HOW TO SLEEP TRAIN YOUR BABY

*This post is in partnership with buybuy BABY, a company that both Elle and I love. As always, all opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting brands that make GCG possible!

striped baby pajamas

Sleep. What a beautiful thing. It’s not only important for your baby to get the right amount of sleep every night, but it’s also good for you and your sanity. Not all babies are born as good sleepers. They need to be taught and trained. I want to start by saying that I am not an expert, but when I decided it was time to sleep train my baby, I went online and read a lot about it. I also bought this book and thought it had some great tips.

I was determined to do this all on my own without the help of a sleep consultant. I talked to a lot of my mom friends and thought it was so helpful hearing what worked for other people. Today I created a post sharing exactly what I did and the tools I used to get my baby to not only sleep through the night {currently 7:30PM to 7:30AM} but also to take 2 two hour naps a day.

I first want to start with a few bullet points of information that might be especially helpful for expecting moms:

  • My baby has slept in her crib since day one so there was no need to transition her from basinets, rock-n-plays, dock-a-tots etc.
  • I always try to put my baby in her crib awake not asleep. This was harder in the beginning because she would always fall asleep while eating before bed, but as they get older it is much easier to do this.
  • I never would rock my baby to sleep.
  • Black out blinds are an amazing investment and I highly recommend you install them in your baby’s room. You will thank me later ;-).
  • Babies love routine.

Okay. Now I will go more into detail about what I did to get Elle to sleep through the night on her own. We started the sleep training around 5 months. Before then we were waking up multiple times in the night, going into her room, giving her the pacifier, and rubbing her back. She wasn’t super coordinated enough to put the pacifier in on her own yet, but if given the chance I knew she could do it. Elle would wake up anywhere from 1-10 times a night and we were exhausted.

We weren’t feeding her at night anymore so there was really no reason why she needed our help getting back to sleep. I was tired and knew it was time to start the sleep training. As a mom you will know when it’s the right time to start sleep training. I think some people start at 4 months and others at 6 months. You will want to choose a time when you feel most comfortable. Also you will need to make sure you do it when your baby is not teething or sick because this will interfere with the process.

MAKE A BEDTIME ROUTINE

Since day one we have had some sort of bedtime routine. We have made subtle tweaks to it as Elle has gotten older, but it basically goes like this:

  • We start at 6:30PM with reading a few books on the couch in the living room.
  • We then give her a bath and get her ready for bed in her pajamas.
  • Around 7PM We feed her in her room in the dark. We have honestly been doing this since the beginning.
    • SIDE NOTE: At first we kept a closet light or a side table light on so it wasn’t as dark. We also have 2 nightlights in her room. For the first 3 months we kept the closet light on and cracked it a bit while Elle slept. Now she just has 2 night lights on while she sleeps.
  • After we feed and burp her, we put her in her wearable blanket, give her a pacifier, and put her in the crib on her back.
  • We then turn on the sound machine and close the door.
  • After Elle is asleep, I go back in and sprinkle 4 more pacifiers around her crib.
  • For naps we do a modified version of the above including the wearable blanket, sound machine, pacifier, and black out blinds. We also turn on this. I have talked about it before in this post. We only use it for nap and she absolutely loves it!

CHOOSE A PLAN 

After doing a lot of research online and talking to my mom friends, we decided to try the cry it out method. It is not for everyone so obviously do what you need to do, but it really does work and helps your baby understand how to put themselves back to sleep on their own.

Elle never had too hard of a time putting herself to bed at 7:30PM. The few times that she did cry, I would start off by letting her cry for at least 3-5 minutes. Then I would go in, pick her up and pat her on the back incase she still needed to get out another burp. Also if I thought she was having a stomach ache, I would give her some nighttime gripe water to help settle her stomach.

What we had problems with was her waking up at 10PM and 1AM and 3AM crying for no reason. When using the cry it out approach, you need to be consistent or it won’t work. We did not go in her room at all. There are modified versions so choose what is best for you. I always felt that going in just made it worse and made her cry even harder.

STICK TO YOUR PLAN

For some parents it only took 2-3 nights until the baby would stop crying and sleep through the night. This was not the case for us. It look 12 nights on and off for Elle to learn to put herself back to sleep on her own. The first night was the hardest. She woke up around 1AM and cried for around 40 minutes. I looked on the monitor and saw her crying hysterically with a pacifier in each hand. I knew nothing was wrong so I just had to let her cry. After 40 minutes she stopped.

Elle then woke up 2 hours later and cried again for about 10 minutes and then fell back asleep until the morning. For this method, I was told to try to wait at least an hour by my pediatrician. If your baby cries over an hour, I think I would go in. Every baby is different and you need to do what you feel is right for your own baby.

As each night went on there were fewer wake-ups and shorter amounts of time when Elle would cry. It went on and off for about 12 nights and then finally she was consistently sleeping through the night from 7:30PM to 7:30AM. Has she not cried since? Yes she has! No one is perfect. Elle rarely cries in the night and now that she is sleep trained, I know that there is something wrong. Unfortunately she isn’t able to talk yet, but I always like to go in to check for fever, teething, upset stomach, etc.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT NAPS

I have also done a modified cry it out method for nap times as well. I have Elle take 2 two hour naps a day. 9AM -11AM and 1:30PM-3:30PM. I started this more rigorous schedule around 3 months and always try to make sure I am home at these times so Elle can nap in her crib. Once again, consistency is key. If Elle isn’t interested in napping then that is okay, but she still needs to hang out in her crib for that allotted time. I turn on her sea dreams soother so that she is able to watch her “television” if she isn’t tired.

So now that you know our sleep schedule and the method I used, let’s go over the tools I needed in order to get my baby to sleep through the night on her own. There are a lot of products out there, but I feel that the 8 below really helped aide my baby in getting a good nights sleep.

HALO WEARABLE BLANKETS
It is unsafe to put your baby in a loose blanket when putting them to sleep. At first we swaddled Elle and used these. We then used these transitional swaddles to help teach her to sleep with her arms out. It was winter and we put her in pajamas that covered her hands. We were told that her cold hands would wake her up. We now use these wearable blankets and Elle loves them. We have both the cotton ones as well as the fleece ones. They come in a variety of cute patterns and are a great price point.

SOOTHIE PACIFIERS
Some people are anti pacifiers, but I love them! We have been letting Elle use them since she was born and even use the same brand as the ones given to us in the hospital. We always give her them for naps and bedtime mainly. They help babies self sooth themselves and also protect against SIDS. Not all babies like them or take them so you need to do what is best for your own baby. There are a bunch of different ones out there so if they don’t like one brand, then they might like another.

MOMMY’S BLISS® NIGHTTIME GRIPE WATER
We love using this stuff when we think Elle has an upset stomach. It is all natural and basically just organic fennel and ginger. She loves the taste and we feel that it helps settle her stomach. It is a safe and effective all natural herbal supplement used to ease gas and stomach discomfort often associated with colic, hiccups, and teething as well.

COTTON PAJAMAS
We always put Elle in cotton pajamas and the zip up ones are my favorite. We are currently loving the Burt’s Bees Baby® ones found here. They are made with organic cotton and come in a bunch of cute styles and designs. In the beginning we used the Pjs that came with the hand covers because it was winter. We stopped covering Elle’s hands around 3 months.

SOUND MACHINE
Since day one we have been really into this sound machine. We use this sound machine for naps and bedtime. It helps drown out all the noise in our condo and also signals to Elle that it is time to sleep. It creates a soothing sleep environment masking noises that disrupt your baby’s slumber. We also have this portable sound machine to take on trips.

BREATHABLE BUMPERS
Around 6 months Elle was really moving around in her crib so we talked to our pediatrician about the safety of breathable bumpers. He gave us the OK so we installed them in her crib. They are soft, breathable, and aide Elle in getting a little less injured when bumping up against the sides of her crib. They are mesh and the liner’s air channel technology allows for maximum air flow while keeping little arms and legs safe inside the crib.

BABY MONITOR
We actually have two. We have a Nest® Cam Security Camera as well as the VTech Safe & Sound® Bear Digital Video Baby Monitor w/ Automatic Night Vision . We love the Nest® Cam Security Camera because we can stream live video from our phone anytime. Also the camera will notify you if sound or motion is detected. We have this one placed on Elle’s bookshelf so we can see the entire room. We also have VTech Safe & Sound® Bear Digital Video Baby Monitor on the corner of Elle’s crib. We use this everyday for naps and I place it on my nightstand every night.

BABY EINSTEIN SEA DREAMS SOOTHER
As I’ve stated above and in this post, this has been a real lifesaver. We currently have this attached to Elle’s crib and she has so much fun with it. I usually turn it on during nap time and it helps drift her off to sleep. The light and music gradually softens every ten minutes, helping your baby fall fast asleep.

So there you have it. The techniques and tools I used to sleep train my baby. I am a first time mom and obviously don’t know everything, but this is what worked for us and will hopefully work for you too.

As I stated above, every baby is different and has different needs. I mainly wrote this post to help others in getting a good nights sleep. Feel free to comment below with any other questions you have. I would be happy to answer them!

Now onto some pictures of my cute baby boo…

*This post is in partnership with buybuy BABY, a company that both Elle and I love. As always, all opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting brands that make GCG possible!

  • Shauna C

    Great tips, and what a face!! Just such a sweet little one! Hope you had a great weekend!

    Shauna

    http://www.lipglossandlace.net

  • Yes to all of this! The most important things in Serena’s nursery are blackout curtains and the white noise machine. Sleep is amazing thing for all of us <3

    Green Fashionista

  • Biana Perez

    Definitely keeping this post for the future! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

  • She is so cute! Isn’t it so nice to have a good sleeper?! My 3 year old still sleeps 12+ hours at night and naps 3+.

  • Great and helpful tips! And how cute is your baby <3
    Have a great start to your week !
    Nina
    xox
    http://www.thecrispylipstick.com

  • We have followed Baby Wise since Ivy was born and have also had a lot of success with sleeping. I think a schedule and plan really help like you said. Yay for sleep!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  • I can only agree to all your points. It is so important to sleep and it’s important to keep a certain routine. My two kids are a bit older now but at that time I was glad I trained them to sleep.

    xx Simone
    Little Glittery Box
    Instagram: littleglitterybox

  • Dona

    My son was a terrible bad sleeper since day 1. I needed to rock him to sleep and feed him at night a few times for a long time. I was tired and didn’t know what to do so I decided to try the HWL method because I saw a lot of women saying good things about it. I’ve found the HWL method instructions in “How to teach a baby to fall asleep alone” ebook from this website: http://www.parental-love.com After a very short time, it was 3 or 4 days, I reduced night feedings to only one then after another 2 days my son stopped waking up to eat at all. After the HWL he was even able to fall asleep on his own without rocking. Every parent should read this ebook. Such a great help!

    • Kim Blom

      really I searched many times on google to get help like this guide! My son finally sleeps!!!!!! Thanks so much

  • Heidi Daoud

    She’s getting so big! These are great tips and it sounds like you did a great job with sleep training Sam! I cannot agree enough about the blackout blinds. I swear by them to this day.

    Heidi || Wishes & Reality

  • Len Dela Peña Parent

    These photos are gorgeous!! What a beautiful baby you have, Sam! Thanks for sharing this cutie potatie! Have a wonderful week!
    Much love, Len
    http://www.lenparent.com
    XO

  • OMG she’s so cute! Thanks so much for sharing your tips!

    xo, Jennifer
    http://www.publicistinpearls.com

  • These sound like great tips (for the future, hahaha)! Xx Susanne – http://bagatyou.com

  • Rach

    These are great tips! I definitely have to keep this mind for the future!

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

  • I’m not a mom yet but I’ll keep these tips in mind when we have our baby soon! Hopefully soon 🙂

    Abby | Life in the Fash Lane

  • Shes adorable! Loved reading this post, great advice!
    Isn’t That Charming.