Good morning everyone!! Some of you that have followed me on Instagram for a while know that we practically started sleep training Leo as soon as he was born. I was heading back to work after just six short weeks and didn’t have much of a maternity leave; because of that, I desperately needed him to be a good sleeper. We reached out to Janey from WeeSleep for some help and guidance shortly after he was born!
Our consultant was amazing and super patient with us as newbie parents. We followed the systems, rules, and guidelines that they set into place religiously … but Leo was not having any of it. LOL! He was an excellent sleeper for the first year, and after the one year mark, even our sleep consultant was at a loss. After all of our trials and tribulations, we all concluded that Leo was not a good sleeper.
After manyyyy sleepless nights with a hysterical one-year-old, nature vs. nurture kicked in and I knew this just wasn’t the right sleep program for Leo. We now have a completely different sleep schedule, which is working for us!
Today, I will be sharing some tips and tricks that we have implemented for Leo and Annie’s sleep routines, but this blog is more about our personal experiences and by no means is this going to work for everyone!
Leo’s Sleep Routine:
Leo goes down at 7:30 pm, either Justin or I will read him 3-5 books, we rub his back, get him a drink, a snack and so on … Justin or I end up falling asleep in Leo’s bed by the end. It may seem like a big gong show (which it kind of is LOL!) but it’s a routine that works for us. I quickly realized that they are only small once. Leo is the cuddly type that needs affection and really needs to be with us. We decided not to fight it anymore and we gave in.
For the first little while, we were struggling with him peeing the bed. I fall asleep much earlier than Justin, so when Justin comes to bed around midnight he will take Leo for a pee and then put him back to bed again. While we are travelling and transitioning routines, we bring this Pea Pod Mat with us everywhere we go just in case … and sure enough, it came in quite handy the last time we were in Hawaii as he had an accident one of the nights. For the longest time, Leo was struggling with wetting the bed, but now that he is creeping up on his fourth birthday, he is pretty much potty trained!
We decided that once Annie was born we were going to try the same sleep training routine as we did with Leo. The sleep training system is called “awake, eat, play, sleep” principles, the main idea is to separate eating and sleeping. We modified the schedule so that during Annie’s nap she goes to sleep without a bottle or soother, but at night we give her both. In the program, you are not supposed to do this, but it is something that works for us. We are planning on weaning her off both the bottle and soother, but we just haven’t had the guts to do it yet …
Annie’s Sleep Routine:
At around one month, Annie was on a fantastic sleep schedule. Her sleep schedule has evolved a bit since she was born but consists of a nap from 12-3 pm, and then she goes down again at 6:30 pm. Annie is a solid sleeper about 90% of the time and doesn’t get up until 7:30-8:00 am the next morning. I’ve noticed that if she skips her nap during the day or goes down later than usual, she doesn’t sleep well that evening.
While Leo needs a lot of attention and one-on-one time before bed, Annie is the complete opposite. She loves to sleep in a dark room, in a sleep sack with white noise playing in the background.
We tried the cry it out method with Leo, and I really regret it. We tried it for about 6 months and gave up because he needed to be held and cuddled. Although, I will contradict myself here… cry it out is different than a whimper. If they are whimpering more often than not, they can soothe themselves back to sleep. With Leo and Annie, I can tell what type of cry it is. I use my maternal instinct and just listen to them for a few minutes before rushing in a soothing them back to sleep.
Even though we fall asleep with Leo, it really works for our family. Justin and I still end up getting a goodnight sleep, Leo gets about 10 hours, and Annie gets about 13.
Advice for New Mamas:
My advice for new mamas is to trust your gut and instinct. It really comes down to nature vs. nurture; each child is different. If you are struggling with a sleep schedule, I would recommend talking to a sleep consultant. They can help you determine a better routine for you and your family and help you get you back on track.
For new mamas trying out a sleep training method, I would suggest that if your baby is sleeping in a bassinet beside you and wake up to give them a few minutes before rushing over. It will give them time to self soothe and put themselves back to sleep. If the cry intensifies, use your best judgment.
Even if you hire a sleep consultant, trust your gut, and just remember that you will eventually get their sleep routine sorted out. On nights when I’ve had only about 45 minutes to sleep, I always remind myself that the days are long, but the years are short and cherish them!
Well, there you have it an in-depth sleep routine update! Let me know in the comments below if sleep training worked for you!
Thank you for this. We are i. The exact same scenarios it seems haha
My 2.5 year old refuses to go to sleep without one of us in the room. I kept telling myself we need to stop this but it isn’t worth the fight so we just know she needs us which is fine!
My 11 month little man needs a quick snuggle and then he’s happy to be in his crib to self settle.
It is nice to hear that we aren’t the only ones with a toddler who needs us to fall asleep. One day she won’t want our help at bedtime, so we need to cherish these moments while they last!
Well said. They are only little for a very short time. I don’t let my baby cry it out and it’s worked for us. We are all sleeping enough ❤️
I enjoyed reading your post this morning! I am a first time mom, my little man is 7 months old. For the most part he has been a really good sleeper but I completely agree that listening to your gut is the most important take-away for any type of sleep training! A couple weeks ago when I couldn’t get him out of a short nap routine during the daytime (and after reading an overwhelming amount of information available online) the best thing I did was seek the advice of my mom and mom-in-law. 30+ years ago they taught us to be great sleepers without any sleep consultants, blogs, etc. Grandma’s are the true experts in my opinion!
I have to so much agree with your comment, every child is different. And new Mamas please listen to your child, They are trying to tell you something.
body is changing, they are growing (teeth, bones, all parts of the body) and it costs a little (we don’t remember ;-). We parents have to be patient. I am 44 years old, I only had one child. It was the best day of my life while he depended on me! I had days when I was exhausted because he didn’t eat well, because he didn’t sleep at the time I wanted to, but patience, calm, warmth (hugs the baby) is halfway there to solve everything! Everything passes and time does not return, enjoy every moment. In my experience, my son would wake up, eat, let him be a little bit as he wanted, with toys nearby, because being fed, he was satisfied. Only then did I interact with him. To sleep, I gave him dinner, then I let him play as he wanted and when I noticed that he wanted attention, I gave him, then I picked him up, read some stories already in his room, put him on the bed, I said good night and said … “the mother will be back, she will finish a task (wash the dishes … do the laundry)” and he would be alone and fall asleep. He always woke up in a good mood and he didn’t call me immediately, he spoke loudly before calling me. Now he is almost a teenager, and we have to let them grow all the way! Good luck! and congratulations for your lovely children’s and programs I usually see. Kisses, Fil
Jill, your babies are beautiful ❤️ Can you come up with a sleep routine for me. I have been suffering from insomnia for 13 years. I have tried everything from medication to meditation. Setting a sleep routine, spent several nights at a sleep clinic (only to find out I sleep 25% of the night. We have purchased great quality mattresses. I still can’t sleep through the night. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Ps I’m totally addicted to HGTV
This is so true – the most important thing is to listen to your baby and your baby’s body. That is why I like my sleep coaching book so much (I’m using this one: http://parental-love.com/shop/baby-sleep-training ) – the author says a lot that “mother knows”. If you know your baby still needs one more nap – don’t quit it yet, if you feel like it’s too soon for the training – postpone. I recommend Susan Urban so much! I love her approach.