To Sleep Train or Not?

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sleep trainingMy baby is 10.5 weeks old, which is crazy to think, considering I feel like I just had her.  She is a pretty lax baby, mainly crying when she is hungry or tired, and otherwise very happy. She makes it easy to bring her around as she is pretty adaptable. This is what happens with subsequent children because I feel as though I hit the jackpot with her!

With our first-born daughter, my husband and I successfully sleep-trained her by the time she was 12 weeks old. We were extremely rigid with her schedule in terms of feedings, playtime, and naps. We were also first-time parents and terrified of the lack of sleep that so many people experience as new parents. It did help that my first-born daughter liked to sleep and never really fought us on the scheduling. 

As our second daughter is approaching that 12-week mark, my husband has been adamant about sleep training. But for me, I am a little apprehensive about rushing to sleep train. Why, might you ask, considering it worked for our firstborn? 

For one thing, she is already a good napper and night-time sleeper. We basically put her down in the crib, and she falls asleep on her own, whether for naptime or bedtime.  Does she wake up at night? Yes, she does, but she generally will fall right back asleep on her own once she is fed. 

She also only wakes up 1-2 times max per night. As the one feeding her, I ask myself why interfere with this schedule when it seems to me that she will one day likely decide on her own that she no longer needs that night-time feeding, especially because I can already tell she loves her sleep. 

For my first-born, it was also a bit easier to sleep train since I was feeding her breastmilk during our sleep training, but predominantly via a bottle, and hence it was easier to measure how much she was taking in so we could get her to increase her milk intake during the day. 

With my second born, I am predominately breastfeeding her, and therefore, it makes it much harder to tell how much she is taking per feed. Trying to increase her input is not an easy task. She is doing great on a mostly 3-hour feeding schedule, but every time I have tried to extend that feeding time to 3.5 or 4 hours, she wakes up more at night, which means she is not getting enough calories during the day. She is completely unhappy and miserable during those days, so I end up feeding her earlier than scheduled. That means she is not at the point to intake more and, for me, stretch out her feedings. 

When we first sleep-trained our daughter, we followed the method outlined in 12 Hours in 12 Weeks by Suzy Giordano, which basically compartmentalizes four feedings throughout the day, every 4 hours. She does explain in the book that you can follow this method with breastfeeding, but she suggests using a bottle when training to know how much they are taking in. But at this point, I am not willing to do that. 

I started to look into other sleep training methods and came across the Instagram of Taking Cara Babies, which also has a method of getting babies to have healthy sleep habits. That is the ultimate end outcome, but oftentimes babies end up sleeping through the night even if that is not necessarily the ultimate goal. I like her approach since it is not as rigid as the first, and I find it more breastfeeding-friendly.  I have yet to complete her course, but for the most part, we seem to be doing a lot of the things she mentions in her course, so I am confident our baby will eventually sleep through the night without the strict, rigid approach we followed the first time. 

Did you sleep train your little one(s)?  If so, what approach did you use that worked?  If not, when did they end up sleeping through the night?  

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Bena is a a wife and mom to a little girl born in July 2017 and another little girl born in April 2021. Her and her husband, both born and raised in Long Island, randomly ended up living in New Rochelle, Westchester when they fell in love with the downtown area, which had the best of two worlds, walking distance to parks, coffee shops, great restaurants and a short drive away from great hikes and nature. Since then they have moved a hop, skip and away to Pelham, which is an adorable little town. Mostly, Bena is just trying to figure out how to do this mom thing, while also working a full-time job. After a few years of the juggling act, she feels a little more confident, but everyday there are new challenges, especially when #2 arrived. When she is not momming, she is usually lawyering, working out, cooking, running errands or somewhere out exploring nature and the world (pre-covid, of course)!

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