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From Baby To Big Kid: Sleep Training {Link Up}

By Wifessionals @wifessionals
From Baby To Big Kid: Sleep Training {Link Up}Hey there! My name is Alessandra and I blog over at You Are More. I am a Stay At Home Mom to a sweet, talkative, blue eyed, seven month old baby boy, Jase.
To sleep train or not to sleep train, that is the question every mom has to ask themselves at one point or another. Fact is, sooner or later some type of sleep training has to happen to encourage good sleep habits in your little one’s life. There are many different methods on how to help your baby develop healthy sleep patterns, but I am just going to share with you what we chose to do and how it worked for us.
The first two months Jase was home I felt it was very important to establish a trust between us. Babies communicate through crying, it is the only way they know how to express their feelings and I felt like responding to his cries was very important. I rocked him to sleep for his naps and before bed, sometimes I laid him down, sometimes I just held him. I wanted to savor those moments as a newborn, adjusting to motherhood, and build that bond of trust between us. I knew that eventually I would want him to know how to fall asleep on his own so that I was able to be productive during the time he was sleeping. From day one I started by keeping him on a pretty around the clock eating schedule throughout the day to help him associate night from day.I let him determine his naps during the day and just watched how he fell into a pattern. Between the last two feedings of the night, I would do my best to keep him up for a longer period of time and cluster one last night time feeding when he just couldn’t wait any longer. Afterwards I would rock him to sleep, lay him down, and head to bed myself. I know this sounds more like I am sharing his schedule than talking about sleep training, but I believe it was the kick off to successful sleep training.
From Baby To Big Kid: Sleep Training {Link Up}Around two months I decided I was going to start teaching Jase how to fall asleep on his own. I could not handle in my mama’s heart to let him cry it out. I tried once and after ten minutes of him crying it ended with me in me in tears rocking him to sleep. I decided, for myself, I needed to try something different.
I started by rocking Jase just until he was drowsy, and then I would move him to his crib and lay him down. I made sure that every time I laid him down he was relaxed and sleepy, but STILL awake. I did this at every nap and at the end of the day. This helped him transition to learning to fall asleep without depending on me rocking him. If there was ever a time he cried, I would let him cry in intervals of three, five, and seven minutes. If he began crying, I would go in after three minutes, give him his pacifier, pat him on his back, assure him I was there, and then quietly slip out. I would not pick him up. I wanted to assure him he was okay just where he was. Most of the time, I only had to go back in once or twice. I would also like to point out that you are your baby’s mom, and you know what you baby needs more than anyone else. This was the system that I wanted to use to sleep train my son, but I wasn’t afraid to detour off of it when it was needed. I knew Jase’s cries, and I knew when he was not feeling well, had a gas bubble, or something else that would require me to go back in sooner or to pick him up. Sometimes it was just a simple gas bubble, and I was able to burp and lay him right back down. Other times, he would wake up in a panic and if I couldn’t get him to calm down, I didn’t mind holding him for the remainder of that nap. I think it is important to be flexible in sleep training; it makes it easier on mama and baby.
After I noticed him doing very well with that pattern, I began laying him down directly in his crib and allowing him to put himself to sleep. Because of the schedule he was on from the beginning, I was able to watch the pattern he chose for sleeping. I was able to see about how long he could be awake before needing to go to sleep again, and could lay him down at that time enabling him to fall asleep without much crying. Instead of me trying to put him to sleep at a time he may not necessarily have been tired, I paid attention to his cues from day one to know when he was ready. At first, this meant he was laying down about an hour after he woke up from his last nap. Now we have graduated to laying down about an hour and forty-five minutes after waking.
From Baby To Big Kid: Sleep Training {Link Up}I chose to take baby steps in sleep training him to help him naturally fall into the pattern of putting himself to sleep. I also wanted to start early enough before he was able to sit or stand making it harder to help him learn to sleep.
I want to also share a few things that helped us in encouraging Jase to sleep well in his crib:

*Swaddle – my halo sleep sack and swaddle me blankets are my best friends. Jase would not sleep well without them, he still doesn’t. As a newborn he wanted his hands swaddled right under his chin, then he graduated to wanting them completely swaddled, and now he breaks them out while sleeping. Whatever he prefers, it has really helped us.
*Soft blankets – I know it is not encouraged to have extra blankets in the crib, but Jase would not sleep unless he could cuddle his face into something soft. I bring a blanket up next to the side of his face, and tuck it under his body so it can’t move during his sleep. Before we go to sleep at night we usually fold it down after he has fallen asleep.
 From Baby To Big Kid: Sleep Training {Link Up}*Room Darkening Curtains - I noticed a difference the darker the room is. I bought curtains that were supposed to be room darkening, but they still let too much light in and Jase would not nap well. He would wake up and be unable to put himself back to sleep, the light made him want to play instead. I put blankets under them to get a dark enough until I can find something to better darken the room, it makes a huge difference in how well he sleeps.
*Pacifier – I didn’t mind Jase using his pacifier. He has wanted one from the first night in the hospital, so I didn’t mind him using that. The first few weeks at home he would wake every fifteen minutes because it had fallen out of his mouth. So for a couple weeks we would remove it from his mouth before he fell into a deep sleep so he didn’t wake when coming back into a lighter sleep. That helped him not to need it between sleep cycles.
*Sound machine – the constant noise also helps babies go between sleep cycles. When they fall into a lighter sleep the constant noise helps lull them back to sleep. I love the projector ours has because Jase loves to watch the images move on the ceiling.
*Flexibility and mama instincts – like I said before, I think this is the two most important things in sleep training. Willing to be flexible with discovering what works best for you and your baby helps make it a stress free experience. Don’t be afraid to follow your mama instincts, which are why you have them!
Hope this helps in any of your sleep training journeys!
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