This is going to be a long post.
From the moment I brought Michaela home I was nursing her on demand. It was about every 3 hours. The first couple weeks I would wake her up to nurse in order to build my supply. After the first month I stopped waking her and she would sleep from 9pm-4am, then nurse and go back to sleep till 7am.
I knew I was lucky. I couldn’t believe how great of a baby I had. When we went to Ireland for Christmas when Michaela was just 4 months old. Family and friends would ask me how she was sleeping and I would say, “she sleeps great, I’m really lucky!”
That was short lived however. While in Ireland she slept well the first week (we were home for 3). She then got sick (her first time being sick). She got a cold that I had. She was congested so I used that lil snot sucker so she could breathe. It being her first time being sick I thought she was handling it well.
She was still sleeping okay so we decided to go see a movie and leave her with my in-laws. About 45 mins into the movie I look at my phone and I had 3 missed calls and voice mail. I went outside and called Liam’s mother. I could hear Michaela wailing in the background and a very upset Mother-in-law. She said Michaela had been sick and won’t stop crying. I knew at that moment she just needed to nurse to be comforted. And of course I didn’t pump to give her a bottle in case because I didn’t foresee any issues nor have I been away from Michaela before.
We rush home to see Liam’s sisters car in the driveway. When we got inside she was wearing my housecoat and holding a sleeping Michaela. She said she put on the housecoat so she could smell me but would wake up screaming and just as she said that Michaela woke up screaming.
I brought her into our room and nursed her and within 2 minutes she was calm and happy and playing on the bed like nothing happened. ha. What a lil punk.
After that night she didn’t sleep great. She was in the room with us and would wake every 3 hours or so. I thought she may be going through the 4 month sleep regression because every time you get her to sleep and would try and put her in the bed she would wake up instantly. In my mind I knew all the changes of traveling with a 10 hour flight, to a different time zone, to going somewhere cold than Jamaica and seeing a 100 new people probably had something to do with it.
She got christened while in Ireland in Dec 2015.
I didn’t want to sleep train at all. I couldn’t just let her cry. It would break my heart. And I didn’t mind nursing to sleep because it was easy and I knew it would work every time. So I thought in her own time she will sleep well. We will just see when we get back to Jamaica how it would go.
It didn’t go well…….
She woke every night multiple times. Funnily enough I didn’t seem to notice too much. I don’t think I am a great sleeper to begin with. I wake a lot on my own before I had Michaela. I never really felt too tired. Some nights were horrible and I felt like I got up 50 times. And I would cave some nights and bring her to bed in the middle of the night so I could nurse lying down.
We tried the pick up and put down method. It was too hard on me. We tried it on her when she was 8 months old and she cried and wouldn’t settle when I picked her up. I picked her up about 10 times and decided I couldn’t do this.
I tried putting her to sleep awake. She would cry as soon as I laid her down. Nope. I couldn’t do it. I don’t think I could mainly because I was not ready to.
We moved to Trinidad in June and she still didn’t sleep great. She even wasn’t napping well. Some days I would get a 20 minute nap in the morning and the afternoon get a 45 minute nap. And other days I would get a 45 morning nap and an hour and half afternoon nap. She would always go to sleep easily but always wake an hour after I put her down. Then at about 2am I would be sick of getting up and I would bring her to bed with us so I could get some sleep.
One morning I had pretty much had her latched on me all night she was moving around in the morning and straight kicked me hard in my eye. It was blurry for about an hour and I thought. Nope. I’m not doing this anymore. I want my bed back. I want her to sleep better. When my husband came home from work and I said, we are sleep training tonight. We are trying the CIO (Cry It Out) method.
I have read many things on to sleep train or not. I read that for a breast feeding Mom they will sleep eventually like learning to walk and talk, etc. I was going for that route but at 13 months I decided for her sake that it would be better to sleep soundly. She wasn’t. I didn’t want her to sleep like I do. I wanted her to be confident in herself.
That night we discussed it and I said that I needed his support because it is going to be a difficult night and even weekend for us. But we have to be consistent and we have to do this. In the long run it will be better for her.
At 7:45pm I put her PJ’s on, gave her a bottle, read her a story and we gave her a kiss goodnight and I brought her into our room (she wasn’t in her own room as we were waiting on a cable for her baby monitor). By 8pm I put on her noise machine, her projector and I laid her down with her bunny. I said, “it’s night night time, sleepy time.” And I left the room.
I went in at 2 minutes and laid her back down and said the same thing, “its night night time, sleepy time.”
I went in at 5 minutes and did the same thing. This time she freaked out when I went to leave the room. She made noises I have never heard her do before. She would stop crying once I went to her and kissed her and hugged her and would say it’s ok before laying her back down.
It hurt but I knew once she learned this it would be better for her. Liam was ready to give up. But I know this was going to be tough. But we have to do this. I went in at the intervals of 2, 5, and my husband went in at the 7 and 10 ones.
By 8:30 she was asleep in a little pile in her bed. I was so proud but also sad because she was so upset. She slept right passed her 1 hour mark.
We went into bed then at 11pm. She was still asleep. I was amazed.
At 2am she woke crying. Now, normally your little one would be in their own room but we had no monitor so I just decided we would do the same thing but we are in the room with her.
When she started crying I waited 2 minutes before I sat up and went to her. At the 2 minute mark, I went over to her and hugged her (without picking her up) kissed her and said that is was okay and it is sleepy time. I put on her projector and noise machine and laid her back down. Then I would go back to my bed and lay down.
I looked at the time on my phone and waited 5 minutes. Then the same thing. Kissed her, hugged her, put on her noise machine and projector and lay her down. This time she stopped crying and just whimpered a bit. I laid back in my bed and within 1 or 2 minutes she was back asleep.
She awoke again at 4 and I did the same thing and this time she was out after the first time I laid her back down.
She slept until 7am. At that time I picked her up and brought her in the bed to nurse (and she didn’t sleep). Then we got up about 15 minutes later and went on with our day. My husband and I thought she may hate us or act grumpy but she was in good spirits.
Then it was nap time. At around 10am she gets sleepy so we stuck with the plan. Liam went to put her down but he couldn’t so I did. I went into the room and did the same routine. And within 10 minutes she was asleep. She slept for 45 minutes
The same went with her afternoon nap. Within 5 minutes she was asleep and slept for an hour. And when it was time for bed she was asleep within 10 minutes, and she only woke once at 1:45am.
By Monday night she would go for her nap cry for a minute and then sleep. She was now sleeping 45mins-1 hr for her morning nap (sometimes she wouldn’t take a morning nap if we are at play group or out) and 1-2 hour nap in the afternoon around 2. YES! I finally was getting some me time!
When it was time for bed Monday night she didn’t cry. Not at all. She went down! Not a peep. And by Friday she didn’t cry at all for naps or nighttime and we moved her into her own room. She actually slept the night. She would wake up at night and put her projector on herself and go back to sleep. I didn’t get up once.
I could not believe it. Finally a good sleeper! We could actually get a baby sitter and know that she won’t wake up and if she does she can put herself back to sleep!
I know not everyone is so lucky with the CIO method. It really depends on the child. We are very lucky and Michaela is very adaptable. I think that has a lot to do with the amount of traveling she has done in the first year of her life (20+ flights since 4 months old, and 7 different countries).
This is just what happened with us and no matter what method or no method at all either way it is up to you and your family.