation and react accordingly. In infants, and even children, the neocortex is extremely underdeveloped, which makes it physically impossible for an infant to regulate strong emotions and deal with unmet needs. It is therefore vital for parents to fulfill their role of externally regulating the emotions of our infants, which is obvious based on our own reaction to their cries. We need to help them as much as they need our help. And needing our help to fall asleep or connect with us when they wake in the night are completely legitimate needs.
How and when has someone, or many someones, convinced us to crush our compassion for our child? No matter how many people who do it, or say that it is ok, doesn’t change the fact that it is not okay to ignore the needs of our babies at an age when responsiveness is vital to their lifelong well being.
Thank you so much for sharing your opinion!! I’m not disagreeing with you or agreeing with you and maybe we won’t go this route with our next baby … but with Leo I went to work 10 days after having him and so for me, this was the only answer, to be a sane mama and get him set up with a great sleep routine. XO
Yikes! I apologize for offending you. Guilt tripping was not my intention. Simply offering information and a different perspective. I think that it is important to look at all sides of decisions like this. If my comment doesn’t speak to you, you are welcome to move on. I am indeed a mother, however, your insinuation that I am not is another form of mom shaming.
I’m sorry but an exhausted mom is more detrimental to everyone’s health. Within days of sleep training my baby, she went from a screaming terror to a happy, giggling girl. Sleep training literally saved my life and my marriage. I have a hard time believing you’re a mother, otherwise you would know how debilitating sleep deprivation is. Please stop guilt tripping moms looking to get a good nights sleep.
I should start out this comment by saying I neither agree or disagree with sleep training and I really feel that each persons home and family should do what is best for them and especially for a Mothers mental health. I also am not someone who would normally comment on a post but reading this article did leave me feeling disappointed. Currently I have a 1 year old cosleeping and still breastfeeding which I’m sure for a lot of people would be their worst nightmare. I always thought I would sleep train and never sleep with my children but then this beautiful sweet baby appeared in my life and there was no way I could let her cry without responding to her needs. I realized that her only way of communicating with me I couldn’t ignore and yes she may learn to self settle but really I was teaching her that Mom wasn’t there for her in the night. For it wasn’t simply “protesting” a change it was her conveying her primal need for human affection. I could only imagine if I was in pain or scared in the night crying for my husband and he told me to figure it out on my own. While I can only speak for myself and my circumstances your influence and article implies a Mom would be crazy not to sleep train and while I’m sure tons of Moms have asked you about your experience I believe there are ways to share which does not encourage every sleep deprived Mom that sleep training is the only way to be able to cope
Thank you for taking the time to write this Michelle, its everything I wanted to say but just don’t have a moment to do so right now. Good for you for sharing these insights!!
Quick question, when you talk about reassuring Leo when he was crying and being in the same room, did you do this by just sitting in his room and talking to him calmly and reassuring him everything is okay?
New mama to be and trying to get as much info as I can! Oh man I hope my babe sleeps like Leo!!!
Yes, we would stand there in the room and talk to him!
I’ve always been nervous about sleep training. My babe is 13 months old and has always been a pretty good sleeper-waking once per night. So I never thought it was necessary, but now over a year of waking up at the 5 hour mark is so exhausing. With reading this, I am less nervous about letting her figure it out-and reassuring her that we are not letting her CIO alone!
YES! The blog post I’ve been waiting for! I’m nervous about sleep training my 6.5 month old daughter, but excited to not wake up at night!
I’m just curious how many hours there are between his naps and bedtime?
Sometimes I don’t know if naptime and bedtime are too close or far apart.
Typically Leo naps twice a day from 9-11 and 2-4 and then his bedtime is at 6:30pm!! XOXO
yes to all of this ! We did sleep training I think it saved my sanity. Understanding wake times was also a HUGE game changer.
I feel you on the they don’t just sleep anywhere, but think about it as an adult, I bet we sleep better in our own beds than in a car or someone else’s bed right ?
They are only little for a short amount of time. It’s a tiny sacrifice to make to be home for naps
I sleep trained all three of my babies, and I’m glad to hear it all worked out for you!! It’s definitely a life saver! However, I’m going to warn you now, your sleep training tips (especially for during the day) will change once you have more kids 🙂 unfortunately it’s not the same when you have to drive one child to school, one to preschool, then do a preschool pick up at lunch and a school pick up at 3:00 and then go to hockey and ballet 🙂 And that’s when you realize that the perfect marriage between sleep training and flexibility is possible! You can message me when baby three comes along 🙂
I’m glad sleep training worked for you. We sleep trained our daughter and she sleep likes a pro! Our son is an entirely different sleeper and I’m realizing now that we’ve got a couple elements to our routine that likely make it harder for him. Oops!! My little dude is a couple weeks younger than Leo.
What time is Leo napping these days?
Typically Leo naps twice a day from 9-11 and 2-4 and then his bedtime is at 6:30pm!! XOXO
Which sleep sack do you use? We’re still swaddling but need to graduate to the next step.
Hi Courtney! We use the Gunapod sleep sacks from Gunamuna and I absolutely LOVE them, they’re so soft!! http://www.gunamuna.com/shop/ XO
Jill, this is amazing! I had my little girl Lennon after you had Leo and I really wanted to hear about your sleep training efforts. Now that they are here, I already followed Sleep sense and trained our daughter in the same fashion. A few days and nights of tears = a happy, rested baby and mama. Thanks for sharing!
We used wee sleep when my little guy was 9months old. I finally caved after a month of sleep regression.
Luckily, he can nap in the stroller. I was determined to make it happen and I did. If I wanted to go out and he needed to nap I would make sure I was going somewhere I could walk him for 20-30min to let him fall asleep. We have a white noise app on our phones to help as well. We don’t do it all the time and stroller naps are always short but it at least gives us more flexibility and freedom.
So if Leo goes to bed at 7 and up at 6 what times are his 2 naps at? Due to our schedule my 14 month old goes to bed at 9 up at 7:30-8ish and nap at 2 for 2-2.5hrs) she hasn’t had 2 naps since she was about 10 months old. 2 lo g naps a day would be a dream! She also falls asleep while travelling in a car but not a stroller.
Hi Nikki! Typically Leo naps twice a day from 9-11 and 2-4!
Such good advice! Thanks for the help!!!?
I see you answered this already. Thank you!
This is super helpful and encouraging. My little dude is 8 months and I’m struggling so much to find a routine for him at night. He naps well but refuses to sleep in his crib through the night. I always cave and end up bringing him into our bed so hopefully I can ditch that with some of these tips
This is so helpful, Jillian! How long is Leo awake between naps?
I see you answered this already. Thank you!
I am not truly convinced that sleep training exists.with my first one (now 3.5 years old) there was and still is,nothing that can keep him asleep (only if he wants to). With my second now,she is more collaborative whit again there are issues. I just think maybe it’s just my kids, lol!
I’m beyond grateful you mentioned WeeSleep in your instagram stories! I was at my wits end and in the middle of the 4 month sleep regression with my little Matilda. As soon as you mentioned sleep training I grab my phone and called WeeSleep. The next day we had started our sleeping training and by the 2nd night Matilda had slept 14 hours straight! It literally saved my life! Thank you Jillian and WeeSleep, for giving me my sleep back! ❤️
Thanks for the tips, Jill! Glad it worked out so well for you! I have a quick question. If my almost chunky 5 month old is already a great sleeper but still wakes once to breastfeed, do you think Janey would recommend to already try and cut this feed out? Or when would they typically start sleeping the full 11/12 hours? Thanks!! xo
Great article, thank you!
Sleep training works and what is more it make parents and a baby much more happy! I always thought that sleep training is a long process and apparently I was wrong. When my baby girl was 4 months old I tried the Hold With Love method by Susan Urban from her HOW TO TEACH A BABY TO FALL ASLEEP ALONE guide ( http://www.parental-love.com ). My daughter has always been a pretty terrible sleeper so I thought it is going to be a long trip to get her to sleep properly but after a few days we made it ( ONLY A FEW DAYS!!!!!!!). After the HWL method she falls asleep on her own without rocking and her naps looks much better. We are eliminating night feedings now with the HWL and it looks promising.
I am glad I decided to change my daughter’s sleeping habits and we are all much more happy now.
I would like to thank you Sandra for sharing your story, after reading your comment I decided to get the guide and finally stop rocking and feeding my baby to sleep. After 2 days we made it! Only 2 days and my son started to fall asleep on his own after more than 7 months of rocking him to sleep! Amazing! Thanks so much!
I am going to follow this blog for sure 🙂
Quick question for you. Did Leo ever wake up from a nap after 40 mins or so? And if he did, what tips or tricks would you suggest? This is the one thing I’m struggling with.
I am terrified to sleep train, but I really want to! The hardest part though is convincing my husband that we should do it!! Hoping I can convince him soon!
Thank you for sharing your experience. I too used weesleep when my little one was 5 months old and I am so happy I chose them to assist me with sleep training. I also saw your Insta Story where you talked about adjusting to life without a sound machine and snuggle buddy etc. Just wondering if you will be sharing any details about this or how to deal with sleep outside of the home, for example once babies are ready for daycare or day homes. 🙂
My son is the same age as Leo and it’s fun to watch your videos. They are hitting so many of the same milestones at the same time. We also sleep trained and our only issue is early wake times. A full n8ghts sleep sure makes a difference.
Thanks for sharing. I’d love to learn more about how you provide comfort with the no CIO method. Getting ready to start sleep training my LO and nervous!
What a wonderful giveaway!!!!! I need to do this!
Do you have any tips for babies getting over jet lag?
Thank you sooo much for writing this blog. I’ve been waiting for you to share your tips and tricks. I am on the verge of having to attempt this with my 10 month old son and reading your blog has helped me make a desicison. You are AMAZING!! Thank you
The best thing about having a sleep routine is, if your baby does need to go to sleep somewhere other than the usual, the fact that you’re going through the same motions gives them the information that “no, this is not home, but yes, you are going to sleep now”.
The whole sleep training thing didn’t work for us. The bad reflux our baby had meant that we were not willing to let him throw up to sleep. Not to mention that all that crying is strenuous and burns A LOT of their energy, which is a reason they tell people not to start it when the baby is too little. What we did do and worked marvelously though was to always point him in the right direction. So we have a routine. We have structure. So sometimes he’s able to go to sleep by himself, but most times he likes us to be there and hold his hand. But the most important thing is: he knows when he is tired and he asks to go to bed.
Bottomline is: not everything works for everyone. But that is a reason to do some tweaks, not to give up a process altogether.
How long did you let Leo cry for? I’m having a hard time sleep training my 7 mo old. I feel like i dont have the heart to let him cry out. If i go in the room and then try to leave he cries even harder! It’s so heartbreaking to hear him cry. 🙁 Rescue Me!
Love these suggestions and I’ve implemented several with our 18 month old James!
Thank you so much for sharing your story! New mamas need honest stories like yours more often! I’d really like to start sleep training my 2.5 month old son, Finn. He’s a big boy at 17lbs already LOL he had a good head start at 10lbs2oz when he was born! Right now his bed time is 9pm…when can we start to move it to earlier in the evening?? It would be nice to miss most of the ‘witching hour’ from 5-7pm!
Also, what do I do if babe cries during the night? Right now, he wakes at around 2am and I’ve been feeding him – although he is not awake, just crying. But after that feed, he wakes every 2 hours for another feed! Should I let him cry and reassume him/talk to him, but not pick up and feed?
What sound machine do you use?
Would you recommend sleep training if my 4 month old fights daytime naps but sleeps 8-10 hours a night?
We just hit the 4.5 month mark and it’s such a struggle to get him to nap during the day.
Ohhhh man! This would be amazing. I really need this ? My bebe is nine months and wakes up at least twice!
We are currently sleep training our 7 month old, thanks for the encouragement and lots of new tips to try!
Thanks so much for sharing your experience. We sleep trained our little guy when he was 4.5 months and my husband says it’s the best thing we’ve ever done for him. He is now 6.5 months and I’m wondering what Leo’s schedule was like at that time? I saw you comment on his current nap routines. What’s his wakeup time?
I actually took a screen shot of the hand written schedule you left for Justin on your TV show! Hahah I’m a little nuts! I’m just interested in other people’s routines but know every baby is different.
Thanks again for sharing 🙂
I am just thrilled by “How to teach a baby to fall asleep alone” guide mendtioned by Sandra! I searched many times on google to get help like this guide! short! clear instructions! Without unnecessary information, less than 20 pages and after reading I knew what, when and how! The method has worked just great in 2 days so I am very happy with what we achieved!
This is basically the same method I used with my 5 kids. For the first 3 months they slept in a crib BESIDE our bed. Then, they were moved to their own room…and the training began…along with the crying. We wouldn’t actually stay in the room – but one of us would go in every 15 minutes and tell them that we are still here and then leave (no touching). A few days later we waited maybe 30 minutes – instead of 15. ALL of our kids were trained in less than a week.
This method works – BUT is not for the wishy washy parent. I cried right along with them. Sometimes my husband would have to hold me back from running in to pick them up! But it is SOOOO worth it! Our kids slept 12 hours every night (from 3 months old). Although they all stopped having daytime naps by the time they were 1. But our sex life never suffered – and our kids (now ages 9 to 16) still know that our room is off limits.
Biggest tip – get a sound machine for baby’s room. No one has to tip toe around – and life doesn’t have to stop just because baby is sleeping.
Wow – I didn’t realize how controversial sleep training is. I just glanced at the comments – and feel like I should have written more.
Like I said – my husband and I used a method similar to this with all 5 of our kids.
No scientists ever interviewed us – but I can assure you that our kids get all the love and affection they want or need WHEN they are AWAKE. They are 9, 11, 12, 15 and 16 and none of them have any neglect issues, or feel unloved, or abandoned. The few days of crying in their cribs isn’t even a thought in their minds.
Parents can do whatever they want. I have friends who still rock their 2 year old to sleep – and others who sleep with their kids – and they are HAPPY with that lifestyle. They don’t want to change and they shouldn’t. Me and my husband are different. We like our bedroom to be our sanctuary – and we like time alone without the kids – we like to have sex in our bed whenever we want – and we are a busy family, so we like having independent children….so with this method, we could have that.
As a bonus – there were only a few days of crying – and then total peace after that (with the exception of illness….you have to adjust your schedule to sooth a baby that is in pain, teething or sick). We’re not heartless animals here, people!! The baby would go into their crib and fall asleep. No stress at all. Anytime we left them with Grandma or a babysitter – there was no stress for them either. Just a baby that knows when it gets into the crib that it is time for sleep. And my husband and I could literally sleep for 12 STRAIGHT hours….which we never did – but I’m just trying to make a point. We had 5 kids in 7 years because we felt GREAT! Okay, I admit, it also felt pretty good being called ‘Super Parents’ because we have these kids who don’t wine and fuss at bedtime and they just go to sleep on their own. Bedtime routine at our house was always the highlight of the day because our kids didn’t fight it. We would snuggle, and read, and pray – and then to sleep!
For me – soothing a crying baby made ME feel better – but I soon realized that the baby slept better if it was just left alone to go back to sleep on their own.
As parents, choose the method that is right for you – but please don’t insult a method that has worked for many families – and have happy kids as a result of the work that the parents put into sleep training. Skip the scientific studies and ask friends and family what works for them. Our family would prove those scientific studies wrong.
But whatever you decide – be consistent! Wishy washy parenting doesn’t benefit the child at all.
Also a side note – once the baby is into a bedtime/nap time routine for a few months – they will learn to sleep anywhere….just have the baby’s favorite blankie and a sound machine to drown out the noises. You’re not going to be stuck to the crib forever! You can still travel and have a social life.
Our family is a testament that this method works – take it or leave it.
I am a strong believer in Sleep Training. I sleep trained both of my kids (2.5 years old and 10 months) by MYSELF because I needed to be in control of the situation. I used the “Sleep Easy Solution” method and it worked so well. You need to find what works and stick to it! Both my kids are star sleepers and me and my husband are well rested too.
Hi Jillian – Great post! I live in Ontario and will definitely be taking your recommendation to reach out to Weesleep for sleep training! Two quick questions for you. 1. How old was Leo when you started sleep training? 2. Which package did you use from Weesleep? Thanks so much!
Sleep training is something that has to be done eventually. My 8 year old niece still has to have her mom or dad lightly bounce/rock the bed for her until she falls asleep because her parents used to pick her up anytime she fussed. The baby would fart and they would run over to her and pick her up! The poor child is afraid to go anywhere for a sleepover, even to her trusted aunt and uncle’s house because she is scared of bedtime. I picture Lacy going to college and finding a boyfriend who will sleep with her because she needs that comfort. This is an extreme example, but parents need to realize that they have to put the work in eventually. And yes it is work. But you have to do what is right for the child. Parents who don’t want to let their baby cry for even a second think that they are being loving and doing what is best for the baby. Parents who sleep train think that they are loving their children by teaching them to be independent and not afraid to be alone. Both kinds of parents hearts are in the right place. Just because my wife and I let our children cry for a few minutes doesn’t make us unloving. In fact we feel the complete opposite. If my sister and her husband would teach their daughter how to go to bed herself they would be doing all of our family a favour. It is a nightmare every time our niece comes to our house for a sleepover (or Nana and Papa’s, or my other sister, or her other Grandma and Grandpa, or the babysitters who refuse to babysit in the evening because this young girl still wants her Mommy). Teaching is done because we love – not because we hate. So to all the parents out their who feel bad about a sleepy baby crying – don’t! Your love is producing a happy, healthy, independent sleeper. Good job!
It’s ironic that all these working mom’s scoff at letting a baby cry at bedtime – but then turn around and leave a crying baby during the daytime when mom is suppose to be there to comfort them. Interesting.
Thanks for this Jillian. As usual I love your sense of humour!
I just read an article entitled “5 Reasons Modern-Day Parenting is in Crisis, According to an English Nanny” by the Huffpost. In short, the 5 reasons are:
1) A fear of our children (Parents are suppose to be in charge – not the children)
2) A lowered bar (Parents excuse their children’s behavior instead of correct it)
3) We’ve lost the village (Parents don’t want other people to discipline their children)
4) A reliance on shortcuts (Parents now use technology to entertain their children rather than teach them to play on their own or use vibrating chairs and swings to sooth a baby instead of teaching it to self-sooth)
5) Parents put their children’s needs ahead of their own (There is nothing wrong with using the word “No” on occasion)
To summarize – the article closes by stating:
“I fear that if we don’t start to correct these five grave parenting mistakes, and soon, the children we are raising will grow up to be entitled, selfish, impatient and rude adults. It won’t be their fault — it will be ours. We never taught them any differently, we never expected any more of them. We never wanted them to feel any discomfort, and so when they inevitably do, they are woefully unprepared for it. So please, parents and caregivers from London to Los Angeles, and all over the world, ask more. Expect more. Share your struggles. Give less. And let’s straighten these children out, together, and prepare them for what they need to be successful in the real world and not the sheltered one we’ve made for them.”
Just look around you. The proof is all round us – selfish, impatient, rude and disrespectful children.
Just something to think about.
One question! To get into a good routine, do you need to try to schedule nap TIMES? Like put him down at certain times of the day for a nap. We did a sort of DIY sleep training method after reading multiple blogs and our babe started falling asleep on his own and sleeping through the night. Day time naps were (and still are) just kind of as he looks/seems tired though. He hasn’t been sleeping as great the last few weeks and could be partially due to teething, but more likely because of the fact that bed time isn’t super consistent. We are working on the bed time consistency, but I also wondered if the timing of naps is something to really focus on. I feel like bed time has been inconsistent because his last nap was “later than usual” or something like that. If nap time scheduling is a definite must, any advice on a sample schedule for nap times & bed time??
Hi Jillian! What sound machine do you use for Leo? We can’t seem to really find one that we like!
Great and useful guide. It helped me put my son to sleep in his own bed after sleeping with me for 7 months. Love it!
OMG AMAZING!!!! XOXO
“How to teach a baby to fall asleep alone” ebook by S. Urban 10 out of 10! Great help! And I love that the instructions was short and sweet and that the method is without CIO and to be honest it’s the most gentle I’ve seen so far! It has changed my daughter into a sleep champ in 3 days! Thanks
I used this method for night and for longering nap time. Both cases it worked pretty well. And I felt totally fine with this method – I couldn’t imagine more gentle one. Thank you Susan!
At what’s age dud you decide to sleep train Leo? My little guy is 6 weeks old and I got back to work in 6 weeks. I he is a pretty good night sleepr, but naps are a struggle which results in him being overly tired. Trying to figure out when to start sleep training him so that i can be prepared! Thnx!
All the guides for parents should look like “how to teach a baby to fall asleep alone” written by Susan Urban – short! clear instructions! Without unnecessary information, less than 20 pages and after reading I knew what, when and how! The method has worked just great so I am very happy with what we’ve achieved!
Thanks Sandra for the recommendation
Urban’s guide shows the healthiest method out there. It just makes so much sense. Child feels safe, not betrayed, and it really really works. In our case it was only 3 days! Thanks so much for sharing
Will you do you updated post on the 2 to 1 nap transition and when you knew Leo was ready for the transition? hope so! THANKS!
Thank you so much for this amazing training tips. i really like to use this for my baby. There are a lot of mistruths and misleading information out there about sleep consulting and sleep training. Sleep training for babies and toddlers is something that is offered all over the world by consultants, doctors, hospitals and so on. And, the type of consultation and advice you receive comes down to the professional you choose. Sleep consultants and professionals have different views on sleep training and what methods should and shouldn’t be used.
That’s exactly why I decided for this HWL method by Susan Urban – the most gentle method I’ve ever found. And it worked so fast, my husband did not want to believe! 😉
I’m reading this old post because I’m about to start sleep training this weekend and an so anxious and overly emotional about it. We are going to use WeeSleep to help coach me through it but I just hate the thought of not cosleeping anymore. I’m going to miss her so much but she wakes every 30-45 minutes at night right now and that just doesn’t seem healthy for either of us. Wish us luck and thanks for the great blog and sleep coach recommendation!
Thank you for sharing with us. I have a 6weeks old /11 lbs and desperate for a better nap/sleep routine. Were you able to start some “training” around that age? I am hoping to eliminate the frequent short breastfeeding sessions at night.
Thank you so much for sharing this experience. I’m a new mom and I’m having it hard on me with my baby not sleeping well.
Question: Has Leo ever slept for only 30 min or 1 hour only after you did all the routine? What did you do to correct this?
I’m asking cause my baby will not nap for longer than 1 out at time. It’s been exhausting.
Another question: when you say you would put Leo awake on his crib and turn off lights would you stay in the room talking to him? Would you touch him at all? Would you ever leave the room and come back if he cried/woke up?
Thank you for sharing. You are an amazing mama!
How long did Leo cry his first night?