This is part 3 of Samuel’s sleep journey. If you missed the second instalment you can read it here. This post is also written by Sarah and here she talks about her experience during the first week of sleep training. Samuel is now 4 months old, so I’m helping her tired family become a well-rested happy family, and we wanted to document and share the journey with you.
Ready, Set, Go!, by Sarah
We had our sleep plan and we were ready to implement it. Prior to the first night of training, we took Jenn’s advice and did a few things to prepare: created an optimal sleeping environment, implemented a great routine for bedtime and nap time, and most importantly we prepared ourselves for what we thought could be a horrible couple days/week. The big night came and as my two year old son would say, “ready, set, go!”, and that’s how we were feeling. We were ready to do this.
One of the first things Jenn taught me was that sleep begets sleep and so we were to put Sam to bed (in my opinion) very early. I was so worried that if he went to bed this early, surely he would be up earlier to feed. Our goal was to get him to sleep until midnight and then feed, which seemed like an impossible task. Although I was very ready to do this, I was extremely anxious and felt on edge all day.
At bedtime when I laid him down in the crib and walked out I felt sick to my stomach. I was convinced he would cry forever and feel completely abandoned. My husband thought I was a bit nuts, but for any Mom out there they know what I am talking about. Hearing your baby cry and not going to them goes against all your instincts. Knowing this would be hard for me, I came down stairs, poured myself a glass of wine (don’t judge) and went outside to play with my two year old son in the sand box. I will admit that a few times I came in the house and tackled my husband for the monitor, as I couldn’t stand not knowing what Sam was doing. He fussed, he cried fairly hard at one point, and then fussed again but it only lasted for 45 minutes (46 minutes to be exact), which was significantly better than I thought considering he had cried for hours on end, many nights, in my arms. Jenn had said something to me in our consult that stood out. She had said that Sam maybe just needs a little space. In the moment I remember thinking that couldn’t be…the only way Sam ever settled was on me. However that night, after he fell asleep I began to think that Jenn was absolutely correct. Sam needed me to give him that space so he could learn to soothe himself. Clearly what we were doing before (hours of walking, singing, rocking was not working for him). That night he woke up off and on through the whole night. He never went into a full cry but would fuss and fall back asleep, fuss an hour or two later and fall back asleep but really he slept better than he ever had.
Sam woke up for the day and for the first time ever, he woke up happy. I couldn’t believe it! Night one was a giant success. I was thrilled, however day two we were planning to tackle naps as well, which I really didn’t think would work, and was feeling overwhelmed by the idea. However it couldn’t have gone better. I put Sam down when he first showed me signs of being tired. He fussed for 7 minutes and then fell fast asleep. He only slept for 45 minutes but for me it was such a success. His first nap in his crib! For the rest of the day, this pattern continued. When he was tired I would lay him down, and he would sleep for 45 minutes with very little fussing. He had four naps that day and was back in bed for the night early. That night he barely cried or fussed and was fast asleep in 15 minutes. I didn’t hear from him until 1 am. I had to check on him several times as I couldn’t believe he slept that long without waking. I could go on and one as the progress was amazing. My once cranky, overtired little guy was now happy and alert during his awake time and for the most part, would fall asleep (with very little fussing) when it was time for a nap or bed. The odd time he would fight his nap or bedtime but only for a few minutes, the change in his sleeping and mood were phenomenal.
One of the great things about Jenn’s services was that she checked in frequently, asking about Sam’s progress. I would fill her in and we would decide if we needed to tweak anything. For example, I was planning to get up with him twice throughout the night but over several days he weaned himself off the midnight feed and we began getting up only once through the night. He also started to nap longer. He has now had several days with 2-3 hour naps in the afternoon. Therefore, we made a few changes to his schedule based on this success. Needless to say our lives have changed. I am feeling much more like myself, my husband and I can now spend some time with each other, my other son is adjusting so much better to having a baby at home, and Sam is happy. He has become such a well rested little guy, who is such a pleasure to be around. The plan and support that Jenn offered was amazing! I am sure we will still have some nights were Sam doesn’t sleep well and some days where he fights his naps more than others, but it has been almost two weeks now, and he is sleeping so well. For anyone that is struggling with sleep, whether it’s your four month old or four year old, Jenn’s services are priceless. We will forever be grateful to Jenn and BabyZzz.