Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How I Got Gracie to Sleep Through the Night

She always looks like she's trying to escape when she does this...

As I was talking to Jana the other day about little Joshua, I was talking to her about getting babies to sleep through the night.

We are fortunate that we have Gracie sleep/crib trained.

She goes down at 8:30-9pm every night. Sometimes earlier depending on her day. She sleeps until 7-8-9 in the morning.

It wasn't always like that. 

From the moment Gracie was born, she slept with us or RIGHT next to us. I am, and forever will be, terrified of SIDS. I knew I wouldn't suffocate Gracie by sleeping with her, I was too paranoid about it and never really slept for me to not realize that my baby was right by me. But it was comforting to look over, see her breathing, and close my eyes again. Very relaxing to me.

I had planned to crib train her at three months (as she started rolling). But Daniel went to BMT when she was 2 1/2 months, and I am not even ashamed to say that she slept in Daniel's spot most nights. I made sure to not cuddle her though at night. So at least, maybe, she felt like she was sleeping on her own.
Sleeping with mama. 

Then when we moved here, I was by myself with Gracie (with no friggin' furniture) and she obviously slept with me.

So from birth till about...ehhh 5 months.

Then we had a week of hell sleep training once Daniel moved home off the barracks. So technically she was sleep trained at 5 months. Didn't last long.

Then we went to Utah for Christmas. Where she slept with us.

When we got home, she would NOT SLEEP alone. NOT. NOT. NOT.

It was to the point where we were exhausted. Gracie was super cranky because she wasn't sleeping well. We were cranky because we weren't sleeping well. It was a bad case all around.

Then I realized, this tiny human has the power over us. No bueno. The madness had to stop.

At 6-7 months, we went through some crazy sleep training to figure out what would train her again. Because what worked before, did NOT work now.  Luckily, after about a week of utter madness, she was sleep trained.

Her caterpillar, her froggy and her bunny are integral parts of falling asleep.

Here is what we did and hopefully it works for some of you!!

  • I let her play in the crib from time to time. That way she got used to it and it wasn't unfamiliar or place that scared her. 
  • I keep her on a schedule of naps and eating during the day. It really really helps babies to be adjusted to a certain schedule. That way when it's eating/nap/sleep time, they know it and are more prepared for it.
  • We upped what she was eating before bed. She always woke up shortly after we put her down, starving. So we upped her intake a LITTLE, and mixed it with oatmeal or barley. (Oatmeal or Barley works better than Rice cereal which can constipate.) That way it was more likely to stay in her tummy longer so she doesn't wake up feeling like we never fed her before in her life.
  • We created a routine for her, and we STICK TO IT. No matter how late. If we don't stick to it, she doesn't sleep through the night. So we do our best to stick to it.
  • I rub her down with lotion every night and give her a little baby massage to relax her.
  • Daniel and I have our roles during her night time routine that only we do. Daniel feeds her dinner, I bathe her, I get her ready for bed & Daniel puts her down. That way Gracie knows what to expect and it's all familiar to her.
  • Daniel does NOT rock her to sleep, he doesn't PUT her to sleep. That's a REALLY bad habit to get in to. Because she expects it and comes to need it to sleep. We broke that habit as soon as we got back from Christmas. I don't do it for naps either, down with a binky or a bottle. (We are working on weaning her from a bottle/binky to go to sleep.) 

    We just calm her down so she's accepting of going to sleep. When we leave her room, she's just in the crib with her bottle. Sometimes she will just talk to herself until she goes to sleep. Sometimes she will fall right asleep. Sometimes she will get ticked off and we have to go in every 5 mins to calm her down. (That is the extent of my Cry it Out method. I don't have the heart to do it any longer than that...) When it's quiet for a few minutes, we go check on her. We fix her if she fell asleep weird and take her stuffies out of her crib.
  • Depending on when Daniel and I go to bed, if it's been 2 or 3 hours since Grace has gone down, we will go in and sleep feed her anywhere from 2-4 ounces. That's only if she didn't seem or act full when we put her down or if she is already starting to wake up hungry. (We try REALLY hard to not over feed her.) Without fail, if we sleep feed her, she will sleep all night. It also gives me a chance to change her diaper, so she doesn't wake up soaking.
  • We also found out that her crib wasn't soft enough for her. So we flipped that comforter you get with the crib set, so it was just the blanket part and nothing frilly, and tucked it into her bed. She immediately started sleeping better. So try new things, you never know, it could work. 

Since we started doing these things, she sleeps 97% of the time on her own and through the night. 

The only exceptions are if she's super gassy, teething, or just sick. Then she gets all the cuddles she wants. 

I think that's pretty good. :) 

Ever since we took her mesh bumpers off her crib, she usually has an appendage sticking out of the bars when I go check on her. 

Realize that some of this won't work for you and your baby. ALL babies are different and it took some effort to figure out what did and didn't work for Gracie. Keep trying different things until you find something that works!

Hope this helps some of you!


  1. I'm so glad you posted this! :) Joshua is finally starting to make some progress. He used to nurse to sleep (bad habit to get into!) and he will now fall asleep in the crib if you hold his hand and sing to him. Next step is to get him to fall asleep without holding my hand. We're getting there. :)

  2. I so understand! My son didn't go to bed on his own until he was almost two! We wound spend hours rocking him to get him to sleep - it was ridiculous. It wasn't until I was home by myself with both kids while my husband was out of town when something just snapped and I said enough is enough. It took three days and now he goes to bed most nights at bedtime. Although he does usually wake up and some point during the night and come to sleep with us...one step at a time right? :-)

  3. I am a firm believer in doing what works for your baby and your family. We practiced attachment parenting and broke most of the "traditional" rules. We coslept, nursed on demand, nursed to sleep, self weaned. Miles still gets in to bed with us most mornings around 4 am. To an outsider our life looks like it has no schedule or routine. But this works for our family. Allen and I both sleep well even with Miles in the bed. If he has had a rough day he usually starts the night in our bed. A schedule just doesn't work with our on the go, theatre student lifestyle. But raising him this way has it's perks. He can sleep most any wear, including the floor of a Rehearsal room, he is ok if dinner is at five or nine, and is knows how to keep him self entertained in a costume shop. It's a little crazy and not always ideal, but it's our life and it works for us.

  4. I feel like I really need to bookmark this for a few years when I have kids. I might not have them yet, but I love learning about them! Also, I wouldn't mind a lotion massage every night. Seems like Gracie's got it pretty good :-)

  5. Love your blog! Maybe we could follow each other on bloglovin or GFC? Please leave me a comment or follow me and I will follow you =)



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  6. I love this post....I read it at work on my cell phone, then when I got home on my iPad...and NOW here I am reading it again! She just looks so snuggly in there!!! Awwwww!!!!


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