I knew the day would come when my baby would be a little bit less of a baby and I would have to start sleep training. Hunter has been sleeping in her Halo Bassinet in our room for six months. We have truly loved our bassinet and having Hunter right next to me for middle of the night feedings was amazing. She has started to outgrow her bassinet and would get frustrated because she didn’t have enough room to move around. She likes to wiggle! Our pediatrician has been preparing us that at 6 months old, she wanted us to start sleep training Hunter. It really is the best decision for all of us. Having Hunter in our room is amazing but it also can be challenging when we need to be in our room after her bedtime. This posed a challenge for us before we left for Colorado because we had procrastinated packing and needed to pack but Hunter was ready to go to sleep. Moving Hunter into her crib has been sad but also good. I cried the first night she slept in her crib, having a baby has really turned me into a huge sap. I hate to admit this but we have actually been sleeping in our guest room upstairs because it’s right across from Hunter’s room. Sleep training has actually been harder on Mason and I than it has been on Hunter. I thought I would share our night time routine and some of the tricks and tips we have learned so far.
I would like to preface this with, I didn’t read any sleep training books or anything. I definitely should have and plan to actually read one soon. But we have just been sleep training based on our pediatrician’s advice and tips! Hunter started food at six months so we try to feed her some food close to bedtime, usually oatmeal mixed with breastmilk and maybe some pureed veggies. We don’t try any new foods close to bedtime just in case she has an allergy. After her “dinner”, sometimes I have to bathe her because feeding a baby is MESSY! Then I get her ready for bed and changed into our favorite sleepers! We love them so much, they zip from the top down so it’s easier for diaper changes. Hunter’s room is one of the cooler rooms in the house and she actually sleeps better when she is swaddled so we use a modified swaddle. We don’t swaddle her arms anymore because she can roll over. One of our favorite swaddles is the Nested Bean Zen Swaddle. It’s lightly weighted to mimic a human touch and Hunter’s loves it. We used this when we would actually swaddle with arms in and we still use it, just with her arms out. Oh and we always put her Owlet on! It just gives a peace of mind and definitely helps us sleep. It tracks any changes in her heart rate and oxygen levels and alerts us if anything drops out of range.
Hunter always takes her last bottle right before bed and I take her upstairs to rock her in the glider and feed her. First thing I do, is turn on her favorite noise machine, the heartbeat noise is her favorite! Somedays this is a HUGE battle and she wiggles and literally makes dinosaurs noises and other days she takes the bottle peacefully and immediately goes to sleep. The tricky part is getting her in her crib after she takes her bottle. If she is really tired, I can simply lay her down and she stays passed out. If she is fighting it, that’s a whole different story and that’s where our Tranquilo mat comes in. I actually first saw the mat on Shark Tank (my guilty pleasure)! It is a small portable mat that mimics a mom’s heartbeat and motions through vibrations and sounds. We have the large mat and I’m so glad we have this because this was one thing we really loved about our Halo Bassinet because it also vibrated and played music, which helped Hunter sleep. We can place the mat by itself in the crib or in her Dock-A-Tot. Sometimes we put her Dock in the crib if she is super wiggly because she will literally just flail her body around to stay awake. The vibrations help lull Hunty to sleep, even when she is super fussy. All you have to do is turn the Tranquilo mat on and let it work its magic! It has a timer so it’s not vibrating all night long but just long enough to get baby to sleep.
As for the sleep training, if Hunter is wanting to fight her sleep and I place her in the crib, some days she will pop those eyes wide open as soon as her head hits the crib. When she realizes that I’m not holding her anymore she immediately will start to whine. As hard as it is, I leave the room and go downstairs. Mason usually already has her monitor on downstairs when I get there. We watch the monitor and let her “cry it out” per se which sounds so harsh. She usually isn’t really crying, more just fussing but we let her just whine for around 3-5 minutes. If she is still crying after that time, I go upstairs to check on her and pat her little bum (she loves that) and try to calm her. I don’t pick her up unless she is actually crying because then we have to start back at square one. After she is calmed, I leave and we repeat the waiting game. Usually after the first time I put her down and the 3-5 minutes of whining, she puts herself to sleep. It’s really hard to let her just whine but y’all it works! She puts herself to sleep and she has been sleeping for around 8-9 hours straight. It’s been so nice to get long stretches of sleep! Mason and I feel like new people. She usually wakes up around anywhere between 5-7 and is ready for a bottle. That is still early for me but by that time I’m ready to feed her and give her some sweet cuddles!
I’ll update y’all on our sleep training journey and I hope this helps my fellow exhausted mommies! Thanks so much for reading!
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