For the first 8-10 weeks of her life, Gracie did not have a set schedule. She was never a good napper, or eater for that matter. She catnapped whenever she wanted, and snacked whenever she wanted. She would basically eat for ten minutes, sleep for fifteen and then be awake for thirty. And then wanted to do it all.over.again. It was to the point where all I was doing was nursing, and putting her to sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every second of those cuddles — but this mama still needed to eat!
A few weeks into my return to work, she wasn’t eating well at daycare (some days she would barely eat 9 ounces in a ten-hour period!) and her sleep was horrible. And then we hit the four-month sleep regression, and I wanted to pull my hair out. I was so tired, and she was so tired and we were all very, very cranky. It was time to call in the professionals.
Enter the Baby Sleep Site. These women saved my life!
People laughed when I told them we hired a sleep consultant, but I’m of the opinion that I will do what’s best for me and my family, so please don’t judge
I was really hesitant to try any kind of sleep training. I assumed all sleep training involved CIO (cry it out) and for some reason, I was really against that, especially at her age. The Sleep Site assured me that there were other methods of sleep training that we could try. The results might take a little longer, and we had to be committed to the process.
I filled out a several-pages-long questionnaire and within a couple days I received our personalized sleep schedule. It was 43 pages long. No joke. Now you might be thinking “who has time to read a 43 page document when you aren’t sleeping??” And I admit, I was super overwhelmed at first. But they broke it down into manageable, easy steps.
Step one was getting her on a solid eating schedule. Since she barely ate at daycare, one of the reasons she was up so much at night, was because she was starving! So we switched that up, and her eating schedule soon looked like this:
Four-ounce bottles, five times a day at 6am // 9am // 12noon // 3pm // 6pm
She would still nurse right before bed, and during the night, so we estimate that she was getting right around 25 ounces a day, and the recommended amount for an infant her age is 25-30 ounces.
And wouldn’t you know … she took to the new schedule like a champ. I credit her amazing teachers at daycare for helping us out with this, and getting her to eat at the right times. It became so much easier to plan our days around when she will need to eat, and usually 15 minutes before her next feed, she starts getting cranky because she is hungry. Babies learn fast!!
Next up, was her nap schedule. Ideally, she should be sleeping within two hours of waking from her last nap, but we find that since she hates napping, every 3 1/2 hours seems to be that sweet spot for her.
6am: Wake // 9:30: Nap // 1pm: Nap // 4pm: Nap
Also in an ideal world, she will nap for at least an hour, but again, she hates napping so most naps are between 30-40 minutes. When she wakes up, unless she is crying, we leave her in her crib until the one hour mark is up. I want her to have some “quiet time” and she usually happily coos and sings to herself. I also have to credit daycare with getting her to sleep in her crib. She slept in her rock’n’play at home because of her reflux, and we struggled with the transition to her crib. Daycare paved the way, and now she naps and sleeps in her crib just fine.
The third step was probably the most challenging and it involved setting a bedtime and creating a bedtime routine. And this is where we had to disagree with the consultant, because it just wasn’t working for our baby. They say she should be sleeping between 11-12 hours a night. Since she gets up at 6am, that means she should be going down between 6-7pm. We started putting her to sleep at 6pm, and she WAS tired, but she would then wake up at 10pm. And then midnight. And then 3am. You get the picture.
So instead I added another nap at 6:15. She would sleep her usual 30-40 minutes, and then be ready for bed by 8pm. This pushed her middle of the night wakings to midnight and 3/4am. Keith would get up with her at midnight, and I would take the next feeding. Obviously, our goal is to drop the midnight feeding, and then the 3am feeding altogether. Those are the steps that we are in the process of working on, and they are much harder. But consistency really is key, and I have faith that we will get there!
Another thing that we are working on under their guidance, is getting her to go to sleep on her own. We are able to put her down drowsy but still awake, and in a few minutes she drifts off to sleep on her own. The key is consistency — she knows what is coming after her bottle and bath routine. Eventually, we plan on using the same techniques to get her to self-soothe and put herself back to sleep when she wakes up in the middle of the night.
We still have a ways to go … things like a cold, teething and her reflux acting up again, sort of threw us off our normal bedtime routine, but since she knows what to expect, we hope that she will pick right back up where we left off.
The other great thing about the Sleep Site is that we were able to get email communication with our package. So if we are having issues with something that isn’t outlined in our sleep plan, I can email our consultant, and she tweaks the plan for us, and then helps get us back on track.
If you are a mom and are struggling with sleep issues, I would highly recommend checking out their website
and having a look around. They have lots of articles and even an e-book that you can download to help you get started. Some that really helped me in the beginning were “5 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night”
and “7 Common Napping Mistakes”.
These are FREE guides, so if you are unsure about paying for a service, you can always start there and see how it works for you.
And no, Gracie is not sleeping through the night yet but I assure you that as soon as she does, I will be shouting it from the rooftops!