It took 7 months for me to finally realize the extent of my sleep deprivation. It took a very close call on the highway and a good look at how sleeping 3 hours with interruptions at night was affecting my ability to react to things around me. But in the end I realized I needed sleep, as selfish as maybe that sounds, I don’t think my children are better off without me so I needed to figure something out pretty quickly.
Around 4 months Henrik started waking up every 45min to 2 hours, all night long. I have never been good at letting my kids cry-it-out, usually I jump at the first sound of whimpering and with Henrik it was no different. We ended up in a pattern of him whining, me running to his room, nursing him until he was tired again and going back to sleep only to do it again 45 minutes later. I knew something had to change and after speaking with a friend I decided to follow her lead and do a similar sleep-teaching method because it meant minimal crying, if at all.
You can watch my Facebook Live video below to understand what I did, but I will provide a brief summary below as well.
(1) I optimized Henrik’s sleep environment with blackout blinds, a steady temp room, good sound machine.
(2) I bought a breathable bumper, installed it and put about 20 soothers inside the crib for him to find during the night.
(3) I set a sleep schedule for naps, feeds, bedtimes and waking. 6pm is bedtime, 11pm is the first feed, 2am is the second feed, 6-7am is morning wakeup. 9-10:30/11 am is the first nap, 1pm-2:30/3pm is the second nap. I don’t pick him up from his crib if he wakes up before 10:30 or 2:30pm or 6am.
(4) On waking up I would feed longest in bright light and greet Henrik with a cheery “hello!”
(5) On getting ready for bed I would change him, put him in his sleep sack, nurse and cuddle him with the lights down low and the sound machine on. Then I kiss his head and say goodnight firmly and leave the room.
(6) Intervals. If he wakes and cries the plan was to go in at 2min, then 5min, then 10minute intervals. I was lucky and Henrik never cried, only whined and whimpered. But if he’s still agitated after 10min usually there’s a reason for it, and usually its poop or he’s getting sick.
Henrik is now only waking up once a night, he dropped one feed on his own and decided he just needs to nurse once around midnight. He is a happy little nugget and I feel really lucky to have gotten off fairly easy with his sleep. Magnus was much more difficult and he still isn’t a great sleeper, so I think personality has a lot to do with it. Do what works for you, there is no right way…but this is what worked for me and maybe it will help you too.