After the 4-month regression came around, I knew it was time for sleep training. There was no doubt in my mind that we would sleep train Baby Pencil. It worked so well with Toddler Pencil that I knew the benefits and that it was totally worth it. I completely understand that all babies are different and maybe it’s not right for every family, but I was starting to see the effects of her terrible sleeping patterns. At 4 months, her regression was slowly starting to show:
- crankier than usual
- only napping 20-30 minutes during the day
- rubbing her face all day (her sign of tiredness)
- comfort nursing to fall asleep (she would only nurse for a few minutes, so I knew she wasn’t super hungry)
- starting to wake up more often during the night
- pacifier wasn’t as satisfying
- rocking and shushing would not calm her down as easily
- dream feeding did not do anything at all – she would still wake up fussy and seemingly hungry throughout the night
Even though I knew I would eventually sleep train her, I have to admit it still broke my heart thinking about her crying her head off! My husband had to reassure me that it was for the best for ALL of us. Toddler Pencil was sleep trained only within a few days, give or take. And after he was sleep trained, he was a completely different baby! He used to be Mr. Grumpy Pants but after sleep training he was the happiest baby ever! Here’s the method we used for Baby Pencil (which was the same method we used for Toddler Pencil):
- Cold turkey the swaddle, pacifier and dock-a-tot (this was the part I was the most worried about!)
- Sleep in a onesie and sleep sack only. No blankets or anything else in the crib!
- Fed night bottle, sang 1-2 songs, put her down and said goodnight
- Let her cry it out for 5, 10, 15 minute increments (Ferber Method)
The first week went really well! I was amazed to see the progress:
DAY 1: She cried for the entire 5, 10, 15 minutes. Luckily it wasn’t the exorcist-vomiting style of crying, it was more just regular on and off crying. I made sure she was really tired before I put her down. She usually slept at 6:00pm, but that night I had her down at 7:00pm. She eventually tailed off and slept by around 8:00pm! She woke up at 3:45am, which was pretty good considering she was waking up at midnight (and every other hour) for a pacifier. I fed her at 3:45am and she slept until about 6:45am. I could already tell by that morning she had better quality sleep.
DAY 2: She didn’t cry going to sleep! She did make some whimpering noises, which made me feel horrible, but fell asleep within 15 minutes. She woke up at some point before midnight and cried sleepily for a little bit, but it didn’t even last 5 minutes straight. She slept until 4:30am. I nursed her and she woke up at around 7:00am.
DAY 3: She cried going to sleep during the 5 minute and 10 minute mark, but didn’t make it to the 15 minute mark. Even with these cries, I could tell she was just tired and would eventually fall asleep. The crying wasn’t as heartbreaking because I felt like she kind of understood what was going on. (Being left alone crying wasn’t totally unusual as this point.) She slept until 5:45am! I was shocked when I checked the clock. I didn’t really know what to do, because it was so close to the usual morning time (7:00am) so I nursed her very quickly (about 3 minutes on each side) and put her back down. I went back and got her to officially wake up at 7:00am.
DAY 4: She didn’t cry going to sleep, but stayed awake looking around her room for a few minutes. When she fell asleep on her own, I was really amazed. This baby used to be 100% dedicated to her pacifier! I thought at least she would suck on her fingers, but she didn’t need to. She slept until 6:20am! My boobs were going to explode so I actually woke up before her. I think I accidentally woke her up because I checked on her, so I think she would have slept longer. I realized she really didn’t need that night feeding, even though I felt like I was starving her. I kept her up at 6:20am since it was so close to 7:00am.
DAY 5: BEST DAY EVER! She slept from 7:00pm – 7:00am! No wakings in the middle of the night, no feedings. I started pumping later so that my boobs wouldn’t explode, so everything worked out great. She seemed like she was in a great mood. I saw her stir and actually saw her eyes open a few times at night, but she didn’t cry and went right back to sleep.
DAY 6: She had a weird day because I took her to a party until 6:30pm, so she woke up at 4am for a feeding. I slightly blame my husband for doing her night routine “incorrectly” because I stayed at the party with Toddler Pencil and didn’t put her down myself. I saw that he didn’t put the night time diaper on her and that he didn’t put her in the fleece onesie. Her room can get cold, even with the heater, so her hands were ice cold! It may have been the temperature or maybe she could have eaten more. (I normally give her 7 oz for a feeding but my husband gave her a little more than 5 oz.)
I know that results in sleep training can come with some off nights, so I know that generally she is sleep trained. That one day I had so much sleep (when she slept 7-7pm) I felt like a new person! It was totally worth it. She was also in a much better mood during the day and could fall asleep in seconds versus the 30-45 minutes it took to get her to sleep the week before. I’m very lucky that both of my kids adapted well to sleep training! It can be a tough decision, especially when they’re only 4 months old, but I actually think it’s better to do it that early because their cries are smaller and they won’t remember as much. I’m slowly adapting to nap training during the day – just giving her a pacifier and sometimes a swaddle. It’s working well for now, and I’ll eventually get rid of the pacifier and swaddle during the day time.
Now that she knows how to go to sleep, I’m already starting to plan some date nights with my husband! It’s a new beginning!