(I am NO expert, but this is what we've been doing)
I am FAR from an expert, and don’t claim to know too much in the area of sleep training. I just purely wanted to share what we have done/are doing with Senna in hopes that even one mom gets a little extra sleep ;)
3 weeks old
Senna slept in our bedroom with us her first 2.5-3weeks. She was on the verge of jaundice and I had to feed every hour and a half her first week. So, I was clearly far too lazy to walk to her nursery that many times a night while half asleep. I applaud any mom who was able to!! 3 weeks came along and we put Senna into her nursery in her Snoo. I was terrified, it felt so weird to put her alone so early. She was so tiny and little, and selfishly I loved having my hand on her little tummy all night. I had all these fears, but my mother-in-law had gifted us a night doula and I figured: its now or never! Snoo, the owlet, my night monitor, plus doula combined…. we did it!!! AND I SLEPT!!!!
OLD SCHOOL MONITOR
Side note: I got a traditional old school monitor aka one that comes with its own little monitor vs just being able to use on your phone, AND I had the newer monitor (that you see on your phone). The one on my phone kept turning off in the night randomly, and therefore terrified me because what if I didn’t hear her (as if that’s possible)? BUT all that being said, I LOVE the old school monitor way, it just sits next to my bed on level 2 all night (even now that she’s 6 months) and I don’t ever worry that it will turn off on me! YAY! Highly recommend!
SERIOUS MUST HAVE! It is the only thing that allowed me to sleep all night. Being able to know that she is breathing, safe all night, and that I would loudlyyyyyy be told if anything even started to drop off was a game changer! Someone very close to me lost their infant to SIDS, so it has always been something that has worried me. For those of you who don’t know what an Owlet does, the quick description is that it monitors their heart rate and oxygen levels through a little sock that they wear, and let’s you know if those levels drop below a certain level. I have since bought it for my two newest pregnant friends as their baby shower gifts!
BACK TO SLEEP
So, putting Senna into her own room went smoothly! Sleepy Senna became even sleepier when not disturbed by my husband and myself during the night. Within the first week of her being in her nursery she was sleeping from about 10pm -5am. SLEEPY SENNA!!!! Our poor night doula had nothing to do during the last few days she was helping us! She later started sleeping from 9pm until about 7-9am!
FAST FORWARD TO SLEEP TRAINING!
Our night doula had given us a few tips for if/when Senna had a sleep regression. I was SO thankful she did. I loved her insight, and I’ve since heard it from a few night training experts… Rather than just “cry it out” you simply go in and put your hand on your baby to let her know you’re there when she starts crying at night.
When sleep regression started…
Senna had gotten a cold, and I was of course feeding her in the middle of the night during these stuffy nosed wake ups! After that, we went to visit my sister in OC and she was still having a 3-5am wake up where I would feed. Since sleepy Senna had slept longer earlier on, I knew she was fully capable of doing so. So at her 5th month b-day we decided to try and ween her off that 3-5am feeding and get her back to a 7-9am range!
Easier said than done!
If I’m being honest, the first few times I went in and held Senna bouncing her back to sleep but trying to refrain from feeding her. I’m sure I fed her a few times. THEN I got serious. My mommy and me class instructor who specialized in sleep training said, “If you keep picking her up, she will keep crying”. She suggested the same method my doula had, the hand on tummy to let the baby know you’re there. We committed to trying it.
Night 1 trying: I walked in and sat there for about 10 minutes with my hand on Senna. Walked back to bed. My husband and I lied in bed holding hands listening to her cry. For the first 5 minutes I sat there asking him if I should go in? Then almost started crying myself, partially from exhaustion, partially because no mom (or dad) wants to hear their little girl cry!!! …but a few minutes later, she stopped! Her cry went to a mmmmmm hmmmmm mmmmm type noise, and then she was out.
MA MA MA
Night 3 trying : My husband tells this story (and most all stories) far better than I can! BUT, I’ll try my best….
After 2 nights on duty, I sent in my husband. I sat there staring at the monitor as his hand was on Senna… she cried, and cried, then started to bawl! He caved and picked her up.
That’s when it happened!!!
Side note: I had been telling him for a month that Senna says, “mama” when she is sad and wants me. He refused to believe me since most babies first word is dada and he was VERY much hoping that’d be the case for Senna.
Back to the nursery at about 3am…. Coulter is rocking her, holding her against his chest, when she cries in the saddest little voice and says “ma ma maaaa, ma ma maaaaaa” over and over.
I walk into the room, and hold her, Coulter looks like he may cry.
After putting her down, I go crawl back into our bed… Coulter says he is completely defeated. Don’t worry night 4 came and he successfully put his hand on her and then came back to bed ;)
Not gonna lie…
I’m not going to lie, this technique did take a little longer than I expected. Partially, possibly, because we moved into a new home in the middle of this training… but about 3-4weeks later IT WORKED!
We did a little less time each night, then we were able to not go into her room at all. She would cry for a minute and fall back asleep on her own.
Not gonna lie, again…
She successfully slept from 9pm till about 8-9:30am for a solid week. YAY!!! BUT last night she woke up at 5am, I put my hand on her after about 10 minutes of crying. She yanked my hands down toward her over and over… I walked out after 10 minutes and she just continued to cry… this happened 2 more times before I gave up, took her to my bed, and fed and snuggled her. She slept till 9:30 after though! haha
All this to say
I’ve learned it’s never going to work perfectly the way I want it to. I’m learning to cope with that, but I love at least trying to teach her to self soothe, as I personally think it is such a necessary skill for later in life. I also selfishly love my sleep! So, I will keep trying…. as long as it takes! BUT, I will also enjoy all the early morning snuggles until then ;)
Please let me know if you have any tips, as always!!!! IG DM or comment below!
Also, let me know if anyone has questions on a night doula, Snoo, Owlet, or anything else I’ve mentioned! Happy to provide more details, always!