Well, late on Sunday night, or early on Monday morning I should say, I made the executive decision that I would start sleep training Ethan that night. Why? – you ask? Not that long ago I talked about having second thoughts on sleep training him (at that point in time, not altogether), but now I knew he was ready. That night at 4:30 in the morning, he ate, but was fussy. I burped him and he projectile puked all over the floor and down my leg.
That’s it. I thought. I’ve had enough.
He’s actually been doing way better on the puking front, but it just affirmed that he doesn’t need to eat, he’s only doing it for comfort and hence throwing it up because he doesn’t need it and it probably made him feel worse and gassy. So why else did I feel he was ready?
- He started to comfort eat and immediately fall asleep during his night feeds
- He can tolerate not burping after a night feed and not puke anymore when laying down afterwards
- He can already put himself to sleep wide awake
- He has slept up to 10 hours straight at night
- He’d only been sleeping on average 3 hour stretches at a time
- He’s 4.5 months old
- He’s near 16 lbs (needs to weigh a minimum of 14 lbs)
- I kept waiting to see if he’d miraculously just start sleeping through the night and it didn’t happen!
- He is already sleep trained during the day for naps
He just seemed ready now, whereas even 2 weeks ago, he wasn’t. The only thing that I had to do – which is a lot of work – is to properly wean him from his night feeds, and he needed to learn to fall back asleep on his own when he woke up in the night. I used the SleepEasy method again and I will sing it’s praises as long as I can sing! You can read my posts about my experience with Braden, but here is a summary of the training using SleepEasy:
- Lay baby down to sleep awake at all times so they don’t associate eating/rocking with falling asleep
- Wean baby from nighttime feedings – breastfeeding or bottle feeding – by doing scheduled dreamfeeds and by cutting the length of those dreamfeeds by two minutes per night
- Dreamfeeds are to be timed for an hour before baby usually wakes
- If baby wakes during the night, baby must fall asleep by themselves
- You can go into baby’s room/wherever baby sleeps to give them verbal assurance only at timed intervals. Do NOT pick them up – this is a big key
- After baby falls back to sleep, go in and do a dreamfeed and set the alarm to wake up for the next dreamfeed
- Do not use a pacifier, toy aquarium, mobile, etc. to associate with sleep, instead introduce a lovie of some sort
- Must stay in bed for 11 hours (anything more is bonus) at night and 1 hour for all naps
- They will make up for their missed night calories during the day
Ethan’s sleep, like Braden’s was, is so sporadic. Ethan’s bedtime routine didn’t need to change at all, but I gave him extra smiles, snuggles, and kisses and prayed over him that the training would go well.
- His sleep pattern is different every night and he usually wakes up around the 3.5-4 hour mark, so for the first night I set my alarm for 3 hours after he fell asleep
- Fell asleep at 18:25, stirred a bit but was asleep when I dreamfed him at 21:25
- I set my alarm for another 3 hours at 00:30 and made it to that mark and fed him
- Set my alarm for 3:30, but he woke up at 2:30 which was 8 hours of sleep with 2 dreamfeeds
- Since he woke up on his own, now was the time to have him settle himself back to sleep
- For the first 15 minutes he was actually happy and babbling…then he realized I wasn’t coming and got ticked off
- I did go in to check on him twice, but it really didn’t help him and I felt it was kind of teasing him, so I just watched him on the monitor to make sure he was okay while I watched season 2 of Downton Abbey on the iPad
- He didn’t full on cry with tears, but fussed and “screamed” out off and on for 2 hours and 30 minutes. Yes. Two and a half hours of wake time. He actually fell asleep at the 2 hour 10 minute mark…but stirred and woke up again a few minutes later
- I did a dreamfeed as soon as he fell asleep, or so I thought…and he woke right up. You’d think after being awake for 2.5 hours he’d be exhausted but he was wide awake and he started to puke
- I stayed up with him until the puking was done and he went back down around 5:30 and slept until 8:15
I was exhausted that day and just prayed that it wouldn’t be such a long wakeful stretch the next night…
- I made the silly mistake of taking an overtired baby out and about during the day so bedtime was early at 17:55
- Instead of decreasing the length of the feeds, which is what the book suggests on how to wean, I decided to increase the interval of the feeds, so tonight we were at every 3.5 hour feeds
- I fed him then at 21:25 very successfully – he was really starting to get the hang of the dreamfeed
- I set my alarm for 1:00 but he woke up at 00:32 – time to settle himself
- This time he was very content and barely cried out at all, it took him 1 hour 20 minutes to settle which is a huge improvement from the 2.5 hours the first night
- After he fell asleep, I did a dreamfeed and set my alarm for 5:30 and I didn’t think there was anyway he would make it, especially so late in the night/early in the morning
- 5:30 my alarm goes off! I go in and do another successful dreamfeed and my sweet boy wakes up shortly after 7!
- So he slept 6.5 hours, awake for 1 hr 20 mins, slept 5 hours 10 minutes – this is great for night #2!
- I must also note that since he was more rested at night he had 3 AWESOME naps today!
- Since Ethan had amazing naps, he actually went to bed at a normal time 19:30 – BUT he was kinda fussy and too distracted so he didn’t get a really good feed
- He woke up really early, just under 3 hours later so I had to let him self-soothe which only took 52 minutes and he was very content for the majority of the time
- I dreamfed him once he was asleep shortly after 23:00 and set my alarm for 4 hours later
- Surprisingly he made it the 4 hours and I did a dreamfeed
- My dreamfeed went well…but I fed him from the left and I should have known better to feed him on the right. My right side ALWAYS lets down within like 10 seconds, it’s freakishly weird. My left? Sometimes a few minutes so I never did let down
- I know he got a good feed as I was very full and then wasn’t…but I don’t think he was 100% satisfied, as he woke up some point not long after I fed him
- I was admittedly exhausted looked on the monitor and he was safe – he was fine. I couldn’t go comfort him or feed him anyway…so I rolled over and fell asleep
- Next I know it’s 6:30 and he was awake and happy!
- He also had his new hazelwood necklace on for the first time tonight
- So he slept 2 hr 52 minutes, awake for 52 minutes, slept over 7 hours BUT I know he was awake and fussed for a bit of that
- Now we were at the point of stretching his feeds to 4.5 hours in between
- Bedtime was 18:35 and I successfully fed him just before I went to bed at 23:00
- He only slept 6.5 hours, which surprised me and woke shortly after 1:00 and I wasn’t to feed him until 3:30
- I just stayed in bed and watched the monitor, it took him 40 minutes to settle back to sleep and was quite content the whole time
- My alarm woke up up at 3:30 and I successfully dreamfed him
- He did cry out once, but continued to sleep until 6:00 this AM
- So he slept 6.5 hours, awake for 40 minutes, slept 4 hours 15 minutes
I know that on “paper” he is improving…but the impatient part of me just wants him to STTN without any wake ups and only dreamfeeds. I know we’re getting there and he has improved so much already – that is what I have to remember!
- Bedtime was very early at 18:05 – he didn’t have very good naps today
- I decided to do a dreamfeed before we went to bed, even though his feeds are 5 hours apart tonight…so I fed him at 22:00 and set my alarm for 3:00
- He did wake very briefly after midnight but it didn’t take long for him to settle – I had just fed him 2 hours earlier and couldn’t go to him anyway
- I still woke up at 3:00 and fed him and then he ended up sleeping 7 hours and was up at 5:45
I noticed now that since he’s not eating as much at night, he’s having a big of a hard time adjusting to eating more during the day and was a bit more spitty than he has been, but I know he’ll get there.
- Bedtime was at 18:35…but this is okay because it was daylight savings spring forward – woohoo!
- I was very tired from this week of sleep training so I just went to bed early, set my alarm for 6 hours after bedtime and woke at 00:30 to successfully feed him
- I didn’t set my alarm after this, as since we’re on 6 hour intervals, it would be acceptable for him to wake up between 5-6 (old time) anyway
- Ethan successfully slept 10.5 hours with one dreamfeed last night! He woke at 6:05 (new time) so 5:05 old time….which is still acceptable, but I wanted to see if he’d sleep longer
- Technically I should let him settle himself to sleep, but after 10.5 hours of sleep and a feed over 4 hours prior, I just did what I did with Braden and fed him while he was drowsy in hopes he’d sleep awhile longer
- He slept for another hour and was up for the day at 7:00 new time
I am absolutely amazed, yet not surprised, that sleep training yet again worked for a baby of mine! I truly, highly recommend this for anyone who’s baby or child (4 months – 5 years) isn’t sleeping well and waking multiple times throughout the night. Does it break your heart to hear your baby cry and fuss? ABSOLUTELY. I’m not denying that. But honestly? It is so worth it. It’s a lot of work – it’s not for the lazy parent – but after a week or so it gets better and better. But? I (as always), totally understand that this is not for everyone.
Ethan is happier, he’s napping better (on average) because he’s more well rested from his night sleep, and he’s definitely making up for his lost calories at night during the day.
How is my supply?
I have noticed that on the left side, which has always been my lower-supply side has gotten lower. I’m only dreamfeeding him on the right side at night as it takes about 10 seconds for a letdown, whereas on the left it can take minutes which takes even longer doing a dreamfeed with a baby who’s not alert and ravenous. I do pump on the left after I feed on the right at night, but during the day I’m always offering him the left first to keep my supply up.
I’ll keep moving his dreamfeed up by an hour and eventually I’ll just wean him from it or he’ll wean himself. At this age Braden was sleeping 10 hours on his own, I would feed him between 5-6 AM and he would sleep another 2-3 hours. I would be more than happy with that at this age, I don’t expect him to sleep 12+ hours straight yet.
Thanks for following on our journey and checking in with me to ask how it’s been! That is a picture of Ethan this morning, just happy and absolutely bubbling from having such a good night’s sleep!