My son first slept through the night shortly before turning 6 months old in early May, a whole month and a half earlier than his older sister did and with a lot less crying, and he has been regularly sleeping through the night since.
By sleeping through the night, I mean that he sleeps at least 11 hours or so straight, from bedtime to wake up, with no nighttime visits from my husband and me. Yes, life is a whole lot better with a good night’s sleep, and now I finally have the energy to reflect on how we made this happen.
So how did we get our baby to sleep through the night so much earlier this time around? Today’s hint is the method we used – an “Express Sleep Plan” from The Baby Sleep Site – as well as my favorite tip from the plan.
What’s an Express Sleep Plan, you may be wondering? It’s a new offering from The Baby Sleep Site that is essentially a budget-friendly how-to customized for your family’s lifestyle and your child’s sleep problem.
To get a customized plan, you fill out a brief survey about the sleep situation you’re facing (nighttime wake-ups and feedings every three-hours, in my case), and then a plan is instantly generated for you to download. The plan can be for any sleep problem you’re dealing with, including those related to older children, and in contrast to The Baby Sleep Site’s more expensive sleep consulting options, the Express Sleep Plan is just $49 (and just $39 through 5/31). The Baby Sleep Site is giving away an Express Sleep Plan to three lucky Hint Mama readers – details below.
There are several reasons I found the Express Sleep Plan so helpful. It literally provided me with a day-by-day, step-by-step plan for sleep training my son. So, once I started following the plan in March, I knew roughly how many days to spend on each step of the process as well as what to focus on first (namely schedule changes, sleep associations and bedtime) and last (think extending the nighttime feeding gaps).
It also included a sample schedule I could easily modify for my son, as well as tons of practical tips that I believe really made a difference in encouraging my son to sleep without our help, such as tips to do a dream feed, put my son in his crib before bedtime drowsy but awake, and have my son play in his nursery and crib during the day to help him “feel content in his sleep space.”
To be sure, every child is different, but the Express Sleep Plan recognizes that, offering advice on how a child’s temperament can impact sleep coaching and on how to handle setbacks.
Finally, here’s my favorite tip from my plan: to wait five minutes before giving my son attention during a night waking, a variation of the “pause” idea common in France, according to the book Bringing Up Bebe.
As my Express Sleep Plan points out: “It is normal for babies and toddlers to wake and fuss/cry a little between sleep cycles. As [your son] gets better at sleeping and adjust his expectations, it might just take you waiting a few (5 to 10) minutes during night wakings, and he will start to get faster at getting through them without your ‘help.’” After we began following this advice, my son was sleeping through the night like a champ.
What’s your top tip for getting baby to sleep through the night? Share your thoughts, and enter to win one of three Express Sleep Plans, below.
The Baby Sleep Site provided me with an “Express Sleep Plan” to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.