Our baby was sleeping through the night by 8 weeks old! Yep, we were those parents… the ones without the bags under our eyes or the war stories about how little sleep we were getting every day. I want to share with you what we did to make this happen—the magic sleep training method that just happened to work perfectly with our kid. If you are ready to get your sleep back, give this a try—you might be surprised! But be warned: this is a “cry it out” method, which is not for the faint of heart.
First things first… make baby comfortable for bedtime.
Time to get cozy for bed! Put on a fresh diaper, and then change him into pajamas that are appropriate for the temperature in your home. Swaddle your baby if you know he likes it. I found that my little one was more comfortable sleeping with a hat on, even though he was born in the summer. Weird, I know, but it worked!
After baby is snuggly for bed, feed him. If you feed him before changing him, and he falls asleep at the bottle or breast, you will have to wake him. It is much easier if feeding is the last thing you do before putting him to bed.
Time for bed!
After diapering, clothing, and feeding your baby, put him in his crib or bassinet while he is awake. Set a timer on your phone for 15 minutes and walk away. No matter how hard he cries, or how tempted you are to go in “just to check”, leave him for the full 15 minutes. The timer is important, because 15 minutes felt like 2 hours of agony to a new mom like me, and like 2 easy minutes to my husband.
When the 15 minutes are up, go and check on him.
Do not pick him up! Just go into the nursery, pat his tummy, smile at him, sing a song—whatever you like—for a minute or two, and then walk out again. Set the timer for 15 minutes and repeat.
The idea is that you want to remind your baby that you are still there, and to have him trust that you will be coming in and out of the room even if he is asleep. That way, he learns to self-soothe and drift off to dreamland on his own.
Your baby will eventually fall asleep.
At first, you will be checking him every fifteen minutes for hours! However, after about a week of this method, it will only take a couple of check-ins before he is asleep. Eventually, he will fall asleep before your first fifteen-minute timer goes off. It took us about 3 weeks to get to this point, but it was worth it!
If your child is really young, he will wake up again to eat.
This is no problem—just change him, feed him, and repeat the method until he is asleep again. Most babies stop needing to wake up in the night to eat when they are about 11 pounds, and when you set a good foundation with this method early, you are more likely to get a full night’s sleep when your infant reaches that golden 11 pound benchmark. So…
Start sleep training as early as you feel comfortable.
We started this method when our son was 3 weeks old. He was falling asleep by himself by 6 weeks, and sleeping all the way through the night by 8 weeks. I don’t know if experts recommend sleep training this early—and I am certainly no expert—but I was a happy, well-rested mama by 8 weeks, and our son has been sleeping like an angel ever since!
If you are exhausted from bouncing and rocking your baby for hours to get him to sleep, give this method a try. Just make baby comfortable, set him down for bed, set a timer, and check on him only when the timer goes off until he is asleep. This method worked like a charm for us and for a lot of other mamas I know, so if you are ready to try something new, give this a shot!
*By the Way* This sleep method was our family’s version of the Ferber method. Not every sleep training method is perfect for every child, or for every parent. Ask your pediatrician when it would be appropriate to start sleep training (I realize that we started earlier than most), and ask him or her what method they recommend. Your pediatrician knows about your baby’s needs, and YOU know the most about your family’s needs. So empower yourself, mama (or dad)! Read up on methods, ask your pediatrician, and try something that will be good for both you and your baby.
What sleep training method did you use? How soon was your baby sleeping through the night? Are you against “cry it out” methods? Let me know in the comments!