sleep training, etcetera, and so forth

Monday, February 1

First of all, thank you. It's been making me feel allllll sorts of normal to have received a surge of emails about sleep training since I mentioned it in my post yesterday. This has to be some sort of sick admission about myself, but hearing that you're out there, "exhausted" and "at your wit's end" too has been making me feel all the solidarity warm fuzzy feels. Sending you warm hugs and pounds of chocolate from here. YOU CAN DO IT!

To answer your questions, the method that we used with Isla is from the book, The Sleepeasy Solution - a quick, easy read that feels like it was written by a friend - and it's basically been my bible. I would recommend ordering it immediately. I sleep-trained Everett when he was 9 months-old no sweat, so you would think I would have already known what I was doing. But he was bottle fed for most of his first year and beyond, so I had no idea how to even begin with a breastfed baby, let alone a much older breastfed baby. And speaking about it now, a month and a half out from our sleep-training week, breastfed sleep-training really is a whole other ballgame.

For starters I should just like to say that it actually did go really really well. We saw immediate results on the second night, which was incredibly encouraging. But with Isla, it's also been a more extended period of learning than it was for Everett. Which I think is pretty normal for a breastfed child. For example, our experience with a bottle-fed child, was that he was sleeping through the night for 12 hours straight, no tears at all, on the FOURTH night. I mean, what IS that?? Straight up miracle. With a breast-fed baby, it took about two weeks for me to lay her down and leave the room with absolutely zero tears. Before the two week mark, she'd still cry for about 1-3 minutes immediately after laying her down. But now, it's SUCH smooth sailing, and the best feeling in the world to cuddle her and nurse her and then lay her down and know that she'll drift right off to sleep on her own. 

Everett's sleep-training week was when his beloved Wink first really came into the picture. After that week, Wink was his person. So we decided to do the same for Isla and introduced her to an equally fluffy BlaBla, whom we re-named Winnie. Because we were really feelin' the "W" theme haha. The results have been adorably similar, and it's so fun to peek into her room at night and see her softly breathing, sprawled all over her new friend.  

I would say the largest hurdle for us has been night-weaning. I found the logic behind the training method in the book to be completely sound and it certainly retrained Isla's habit of treating me like a human pacifier 5 times a night (hallelujah!). However, I remember going to a doctor's appointment a few weeks after Isla was born, and the doctor informed me that breastfed babies will always wake up in the middle of the night to feed, until they are completely weaned. Doesn't matter how old they are. That's just how it is, he said. It surprised me at the time, and I don't know if other breastfeeding moms can vouch for this, but I've definitely found this to be true. Most certainly BEFORE we sleep trained, but even still after. The difference though, between the non-sleep-trained waking and the sleep-trained waking is 100% life changing. Still breast-fed Isla, will now fall asleep around 7, and sleep without a peep until 4:30. She'll nurse. And then roll over and go right back to sleep until 7:30 or 8, and on a great day, even 9. And that works for me! At first, I tried to go 100% with the book and completely night wean her, but after many nights of her continuous waking at that hour, I couldn't NOT feed her you know? Going with her natural flow, has made our nights smooth and peaceful and I'm still experiencing a great amount of euphoria over my newly freed-up evening hours.

So anyway. That's been our experience! I'd highly recommend the method to anyone who feels they are in need. I feel like a next-level new person now. Like, Julie Andrews running through the hills next level. Go motherhood! Go sleep! Rah! Rah! Rah! 

10 comments:

Heather Kanipe said...

You can successfully night wean a breast fed baby and still breastfeed during the day. I'm still breastfeeding my daughter and she sleeps through without nursing and she is 22 months. I think after a year they can go all night without the nursing. It sounds like what you are doing now is a big improvement and giving you some much needed sleep!

Anonymous said...

I second that you can have a breastfed baby sleep through the night. All three of my girls were breastfed and slept 12 hours through the night at 9 months, 4 months, and somewhere between 9-12 months respectively. Do what feels right for you and your baby.

Chealsey walton said...

she is so precious! totally going through something similar with my baby! still breastfeeding going on 9 months and we currently co sleep, (she wakes up still 3 times a night to breastfeed) but its what works for us but not everyone, do what you feel is right momma!

Mara and Jae said...

I'll preface this by saying I think my first baby was just a freakishly stellar sleeper, but she was breastfed and slept 10-11 hours straight at night very early on. Like 2-3 months early. Like I said - freakish and not normal. But I loved it and was so grateful. My second baby is certainly not following in her footsteps ;) glad you got a new system down that works for you! Sleep (and having a life outside of mom) is so important and feels so good!

adeline said...

So glad to read other experiences, always! We sleep trained my breast fed son around 7 months, and he stopped any nighttime eating within a couple weeks, but we nursed til 18 months. So, just throwin that in. Your kids are gorgeous and amazing. Xx

Andrew said...

Regardless of whether or not breast-feeding or bottle-feeding perhaps even a mixture of the there area unit accessories and feeding bottles that are designed by Avent. lots of those product area unit interchangeable and that they are often custom-made to suit all manner necessities Shara.

Jakki said...

My son was breastfed and slept through the night for 12 hours at a time from 2 months on. My daughter, however, is 4 months now and sleeps just the same as yours, it seems. 7-8 pm to bed and wakes up around 4:30 or 5 to eat. Which to me, while I'd prefer not to wake up at 4:30 am (!), is sleeping pretty damn well through the night! Sounds like you've got it down :) I think it just depends on the baby. Happy sleeping!

case study essay writing service said...

"Motherhood is a great honor and privilege, yet it is also synonymous with servanthood. Every day women are called upon to selflessly meet the needs of their families. Whether they are awake at night nursing a baby, spending their time and money on less-than-grateful teenagers, or preparing meals, moms continuously put others before themselves."

- Charles Stanley

Charlotte - Fox Socks said...

She just looks more and more like her big brother with every picture you post <3

Happy belated birthday, too. Hope you had a good one xx

Anonymous said...

thank you so much! my daughter is 15 months and we were cosleeping half the night. I bought the book immediately after reading your post. first night was horrible, but yesterday, her third night with sleep training, she slept through the night!! it felt miraculous! thanks for sharing your experience! (reader from Lima, Peru)

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