Babies: 3 - 6 Months

Want to sleep train but don't know how.

My DD just turned 4 months yesterday. I don't plan to sleep train now but sometime in the 5-6 month mark probably. DD is a terrible sleeper as it is. She will sometimes sleep for 3-4 hour stretches but just because she's sleeping doesn't mean I get to. I am up every 5-15 minutes replacing her paci. Once she's in a deep sleep, she will sleep without it, until she changes sleep cycles which is only about 30-45 minutes and then I am back to replacing the paci for another 30-60 minutes. That's night sleep. Naps are essentially the same thing just not as long. She also fights sleep and screams uncontrolably when I try to get her to sleep.

I need to do something but idk what. I am thinking sleep training but there are so many different methods out there and I don't know where to start.

I am also wondering if I should get rid of the paci and swaddle all at the same time as sleep training so that I don't have to keep upsetting her over and over. She also has to sleep on her side. If I try to put her on her back, there is no falling asleep. She HAS to be on her side. I cringe at the idea of CIO but if that's what it takes, so be it. However, I have a strong inclination that CIO won't work for her. When she cries now if she's not immediately tended to (like as soon as her eyes pop open) she will scream until she can't breathe, turns colors, gets sick, actually sobbing with huge tears.

I just don't know what to do.

Re: Want to sleep train but don't know how.

  • The best "advice" I ever got was, "You will know when sleep training is right for you,."  I was at the end of my rope at the 4.5 month mark.  We got rid of the swaddle at the same time.  We didn't have a paci though.  I highly recommend The Sleep Easy Solution.  Quick read and sounds similar to Ferber (although I didn't read Ferber so I can't say from personal experience).  DD was a HORRIBLE sleeper (sounds like yours) so I thought it would be horrible.  We had one bad night and then next night she went down without crying.  I did not night wean (and still haven't), but the sleep training itself cut out most night feeds.  Now she only gets up 2 times rather than her previous 5-6.  Naps were more difficult but we did them at the same time.  Naps took 3 days to get down.
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  • By the way, I sounded just like you in that I didn't think CIO would work...
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  • I am currently reading the Ferber book. It's very helpful as he explains sleep cycles and associations, schedules, etc.  We try some of his methods and they do work. Ferber is not CIO, although it is commonly called that. There is a rhyme and reason to the schedule of sleep training. Like PP said there are many methods. I also have the Weissbluth book to read next. I have read Sears too. I feel educating myself by reading these books is the best way to learn about sleep and see how it suits my LO and us. 
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  • I'll be up front in that I don't do CIO, so I am biased. 

    However, just because you are ready for some kind of sleep help doesn't mean you have to go straight to CIO. There are other options and things to try first. I'd start by reading a bunch of sleep books on all sides of the spectrum and at least try a non-CIO solution first.

    Remember, too, that at 4 months many babies are having difficulty sleeping for a variety of reasons, especially BFed ones. In another month or so, you might see some changes anyway.  


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  • Our pediatrician recommended Ferber to us (but the old school version, not the updated). I am going to read that, as well as either No Cry Sleep Solution or Sleep Lady.

    My son really really wants to be asleep at bedtime, he just needs some help learning to soothe himself. Thats how I've decided that he's not quite ready. We are taking some baby steps to help him get there and I think that right now I am willing to do a more drawn out process to avoid as much crying. Yes, I am a wimp. But I am willing to re-evaluate.

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  • I have to start out by saying EVERYONE is different and I will tell you what worked for us. We started sleep training at 2 weeks old....yes 2 weeks. DD has been sleeping in her crib since her 2nd week and we basically did the exact same thing every night and still do. We will do a bath(every other night), dress her in pj's, turn the lights down to almost off, lower our voices, feed her bottle, swaddle and put her in her crib, even if she is awake. She started STTN around 12 weeks and still does. She started waking at her 4 month birthday at 3am so we increased her night bottle a bit and she is back to 12 hours the last couple nights. We plan on stop swaddling at 6months. My sister has 2 children and my mom had 3 children and started this early and worked for all! I am not much help with starting at 4 months but just so you know what we do and it works. Good Luck! :) We did not read any books but I have heard that they are helpful.
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  • I liked the Sleep Easy Solution too, but I like Happy Sleep Habits, Happy Child better.  The plan with that is extinction CIO, not intervals, so you don't go in at all (the checks are more for the parent, and for ds, going in only made it worse and worked him up more).  I was desperate for sleep with ds so did it right at 4 months and he became a fabulous sleeper from then, so I plan to do it at 4 months with dd as well, even though she's a decent sleeper, to help break the swaddle, get rid of the paci, and get her to go to sleep on her own rather than being rocked.
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  • To put it simply, read some books. Start with Dr. Ferber's. :)
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