Sleep training & Bottle Weening

girlsatthebeachSleep training. A subject some mothers cringe at the thought of and some mothers are diving into deeply.

I have so much I wish to cover on this subject since it’s been a process over the past two years to figure this all out with both my first daughter and the second.

But to make life simpler and cut to the chase here’s what:

Riley – born and by default the hospital had her on a great schedule. After I figured out that I was not providing enough milk through nursing I switched to formula and at 3 months of age she was sleeping through the night. “On Becoming Babywise” talks about really putting in a day time schedule and then the night time sleep training will be easy.

I confess, I have not read the book from front to back. I read the parts that applied to me when I finally got the book. Hah!  I do recommend reading it though from front to back. If  I change my mind on having a 3rd I will read it from front to back.  It’s important that you are on a schedule by 3 months.

By 9 months, Riley was teething and was pacifier dependent (I wish I never had done that). And had to sleep with one and would always cry for it if it had fallen out. Long story short, I got rid of the pacifier because it would expand after washings and got so big I was afraid she was going to have buck teeth.  So I gave her a bottle. Big NO NO.  I didn’t think it was a big deal and I didn’t know any better or even think that I was setting myself up for a bigger problem.

By 15 months my daughters last set of molars came in and she already had two cavities in those brand new teeth.  I switched to water and then told her that by 2 years of age NO BOTTLE. I repeated this daily until her 2nd birthday.

The other issue is that she was still waking 1-2 times in the middle of the night wanting another water bottle. Wetting her bed as well. So not only did the bottle weening get done but I was able to fully sleep train her.  She now sleeps until 7am (instead of 6 or 6:30am).

Success on bottle weening:  My main thing was discussing what I was doing, how we were going to do it and following through on it. I did exactly what I said. I “threw away” the bottles as she’s now a big girl. She’s turned 2. Big girls don’t drink from bottles but sippy cups. I had 5 different sippy cups that she could potentially like. She likes 1 NUBY sippy cup and prefers the straws throw away cups! I gave her the date (after her birthday) and told her that it was happening. The first two days were hell.  But I made them better for her by offering her perks for being a “big girl” and not drinking from a bottle.  We went to the beach one day, Aquarium another and then the Zoo. Made it a fun thing and celebrate that she’s now a big girl. She cried at her nap time for 40 minutes and didn’t end up falling asleep until 3pm when we arrived at the Aquarium. (nap time was 10am at that time). So she fell asleep due to exhaustion. She cried that night at her bed time from 8pm-4AM. So she was off and on crying. Wasn’t flat out.  After that night it was all downhill. Got better with each day.  By the 3rd day she was fully 100 % bottle weened.  I did it while my husband was out of town so I didn’t have him upset by.  And I turned off the baby monitor in her room and closed my door knowing this was going to happen.

We are now almost 6 weeks and she’s not been on the bottle! Huge huge huge success.

SLEEP TRAINING MY 1 YEAR OLD:

I co-slept (big problem if you don’t plan to later on) and nursed until my daughter was 9.5 months.  I had her sleeping with us and tried to get her to sleep in the crib next to us. She always cried and came back in our bed.  She slept in our bed until she was 1 year old. 24 days or so  after Riley was off the bottle. Yes my girls are literally 1 year and 24 days apart. Toughest job but most rewarding.

Because I was more attached with Jordyn I felt like I needed extra amp up to get through it. I read Secrets of the Baby Whisperer or the first 30 pages, and it really changed my attitude about my kids and my respect for my kids and how I handle them as a mother.  I felt like I needed to be more in communication, more informative with them and really make sure their needs and wants are respected as well as mine and I treat them with respect.

So husband leaves out of town and I jumped on the sleep training.  I asked a couple of my friends who’ve done it with their 4 kids or 5 kids or twins.  And felt ready.

First Day/Night: She cried for 30 minutes  (more like whining off and on) and then fell asleep.  I’m sure she cried another 3 times that night but I put myself in the guest bedroom which was a little further from her room.  The first nap was 13 minutes of off and on crying and then she was asleep.

Second Day: Got better. She still cried for 5-10 minutes at nap time and 15 minutes at bed time.  Realize the crying is off and on. Not straight hard core crying.

Third night: She was fully sleeping through the night and crying minimally.

Two weeks later: I moved her into the same room with her sister and we are kinda going through a little crying for 5 minutes with the new space and my oldest talking to her keeping her up… but she’s doing okay.

Tips: I told her very clearly each time I put her down for her nap that I was putting her down for her nap or bed time and that I am right next door and not going anywhere.  That I would be there in the morning for her when she wakes.  And I never stepped in that room again until the morning.

Make sure husband is fully supportive and doesn’t let you “give in”.

Know that unless they are teething and dead hungry that the cries will eventually go away. Sometimes she still cries at bedtime or nap time but it’s for 30 seconds to a minute. But again, I always tell her exactly what I am doing and then follow up on it and do it.

The routine at night is as follows:

1. Play at park for as long as possible.
2. Feed a big dinner and walk outside for a bit (continue to tire them out).
3. Turn off any TV and a number of the lights so not stimulate. Play low key games, drawing and things that don’t require any major excitement 1-2 hours before bedtime.
4. Teething tablets/camomilia 30X
5. Book reading for both the girls (bottle for Jordyn preferably before bath if you can or after).
6. Lay her down and tell her she’s going to put herself to sleep, that I will see her in the morning after 7am and to sleep well. Rub her back and walk out.

– As a result I’ve put the girls on the same schedule: (this schedule changes depends on when the girls wake)

7am: wake up (only if they are awake, sometimes they sleep until 7:30am)
7-7:30: play time, breakfast (bottle for little one and water for Riley)
8-11: play time, park, errands, second bottle (every 3 hours) for Jo
11-11:30am – lunch
11:30am-1pm – nap
1pm: snack for Riley and bottle for Jo
1-3pm: play time, park, errands
3pm:  bottle for Jo, snack of protein, fruits and vegetables or noodles
3-6pm: play time, park, Zoo, tiring out the girls.
6-6:45: dinner, bottle for Jo, water for Riley
6:45-7:55pm: low lights, TV off if it’s on, drawing, playing on the floor.
7:55-8:15pm – bath time, pajamas on, bottle for Jordyn
8:15-8:30pm – 3-5 books read, bedtime at 8:30pm

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