I swore I told myself I wasn’t gonna be that mom. But I am so that mom. You know that mom that wants to leave someone’s house from dinner by 5:15 or 5:30 at the latest so she makes 6pm bedtime. The mom that schedules play dates around nap time and the mom that has a schedule.

We had this friend who I thought was crazy….I mean off her rocker crazy, I think of might even have made fun of her a couple times…..okay not I think I totally did. She was the one that would either do dinner at 4 or we could come over after 7. They put their little guy to bed strictly at 6pm every night and didn’t break the routine. In my head I was like WTF. Who puts their kid to bed that early? I remember when I was baby-sitting (sadly almost 20 years ago) the kids were lucky to go to bed at 9pm if that. Well I am now that “crazy mom”. We eat dinner early as a family or wait till our little Miss Swayzie is in bed and then it is after 6:30pm. We like naps and schedule play dates around them – thankful the crew of mama’s I hang with pretty much follow the same schedule so it is easy to hang out.

I got the book called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child from “that crazy friend” I no longer call her crazy. I call her one of the smartest moms I know. TRUST ME.  I started readying it and was blown away by value that this Doctor places on sleep and the direct link the development of a happy, healthy child. Here is a little bit about our journey and some of my quick and easy tips. Scroll to the bottom if you want the quick and dirty and your babe needs you and you only got 30 more seconds.

THE JOURNEY

The Hubby and I took Swayzie to her 1 weeks check up and our family doctor sent us home with a couple of sheets on sleep training. Really our one week check up and your sending us home with hand outs on sleep training. I started reading it and it was exactly what the book had spoken about – I hadn’t read the whole book, I am read the chapters suggested to us if you didn’t have time to ready the whole book. Quick and easy is my kind of style. Our doctor asked us if we were going to sleep train and I was like maybe – hadn’t thought about it that much. She STRONGLY recommended sleep training.  She currently has 3 kids under the age of 4 years of age and they ALL sleep through the night. Talk about inspiring and flippin joyful. She says the only way to stay sane is to sleep train them. Once you have a good sleeper life is that much easier.

So here is the quick and dirty on Sleep Training Olstad style:

Swayzie hit some growth concerns between 2-4 months so I couldn’t start until she hit 12 pounds and was about 4.5 months old. I struggled with milk supply and so we had to switch from BF to formula and then all formula to bulk her up. She eventually weaned herself off the boob due to lack of supply and we went to all Formula – not my choice or plan but such is the way life goes. Once Swayzie was “beefy” enough we started.  And even before this we did the same routine before bed. Our routine consisted of a bath if it was bath night, small little massage with coconut oil or lotion, fresh diaper, fresh jammies and then a bottle, prayers and kiss good night.

At this point, she was waking up once or twice in the night to feed. When we decided to cut out her final feed it when sleep training went to the next level.

You and your partner need to be on the same page on this one. Like 110% all in, both committed and agreeing on the method. United in parenthood. No blame game and I told you so or any of that BS. Once you unite and you have chosen your method to unite and begin and prepare for a rough couple of days.  We choose to put Miss Swayzie to sleep still awake – knowing we wanted more kids and my impatient personality the “rocking method till they were knocked out” was just not for us. Plus I saw a friend have to rock her baby for 35 minutes to get her little girl to sleep for a 45 minute nap…..aint nobody got time for that. Well, at least not this mama. I am busy and every moment of the day counts for me. Trust me I am all about a good snuggle, but rocking your kid to sleep for every nap and bedtime was just not for me. Plus I believe in the importance of teaching your babes at an early age how to fall asleep so they develop this as a life skill. Read the damn book – it will convince you I am sure of it.

We had spent the first few months of her life teaching her to fall asleep on her own. Ronnie was way better at this then me again he is the master of patients and chill and 3 minutes in I am like “why is she still crying”…… so once we got her to sleep on her own the put down was smooth. We originally used lots of sleep sheep, or “ssshing” and some butt taps and she soon learned that when we laid her in the crib when it was dark it was bed time and she grew to be a champ at going down.

We choose a week in August that we would really finish this “sleep training” to get her to sleep through the entire night. After all our Doctor said it was possible so it must be true.   I remember it clearly, she went down at 5:55pm really well and at about the 2AM mark she woke up crying which soon turned to screaming for her normal feed. (This is the hard part.) We let her cry it out, didn’t go in to get her, no talking to her through the door just let her cry it out until she had nothing left. She cried for over an hour – it was actually 1 hour and 47 minutes to be exact. Horrible – Ronnie and I both felt like the worst parents in the world. But eventually she knew no one was coming and went back to bed and slept till 6:45am. A total win. Both of us supported each other and made it through the first week. It was rough, she had about 3 more nights of crying but each night became less and less. Now we have this happy, healthy child hitting all of her developmental marks and she sleeps like a total Champion. She usually sleeps from 6pm till 7am. And has 2 solid naps during that day anywhere between 1-2.5 hours. Clearly the child needs the sleep.

My dad says that I just got lucky with an easy baby but it truly was done with intention, thought and a damn good book I would recommend to anyone. Here are a few key steps that really helped us:

  1. Good naps during the day at consistent times
  2. Same routine every night at same time – the earlier the better – kids needs sleep
  3. Feed them lots, fill them up, they sleep better
  4. Choose and method and stick to it
  5. Be on the same page as your partner
  6. Use a 90/10 rule (allowed to break nap time and extend bed time 10% of the time but for the sake of your own sanity keep to the dang schedule.) It is still hard with big family dinners as they usually only want to eat at 6pm or later, but we are working on going early. My MIL respects the rule very nicely and plans family dinners for 4pm so we can leave on time to get our little Miss to bed. It is a total shift but we are grateful for the respect and are a better family for it.

Again remember this is what worked for my family, your life is totally different than mine. I strongly recommend a well rested mama and partner. I feel better as a mama, am more alert and ready to participate in the day. Plus my babe is happy, playful and healthy. You can’t ask for more than that.

Stay strong mama,

J