Thursday, March 3, 2016

Baby Sleep Alternatives To Crying It Out




When your little one doesn't sleep through the night, it can be rough. It's rough on your physical and emotional well being, and rough on your marriage. Trust me, I know.

Our older daughter slept peacefully through the night from about the time she was six months old. She woke pretty frequently the first two months of her life, as is to be expected, but from month two to month six she woke once or twice a night, easily going back to sleep when she was fed.

Our younger daughter hasn't slept well since the day she was born. She is almost two and just barely sleeping through the night, 4-5 nights a week. It has been a long, sleepless journey with her, one that made me shed tears more than once because I was SO. TIRED.

It has progressively gotten better over the last two years as we have tried new things and discovered tricks that worked for us. One thing we haven't ever done is cry it out. While I know some parents swear by it, it wasn't right for our family, so we have searched and tried many different gentle parenting techniques to get us to where we are now. These are the things that have worked for us.



Clothing and blankets. What is your little one sleeping in? I have often found that my daughter was waking up because she was too hot or too cold, so finding the appropriate amount of clothing is paramount. I have all sorts of different nighties on hand for her depending on what the temperature is like. I prefer footie pajamas to help keep the toes warm, so I have heavy fleece footie pajamas and light cotton ones for different nights. For very cold nights, I also use a space heater in our nursery since we try and keep the bed free from all items after we stop swaddling.

My friend Marissa, from Rae Gun Ramblings, bought her little one a magic sleep suit when he was struggling to sleep through the night and it made a world of difference for them. For children that are a little older, consider buying a weighted blanket to help them feel safe and secure. I wouldn't use one with an infant however.



Routine. One of the biggest things that helped my daughter was a daily routine. We would start about 45 minutes before I wanted her to go to sleep and do the same thing every night. As much as I didn't want to add a bath to our nightly routine, a bath with lavender baby wash really helped my daughter wind down and know it was time for bed. She would take a bath, then I would lotion her with nighttime lotion. Then we would get dressed and I would sit in my rocking chair with her and her blanket. We would read a story, she would nurse and then I would sing to her as I rocked her a little longer. Doing the same thing every night helped her know it was time for bed.



Find good sleep associations. Another one of the things that has really helped us is to have things that our daughter associates with going to bed. We played the same lullaby CD for our girls every night when they lay down. It was another signal that it was time for bed. Now that she is a little older, she knows that she will lay down with the same blanket and same stuffed animal every night too.



Establish a sleep cycle. Establish a nap/sleep cycle. For my babies, I usually put them down for their first nap about two hours after they wake. Then about three hours after they wake up from the first nap they go down for the second. If you notice your toddler isn't sleep as well at night, try cutting out a nap to get better night sleeping.



Get your baby used to their crib. Make sure your baby naps where you want them to sleep at night. Adults often have this need too. Do you sleep on the same side of the bed, with the same pillow? Why? Because it's familiar and feels comfortable. The same things holds true for babies.



Sleep environment. We discovered when my daughter was about eight months old that she was often waking up to small noises from around the house. We chose a lullaby CD to counteract this, but a white noise machine accomplishes the same thing. Another good investment we made was black-out curtains. Both of our kids slept longer and better when we hung up black-out curtains.



Move up bedtime. There is nothing harder than trying to get a little one who is over-tired to settle down. They feel fussy and irritable. Try moving bedtime up by a half and hour and see if it helps.


Needs. Make sure their needs are taken care of before you try and wind them down or you are just setting yourself up for failure. A clean diaper, a full tummy, and warm pajamas are usually your best bet to setting yourself up for success.


Tummy problems. Nothing makes a baby fussier than tummy troubles. I love to use Gerber Soothe Products, especially their colic drops, for my nurser. Research indicates that the type of bacteria in the infant’s intestine may determine whether a child is colicky. This suggests a role for probiotics to help support a balance of good bacteria in the digestive tract of colicky infants. In particular, the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri has been clinically shown in multiple studies to reduce crying time in colicky infants.



GERBER® Soothe products (drops and powder formula) contain L. reuteri, a probiotic that is safe for infants and naturally found in breast milk. Gerber® has different experts available (Registered Dietitians, Certified Lactation Consultant and Certified Baby Sleep Consultant) to answer any questions you may have about your little ones. You can call 1-800-203-4565 to get a hold of them.

It is Normal For Babies to Wake. One of the biggest things I think that has helped me with an infant that struggles to sleep is to remember that when she cries, she is communicating, and that it is completely normal for them to wake and want their mom. I saw a post on Facebook once that said 100% of babies have only slept inside of a woman. 100% of babies thing sleeping outside of a woman is scary and 100% of babies need nightly reassurance it isn't scary as they think it is. I try to keep this in mind when my little ones wake up at night.

What are you tips for help babies sleep?
post signature

30 comments:

Masshole Mommy said...

My husband wanted to try the Ferber method and it didn't take me long to give in. I couldn't let them just lay there and cry.

Kait said...

I don't have children, but my friend swears by that sleep suit. In fact, it's the only thing that has worked for her daughter. I'm not sure I could do the cry it out method (it sounds awful for everyone involved!) but I can't really say because I've never been in your position. I love the tips in your post!

ana de jesus said...

Aw bless, the cry it out method is not for everyone and I certainly could not do it myself that is for sure! I believe gentler methods like yours that implement a routine is better!

michele said...

I give the sleep suit for gifts at all the baby showers I go to! It is definitely a game changer!!!

Tanya @ Moms Small Victories said...

Oh it's so tough when the babies don't sleep well. My three totally used me like a pacifier when I was nursing and I worked full time back then so I totally let them so I could nap in between feedings. When I eventually had to stop the formula would keep them fuller and as they got older, I'd stuff their bellies with oatmeal before bed. My 3 hated being swaddled, they'd fight their little arms till they got free. Great tips though, I totally have wished for a magic wand like Harry's!

Emily Glover said...

These are great tips! Our first baby is due in May so I know I'll be remembering these tips.

Amber N said...

We used to just sleep with the baby...probably not the best thing to do, but these tips are very helpful.

Camila Rojas said...

These are all awesome tips! I actually did lots of these but some I'm sure putting them in practice when I have my second child! Thanks for these tips!

Fatima Lora said...

I did a lot of these tips with my first-born, minus the letting him get used to his crib. We found it was easier to have him sleep with us. And he's still there today. With our second child, we've made it a point to always put him back into his crib and follow a routine before bed. Babies (and kids in general) love consistency. It helps with adapting to life.

jillconyers said...

First, adorable photos! I never. Not even once. Let my kids cry it out. You can probably imagine how many people disagreed with that.

Megan McCoig said...

The photos are absolutely beautiful! I believe you should let babies cry and care for them. Great tips :) X

Colette Wright said...

I hear ya on this one! My son was colicky from the beginning until about 2 years old! THis would have come in handy! I do actually think we tried those drops but it turned out he had silent reflux we discovered in an endoscopy!

blythe32 said...

So many great ideas for moms and dad to use when their little one doesn't sleep well. I remember my neice had such bad acid reflux that made lying flat so difficult.

Heather said...

All of my kids had tummy troubles early on which caused some difficulty sleeping. I ended up co-sleeping because I was so tired all the time :-) Perhaps these drops would have helped!

Tough Cookie Mommy said...

We also adhered to a strict routine when both of our boys were infants. I believe that it made a big difference in getting them to sleep all night and allowed us to bond with them in a healthy way.

Ashleigh Walls said...

My oldest needed a weighted blanket and I wish I had known about the magic suit! That would have been perfect.

Kimberly Stroh said...

I never did the cry it out method! I hated that. It paid off big time when he became a toddler.

Emily Thompson said...

love the cute baby photos! I'm not a cry it out mom either... Except not that they are 5 and 7 HAHA!!

Hil'Lesha O'Nan said...

I've actually had a doctor recommend the crying out method since that's something he did with his own children, but I have never been personally keen on that idea. That' why I love these alternatives!

Nikka Shae said...

Awe, cute baby photos!! I remember those sleepless nights. From my baby teething, hungry, and tummy aches, and up all night. Great memories for taking care of my sweet children.

Claire C. said...

Great tips! I hate crying it out - so many other options!

Michelle said...

My 4 kiddos all slept through the night by 3 months or earlier and we were sleep trainers from about 2 weeks on. We rarely had horrible cry it out episodes and just tried to stick with a schedule. Those infant days are hard no matter what method you are/aren't using.

Kelly said...

I never could let them cry it out - I know when I'm upset and crying, I want something to make me feel loved and secure, why wouldn't my baby want the same? Thanks for all these great tips - I hadn't heard of those Gerber products.

Michelle De La Cerda said...

When my daughter was about 12-18 months she had a problem going to bed all the sudden. We ended up hanging out in her room and crib to make it a desired place to go. It ended up working out really well.

foody schmoody said...

Choosing whether or not to let them cry it out is such a personal decision. I had one great sleeper and one horrible sleeper. Two different experiences. I wish those drops were around back then!

Jillian@FoodFolksandFun said...

These are some great tips. I could never let my babies just "cry it out".

Nicole Burkholder said...

These are great tips! Had a hard time looking for good sleep associations back then.

Allison Miller said...

I love these ideas! Sleep is just about the hardest part when it comes to my babies. I never know what to do. Great ideas here!

Paula said...

My tips, many match up to what you've outlined:
- black out curtains
- we swaddled out son at night, and later tucked him in tight because he liked that snuggly feeling
- modified cry it out - google it if you're curious, it definitely worked for us
- stick with a routine
- tag team it with your partner if you can - you do the latest feeding, and he does one in the middle of the night.

Stephanie said...

These are great tips. As a mom of 3, I know the exhaustion you speak of. When you are at your wits end crying because your child won't sleep and you are willing to try just about anything its reassuring to know that other moms have had success with methods other than CIO. It makes me feel like I can keep going too since I'm not in it alone.

 
Blogging tips