Feb 21, 2011  •  In Baby, Claire, Motherhood, Parenting, Personal

Sleep Training Progress

It has now been exactly one week since we started sleep-training Claire. Although we haven’t made any miraculous changes to her sleeping habits, her sleeping has certainly gotten better.

Starting Friday, she has started to take at least 1+ hour nap per day and only protests napping in her crib about 20% of the time. This is a remarkable improvement from only napping 30 minutes at a time and flat-out refusing to sleep in the crib during the day (she would only nap in her swing).

Her nighttime sleep continues to stay consistent with about 3 wakings per night. Since she is almost 5 months old (21 weeks this Thursday), I have been told that we can start to try for 2 wakings per night, but I want to get her naps sorted our first.

According to sleep experts, nap training is almost always more difficult than nighttime sleep training, and while nighttime sleep training may last a few days, nap training can last as long as 2-3 weeks. And while I would love to cut out a nighttime waking, I can live with it since she always goes right back to sleep after a bottle and a diaper change. Besides, many babies naturally start skipping a nighttime waking as they near 6 months of age and I am hoping that this becomes the case with Claire.

I have never seen Claire pout as much as she did the day she slept particularly poorly.
(And I’m sorry for the blurry picture — it was taken in a moving car with my crappy phone camera.)

Having having read numerous books and internet resources on infant sleep, I am now certain that some babies are just naturally better sleepers than others. How else you can account for babies such as my next-door neighbor’s, who starting sleeping 10 hours straight every night — without any sort of sleep training — since he was 2.5 months old? And that even a week-long trip to Ireland didn’t disrupt his sleeping habits? (When his mother told me that she wanted to “die” during the first couple of months when he would “only” sleep 4-5 hours at a time, I REALLY had to force a smile to let her know that 4-5 is the norm for my 5-month-old daughter.)

Then there are babies who are just poor sleepers from the get-go. These are the ones who wake up more than 5 times per night even past 6 months of age, will only catnap during the day, and are tremendously difficult to sleep-train.

From what we have experienced so far, Claire seems to be more difficult than the average baby, but is not nearly as high-maintenance as some babies I have read about. And for that, I am thankful.

Many times I have found that other mommy bloggers mention sleep training, but often do not get into the details. For this reason, I plan on writing another detailed post in the near future about how we sleep-trained Claire, complete with the resources we used. I hope that with this post, I can help other mothers as well as future mothers who struggle with their babies’ sleep.

We will continue to sleep-train until Claire’s naps are sorted out. You have no idea how much happier a baby is when he/she is well-rested!

And in the meantime, I hope to return to my regular blogging schedule starting today. Thanks for your patience and support!

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12 Responses to “Sleep Training Progress”

  1. Helene says:

    how do u decide that claire needs to be sleep trained? my son is almost 4 month old. he only sleeps like an hour or so during day time while he sleeps for 7 hours at night. i read that babies need 16 hours of sleep a day so i wonder if my baby also needs sleep training….

    • There were three factors in our decision to sleep-train:

      1. Her age. Almost all experts agree that babies are ready to be sleep-trained (whether by CIO or non-CIO solutions) by the time they are 6 months old, and most agree that 4 months is a good time to start. I, as her mother, felt that she was emotionally ready to start sleep-training.

      2. Baby sleep cycles are different from that of adults’. The first cycle typically lasts 30-45 minutes and after that will come the deeper, more restful sleep. The problem is the many babies have trouble making this transition, and wake up after the first cycle. As such, oftentimes they need to be trained to transition to the next cycle. Claire was one such baby — she would only nap 30-40 minutes at a time.

      3. While some babies are natural catnappers and it works for them, it obviously was not working for Claire because she would always wake up from her naps groggy and cranky, and would become a fussy mess by the end of each day.

      Obviously the decision is personal for each family, and what works for one may not work for another.

      That being said, if you are interested in sleep-training, I advise that you discuss it thoroughly with your husband/partner first, because consistency is key and having two different people using different approaches will only confuse the baby and prolong the process.

  2. Momfish says:

    Yayaya! This is great news! Progress! So happy to her this for you AND for Claire!

  3. Momfish says:

    *hear not her! It’s late. Shew.

  4. Kit says:

    I am really looking forward to the sleep training post complete with resources! I personally have just been weathering the storm with our first born and have no idea where to turn. Crying it out doesn’t work one bit- my baby is NOT a tension releaser, she gets more wound up the longer we let her cry…. Sigh…

  5. Donna says:

    Now, we are sleep training our toddler who has figured out how to crawl out of his crib and wants to go wandering around in the middle of the night, trying to turn on the tv, play with his trains or crawl into bed with us. We ended up putting a gate in the doorway of his room. The hardest part was hearing my son screaming at 2am “MOMMY PLEASE OUT!! MOMMY!!! MOMMY!!! PLEASE!!” and then, from 4am – 5am for an hour, hearing “MOMMY I LOVE YOU. MOMMY COME GET ME. MOMMY PLEASE!!!”

    ahhhhh!! It just doesn’t get any easier!

  6. Christine says:

    I don’t know if this will work for you, but it worked for us. Our son has been sleep trained since he was a few weeks old. Once 8:00pm hit, I would let him nurse then stop him and wake him up an hour later to nurse again and then I’d give him a bath at 10:00pm and let him nurse. He’ll be in bed by 10:30pm and won’t wake up until 7:30am the next day. My pediatrician said it’s likely because my milk is fatty and gives him more calories so that he can sleep through the night. Good luck.

    • It sounds like you’ve been blessed with a naturally good sleeper. 🙂 I have been reading through various message boards about sleep training and infant sleep troubles, and there are many moms who do exactly what you’re doing (or a variation) and it does not help their babies sleep any better or longer.

      I, personally, can’t do this because I no longer nurse due to 1+ month of recurring painful infections…additionally, Claire always preferred formula to breastmilk from day one and actually slept better on formula.

      I hope that your son continues to stay a good sleeper!

      • Christine says:

        I hope he stays this way, too! I am not sure what my nanny does during the day time, but I’ve checked her out on the camera sometimes and she makes him take naps. From what I’ve read above, napping seems to be difficult for you, too. I hope lil’ Claire will find a good rhythm soon. Sleep deprivation is hard on both of you!

  7. LHR says:

    Good luck! I hope Claire learns how to sleep well soon!

    I totally agree that some babies are just naturally better sleepers. My son was a catnapper during the day and horrible at night. He would go through phases (that would last weeks) where he’d wake up every 1.5 hr. Waking up 6-8 times a night was the norm for awhile. During his “good” phases, he might sleep a long 4 hr stretch, then wake a few times after that. Luckily, though, he was very easy to get back to sleep.

    We dabbled with sleep training, but that was just that. My husband was physically and mentally useless in the middle night, and I was just too exhausted to do it on my own. Obviously, none of that worked.

    All of a sudden on 7/4/2009 he finally slept through the night at 8 months old. That date will be forever ingrained my head. He just did.

    Since then he’s been good besides the 2 months that he’d scream bloody murder and “hug mama! hug mama!” at bedtime for 2-3 hours after we put him down. Apparently, that’s something that most toddlers do when they turn two.

  8. olesya says:

    Hello! Thanks for this post. My son just turned 4mo and he started sleeping for 30-40 during his nap times.
    He sleeps 10hrs at night (thank God) but his naps are horrible. Even though it seems like he wakes up happy from his 30 min naps, playing and coo’ing. I dont have a problem with him going to bed at night at 8:30, he never cries, no pacifier, he just falls asleep. However, during the day, i use pacifier and if it falls off, i gotta go put it back in..geez, its a nightmare running upstairs 20 times :).
    Lets say if I put him down for a nap at 10am, when do i start counting the hour,? from 10 or from when he falls asleep? I usually watch him like a stalker on that baby monitor. I am glued to that thing. I want to be better.
    Oh and another thing, sometimes I let him cry but I can only handle 30min max because it gets louder and louder and his face becomes red and rashy because of his tears..poor baby.
    Any suggestions about naps? I am planning to start leaving him after he wakes up from his 30min nap. You said an hour or so?

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