The First Week of Sleep Training My Breastfeeding Baby

If you follow my blog, then you will know that I've had broken sleep since Freddie was born. Actually, I had broken sleep for the last month or two of my pregnancy too. So roughly one whole year of crappy broken sleep. In the beginning, it didn't bother me. I didn't mind the hourly or two hourly wakes up calls through the night, every night. I was just happy that I had my little baby boy. You could say that I was in that 'newborn baby stage', but as the months were coming by, I started to realise that he just hated his sleep. Whether it was during the day or the night. He was terrible. I was (still am) sleep deprived, and it's horrible, especially having two other kids to look after as well as everything else. As he's not bottle fed and always been breastfed, it was always me getting up during the night, and I can put my hands up, I was jealous of my partner being able to sleep. But since we moved him out of the snuzpod (which is amazing) to the big cot, I decided to tell my partner that he was to wake up during the night sometimes and pass Freddie to me if he was to wake up during the night.

Freddie could have slept in his snuzpod for at least another month but I felt it was time for us to be seperated from the bed. He was getting so wriggly, his feet kept of digging into my front or back, whichever way I was facing and I was hoping that moving to a bigger space would help him sleep better, a little atleast. I was wrong. The half hour, hourly and two hourly wakes still happened. I wrote on his seven month update that he had his first ever full night sleep from around 11pm until 6am. I had started doing a little bit of sleep training then but I failed. I gave in and decided to stop.

I felt like the evenings were getting worse. He was waking up every single evening around half an hour after I put him down to bed. I'd then pick him up and feed him all over again. This time it would take an extra hour, sometimes two to settle him back and only for him to wake up an hour or less again. I was feeling down and frustrated. I missed my evenings. I was behind on work. I needed a break. I wanted to feel like me again. I was exhausted. I felt like I was constantly feeding and settling him and just not getting a break at all during the day or night.

His day naps have improved - a lot. He used to nap a silly 10-20 minutes, 30 minutes if I was a lucky, a day. Maybe twice, not often. He was extremely grumpy and I knew it was because he was just having such little sleep. From around 8 or 9 months he started to have long naps that lasted anything from 1, 2 or 3 hours. Sometimes a little longer. It's done him and myself a world of good. He catches up on his sleep and in a better mood for the rest of the day and I manage to get some time to myself during the day to do whatever needs doing, whether it's housework, work or just chilling.

On Saturday the 13th, I decided it was time to start the sleep training, for the second time and not to give in. My partner was out working and I had planned to catch up on work that evening myself. Freddie had other ideas, I fed him around 6 times, even though there was no chance that he was hungry, he used me as a comfort. Every single time that I put him down in his cot, he woke up screaming. Every. Single. Time. When it was around 9.30pm I decided I had to stop picking him up. I was feeling exhausted and down from him waking up half an hour after I settle him, every single evening and I was fed up of it. My evenings were just gone and by the time he was in a deep sleep, I was exhausted. So I thought it was time to start, that evening. He went to sleep around an hour or two afterwards.

I have used the controlled crying method. I don't really like it but I am confident with it as it worked for my girls and did them no harm. I failed first time with Freddie and used excuses that he's different, it didn't work. But in reality, it was me that wasn't strong enough for it. This time I felt it was the right thing to do for us both. When he wakes up, my partner or I will go back and put his dummy back in, stroke his face and leave the room. We will repeat this every 10-15 minutes until he's asleep. Every single night it's taken less and less time for him to do it. But out of it, we've had three full night sleeps. I thought I would write down how each day has been for the first week;

Day One, Saturday the 13th
This evening was full of tears. I was stressed and wondered why do bad evenings always happen when my partner isn't home or it just seems that way atleast. I was fed up feeling low and not having a break, especially during the evenings. I was exhausted. Freddie had his usual bedtime routine, super, change, feed and sleep. However, tonight, he decided to wake up within half a second of me putting him down in his cot. This was repeated around 5-6 times as I kept picking him up. The minute he was picked up, he fell back to sleep again. At around 9.30pm I decided I wasn't going to pick him up and instead of me getting stressed sitting on top of the stairs, I came downstairs and mad

Day Two, Sunday the 14th
I did the normal routine and put some blackout curtains up in our bedroom hoping it would help. I fed him and put him down as normal. He woke up around 20 minutes later. My partner went up to put his dummy in and walked out the room. He returned every 10 minutes until he settled back to sleep. This took around 50 minutes. Freddie slept all night until around 6am.

Day Three, Monday the 15th
Normal bedtime routine. He woke up half an hour after being settled, again. He took around 40 minutes to settle back. He woke up around 11.30pm and was up every two hours.

Day Four, Tuesday the 16th
Normal bedtime routine. He woke up again, around half an hour after being settled. Took around half an hour to be settled. He woke up at roughly 2.30am, 4 am and started the day at 7am.

Day Five, Wednesday the 17th
Went to bed about 15 minutes later than normal as I went to my Slimming World group to get weighed quickly. Fed and settled him. He woke up within 10 minutes and took a while to settle back. We did the normal back and forth. He settled first time at 9pm. I went to bed 9.30pm, he was stirring had a few cries. Deep sleep then from 10.30pm until 7am the following morning.

Day Six, Thursday the 18th
Normal routine. Freddie woke up as normal around 20 minutes after being settled. I put the dummy in his mouth and he went to sleep within half an hour. He slept all night until 6am ish the following morning.

Day Seven, Friday the 19th
Normal bedtime routine. He fed and was just drowsy. He wouldn't go into a deep sleep. I put him down, he cried straight away. I picked him up and fed him on the other side. He still wouldn't settle. It was coming to an hour and I decided to get him drowsy/half asleep again, put him down and he did cry but I did the sleep traning by coming back and forth. He eventually settled back to sleep around half an hour later. He woke up once during the night around 2am. I put him back in his cot about an hour after. He then woke up 6.30am.

Day Eight, Saturday the 20th
He went to bed a little later as we arrived home late after him being in his Nain and Taid's house for the day. He did the same as Friday, very slow at going to sleep. I put him down in his cot half asleep, after a feed. He cried, eventually fell asleep around half an hour after. He woke up once during the night at around 3am but I think it was because Elliw scared him by shouting. He then slept until 7am and again until 8am.

I'm really pleased how it's been. On the evenings/nights where he took much longer to settle or woke up loads during the night it really worried me that it wasn't working but looking back at the week, he's had more good nights than bad nights which is making me stronger to carry on. I am planning on doing another week of this kind of post, which should be up next Sunday. It will be a little different as I have decided to combi feed.

Did you every 'sleep train' your babies?

1 comment

  1. I swear my husband had to practically pin me down and ply me with anxiety meds when we were doing the whole "cry it out" thing. I suck at it still and the twins are three/


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