At 9 months old, Ellie was still waking up 3-5 times a night needing a bottle. Now, I know every child is different but its hard not to compare myself to other moms who post on social media about their babies sleeping through the night at such a young age (2 months old even!!!!).
I was about 4 months pregnant with my second child when I brought Ellie to her 9 month baby appointment. At this point I had given up on the sleeping thing and just figured this was my life now. Her sweet doctor was super impressed with how well Ellie has been doing it was as if she was digging to get to the real truth and find something she could help with. Then she asked
“How’s she sleeping”
DING DING DING!!!
I explained how she wakes up 3-5 times a night, some nights more, some nights less.
“No, no, no, she needs to be sleeping through the night.
My goal was to get Ellie sleeping through the night before baby number 2 arrived. But I was at a lost of what to do during the middle of the night when she does wake up. Giving her a bottle stops her crying and we all get back to sleep.
Her amazing doctor gave me a game plan and honestly I still wasn’t completely sure, my husband didn’t believe this would work at all. But by night number 3 she slept through the entire night, 7pm-7am, and woke up with a dry diaper even!!
I’ll share what we did, I have no idea if this works for every baby or not, but it worked for us!
- Have a night time routine.
This was already established for us. We start around 5:30pm with dinner, then bath time, then some quiet time (reading, tv, light playing, ect. ), then bed around 7:30pm. Ellie knows what is coming next every single night and we never had an issue with putting her to bed.
2. Putting her to bed.
We now give her a bottle during her quiet time if she needs one rather than in her crib. She doesn’t get a bottle in her crib at all anymore. I set her room up the same each night, put her down, tell her the same thing every night “goodnight, I love you”, and walk out.
3. Time her cries if needed.
The first couple of nights were rough. We had two options to either let her cry it out or time her cries and go back in. As soon as I walked out on the first night she started crying, I would start timing one minute. After a minute I would go back in, not say anything, just rub her back adjust her if needed, until she stopped crying. I then would say “goodnight, I love you” and walk out again. This time I double the amount of time once she starts crying. Now I set the timer for 2 minutes. Go back in without saying anything soothe her, tell her I love her, and walk out. I continued this process doubling the time of her cries each time I went in. The first night she cried for a total of 10 minutes. The second night took about 2 minutes, as well as the third night. By the fourth night she understood and cried for 30 seconds and was sound asleep. The fifth night and on she doesn’t cry, she watches me walk out and lays there until she falls asleep.
4. What to do if she wakes in the middle of the night?
If she woke during the middle of the night I would repeat step 3. Wait one minute, go check on her, rub her back until she stops crying and walk back out. She usually was already tired that this was all it took but if she were to continue to cry I would keep doubling the time between each check in.
That’s all it took for us!
After about one week of doing this and things were going great she did develop a habit of needing mom in the room. She figured out that I was in there when she was awake and wasn’t while she was sleeping. I stuck to the process and would rub her back or forehead until she was calm, walk out, and time her cries. This habit lasted about 3 nights which made our bed time routine rough but I didnt give in and she sleeps so so amazing now.
Now that I saw how amazingly well the sleep training worked I will definitely be starting this process sooner with baby number 2!