Sleep Training a 6-Month Old

One week ago, we started sleep training. Prior to that, baby was sleeping in our bed, falling asleep around 10 or 11PM, and waking every 2 hours to be soothed, and I had enough. The breaking point was when baby rejected my breast. Usually, when he woke in the middle of the night, I’d just stick him on me, and he’d be soothed back to sleep. Well he didn’t want any of it one night, and then again the next. I decided the sleeping arrangement was no longer working for any of us.

Days shy of Jarvis turning 6 months old, we started “training”. My main goals were to have him sleep in his crib and for more than 5 hours at a time.

I read “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Weissbluth and decided on graduated extinction (aka modified cry it out or Ferber method). This method involves consoling the crying baby at increasing time intervals.

Day 1 was bearable. We put him in his crib at 7PM and with some crying, he fell asleep 20 min later. He slept until 7AM, waking up once.

Day 2 was more difficult. It took 40 minutes of crying to fall asleep, he woke up twice, and was up for the day at 5:45AM. (I heard Day 2 is supposed to be the worst.)

Day 3 was similar to Day 1.

Each day afterward became less of struggle, and after a week, our baby now sleeps 11-12 hours a night, with very little or no crying. The last two nights, we didn’t have to console him at all. And there was no crying when we put him down at bedtime!

We’re all getting much more rest. It’s a win-win.

Tips:

  • Track everything. From feedings to diaper changes, you want to understand the baby’s natural rhythm. I use an Android app called Bubtrac.
  • Keep to the schedule as much as possible. This includes the whole bedtime routine. Ours is bathtime, bottle and storytime. Hubby has it down pat.
  • Stimulate baby during awake time. The baby will nap and sleep better if he’s been exercising/playing/stimulated all day. Jarvis isn’t very mobile yet, so our awake time is in the exersaucer, on the playmat (trying to crawl) and lots of singing and dancing. I try to avoid long car rides outside of his nap time, as they usually make him sleepy.

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