If you’ve checked out my post of our initial attempts at sleep training, you know that it was a big fail. I am such a schedule person (I’d like to think that Type A is too strong a description. Ha.) that I really struggled with this. However, once William hit 5 months, things started to change for the better. I’ll cut to the chase. Here is his schedule.
6:00am- Wake up, bottle
7:45am- Breakfast (cereal and/or fruit)
8:00am- Nap (the lengths of his naps vary)
12:00pm- Lunch (veggie and/or fruit)
12:30- Nap (Again, lengths vary)
5:00- Supper (veggie and/or protein)
6:00 Bottle and then bed
When we talk to other parents (we have a TON of friends who have children roughly the same age) they are shocked that baby boy is sleeping through the night (and has been since 4 months). Wesley and I both believe it is due to this schedule that we stick to. I think children need a consistent schedule that doesn’t change too much throughout the day. William knows that after he eats his breakfast and lunch, he is going to take a nap. He knows after his bath, he will go to sleep for the night. Because of these cues, our days and nights run smoothly.
How Did We Get Here?
We followed William’s Cues
Initially we just followed his cues. We learned that his biggest sleep cue was that he’d yawn. Once. When you saw his yawn, we’d need to put him down quickly, or else meltdown mode began. Figure out what your baby’s sleep cues are and listen! We also learned that if William woke up from a nap crying, he needed to go back to sleep. We would give him 10-15 minutes before we’d go in there, and 99% of the time, he’d fall back to sleep for another 30-40 minutes. If he woke up babbling and happy, we knew his nap was over. (We did not do a cry it out method. We’d go in there, console him, give him his paci, and give him about 2-3 minutes of fussing before we’d repeat the process.)
Sleep, Eat, Play Cycle
Once we knew William’s cues, we tried to follow a sleep, eat, play cycle. We didn’t want William dependent on a bottle to go to sleep, so instead of feeding him before a nap, we feed him as soon as he wakes up. (He does get a bottle before bed time, however.) After he eats, he gets playtime until it is time for breakfast/lunch. Then he usually has about 5-10 minutes of more playtime before he is put down for another nap.
Baby Led vs Parent Led
We tried a parent led schedule (where the parent basically puts a baby on a schedule) at first, and it failed big time. It may have been due to the fact that William was too young to be put on a schedule. Who knows. I just know it wasn’t successful in our household. I do know a few families that have done well with a parent led schedule. Not saying it isn’t a good system; it just didn’t work for us.
We ended up on the baby led side of things. We followed William and his cues and he ended up putting himself on a schedule. It did take a while to get it consistent, but once it fell into place, it has been a game changer. AND it has lasted over 4 months and counting.
If you’re in the process of trying to get a schedule going, be patient. It is hard and frustrating at times, but eventually, either you will work a system out, or your baby will. 🙂 I do think that whatever you are trying, you need to be sure that you remain consistent. Consistency truly is key.