If you’re an expecting or new mom and you plan on sleep training baby, you probably have a lot of questions. I am a girl who needs my sleep. Like REALLY needs it… so when I was pregnant with my first daughter, I decided to get a head start on these baby sleep training shenanigans while I still had the chance. I had a million questions…When do babies sleep through the night? What is cry it out sleep training? What is no cry baby sleep training ? Is there such thing as a newborn sleep schedule? I landed on what I found to be the best baby sleep training solution out there, a no cry baby sleep training method that is (almost completely) guaranteed to have your baby sleeping through the night by 12 weeks of age. Sounds too good to be true, right? I’m here to tell you it’s not. You can sleep train your baby to sleep through the night without “cry it out” and without any crazy baby sleep schedule, just sweet baby sleep. Does that sound like a fairy tale to you? Keep reading….
I gathered most of the information I’ve learned from the book Twelve Hours’ Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old, by Suzy Giordano. This lady is BRILLIANT and if I ever have the chance to meet her I will give her the biggest hug ever. Using the strategy outlined in the book, I was able to sleep train by baby to sleep twelve hours through the night by the time she was 11 weeks old using this no cry sleep training method. IT. WAS. AMAZING. Especially after the first couple of months with a newborn, which were incredible but so exhausting and stressful (new mamas- amirite?). This no cry sleep training method works for both breastfed and bottle-fed babies, but because my baby is bottle-fed, I have more experience in that arena. I have included most of the author’s suggestions for breastfed babies, but if you want more details I would recommend getting a copy of the book. You can find it here.
I didn’t follow the book’s sleep training program to a T so this post is a combination of tricks taught in the book and a couple variations I developed on my own. The book is far more detailed than this post, but I wanted to outline the basic steps we used that worked for us. My daughter has not woken up in the middle of the night since she was 11 weeks old (with the exception of the night we unexpectedly pulled the DockATot on her – more on that here). She cruised right through the four month sleep regression, and is still sleeping soundly through the night even though we’ve started the dreaded teething phase. That said, I can confidently say that the book was one of the best investments I’ve ever made and I would HIGHLY suggest grabbing a copy. Here is a breakdown of the steps we used to train my baby to sleep 12 hours through the night by 11 weeks old.
The book suggests breaking your day into two 12-hour chunks, depending on what time you’d like baby to go to sleep and wake up. My husband and I decided on 9:00am-9:00pm, but it can really be any time that works for you. My husband gets home from work late, and we wanted to make sure that he had at least a few hours at night to spend with baby during the week. Also, I tend to wake up earlier so that I have a few hours in the morning to get stuff done before baby wakes up, which is SO NICE. Think about your schedule and decide on a window that will work best for you.
This is important. The book recommends keeping a log of how much baby is eating in the weeks leading up to the start of the program to make sure they’re eating enough. If you’re breastfeeding, you want to make sure baby is gaining at the right pace before you begin (if I were breastfeeding, I may have checked with my pediatrician just to be totally sure that baby was fit for this program). I am going to use ounces in my examples because we are bottle feeding, but again, there are lots of awesome reviews from breastfeeding moms as well. When I talk about increasing and decreasing ounces, for breastfed babies the book suggests adding/subtracting time that baby is at breast
The goal is to get baby eating every four hours, four times a day in your 12 hour window. Because our schedule is 9:00am-9:00pm, my baby has a 6-8oz bottle at 9am, 1pm, 5pm, and 9pm every day. Now that we’ve established our routine, we can give or take 15 minutes or so. So for example, if your schedule is 6:30-6:30, baby would feed at 6:30am, 10:30am, 2:30pm and 6:30pm. By 8 weeks, most babies will be eating every 2.5-3 hours. Some will naturally stretch the time between feedings without any help. At 8 weeks, providing baby is gaining properly, the book suggests beginning to stretch the time between feedings. This can be done gradually. Don’t rush things, every baby will move at their own pace. Some babies master it by 9 weeks, others won’t get it down until 13+ weeks. Here is a basic synopsis of the steps outlined in the book:
Once you’re sure that baby is eating enough during the day, the book talks about weaning baby off of nighttime feedings. By the time my baby reached the goal of our 4 equally spaced daytime feedings, she only had one consistent nighttime feeding remaining so it was pretty easy to wean her off. The book recommends weaning one feeding at a time, and making sure that you have food ready to go for baby as to not give them time to get upset and become more awake. The goal is to feed them in a drowsy state. We gradually decreased the amount by about half an ounce/feeding every night or so. She started with about 3 oz/night feeding, and it only took about a week to totally wean her off. After the week had passed, she just stopped waking up and slept all the way through! The first night she slept through, we were in disbelief. It was absolutely magical.
The book also talks about naps, but for the purposes of this post I just wanted to cover the nighttime sleep method. The author recommends an hour in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon (between the second and third feedings), but it takes a bit of time to master the nap schedule. Again, the book is totally amazing, so if you want more details on any of these steps you can find it here.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below! Also check out our post on the BEST baby sleep tools for more on how to get your little bundle snoozing! Thank you so much for reading, and stay tuned for more mama adventures. Happy sleep training! <3 Lexi