When I was pregnant with Bria, I always said that if it got to a point where she became a horrible sleeper I would sleep train her. There was no question in my mind that I felt it would be a good idea for both her and I to use sleep training to teach her to self-soothe and to allow her to get the rest she deserves and needs to grow.
Well fast forward to baby Bria out of the womb. She was a great sleeper. Granted, it took her a while to sleep through the night, but by three months old she was sleeping in her crib and sleeping 12 hours a night. I tucked the whole sleep training idea in the back of my mind and enjoyed my uninterrupted sleep.
We hit four months old and Bria was still sleeping through night. We hit five months old and I became naively cocky that we had skipped the whole “four month sleep regression thing,” but then at five and a half months old Bria stopped sleeping through the night. It started with her getting up earlier, then waking up once to have her soother put back in, then having a harder and harder time falling and staying asleep.
By the time Bria was six months old, we had created a sleeping monster. Our nights would go like this:
- We started with our nighttime routine, which was a bath with the lights dimmed, diaper change, into a ZipadeeZip, bottle and then rocked to sleep with a soother.
- Bria would wake up anywhere from 5-10 times before 10 PM to have her soother put back in or to be rocked back to sleep. We never let her cry.
- She would wake up 2-3 times a night to feed.
- She would be up for the day somewhere between 5:00AM – 6:00 AM.
For daytime naps, there was no set schedule. Bria would nap for 30-45 minute intervals every few hours in the day. She would not nap in her crib and would sometimes take naps in the stroller or car.
Fast forward to a month ago, I’m scrolling through posts in a moms group I’m in on Facebook when someone posted a link to a blog post that former Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky had written on WeeSleep. I’ll be honest. I rolled my eyes. Why would I take advice from someone whose claim to fame was having a failed relationship on television? Yet in sheer desperation I clicked it anyways and you know what? It changed everything.
See, although pregnant Tracey had been a huge advocate for sleep training, new momma Tracey, who got anxiety whenever her baby cried, decided she couldn’t sleep train. I was the mom that rushed in anytime her baby started to whine or whimper. My brain immediately went to: Is she hurt? Is she hungry? Is she scared? Does she have a dirty diaper?
After reading about how nervous Ali was and how neither she, nor her baby Molly, were traumatized by their WeeSleep experience, I decided to dive right in and contact WeeSleep. I started out with a 1 hour call with our local sleep consultant. (You can totally opt for a free 15 minute consultation but we were so at our wit’s end we just needed to dive right in!).
There are different packages you can get with WeeSleep depending on how much coaching you need. We decided we were fine to do the majority of the training without a consultant physically with us, so opted for the Rescue Me Virtual Package, which included a sleep plan tailored to your baby and family’s needs, the initial call, three 15 minute calls, 14 days of email support and the WeeSleep handbook.
Before our initial call, we had to track Bria’s schedule for a few days and fill out a questionnaire so our WeeSleep consultant would have an idea of what she was working with and how to best tailor a sleep schedule to Bria’s needs. On our call, I was definitely nervous, but our consultant was phenomenal. She was calm, patient and explained everything very well. After our call, we received our customized plan and 10 day tracker. Each day I would email the tracker to my WeeSleep consultant to review and then she would make adjustments or suggestions as we went on.
The first night I knew I could not do it. I was terrified that we would be up the entire night with a screaming baby. Now, WeeSleep’s method isn’t that you leave your baby in their room to scream until they go back to sleep. You are allowed various check-ins at different times if your baby doesn’t stop crying and in fact, for the first eight days we stayed in the room with Bria until she fell asleep at night.
For my nerves, we decided to start on a Friday night and Mark did the entire first night. I went out for dinner so I was not home when Bria experienced her first night with no soother, no rocking, and no bottle to lull her to dreamland. When it was time for bed, Mark put Bria into the crib in a sleep sack, with her snuggly buddy (a small stuffed toy that is allowed in the crib with them for sleep time), said the phrase we both agreed on (“Goodnight Bria, sweet dreams”) and sat in a chair beside Bria’s crib. Mark said Bria cried off and on until she fell asleep after forty minutes. During this time, if crying got very bad Mark would say the reassuring phrase to Bria and put his hand on her tummy.
That night Bria only woke up crying once for twenty minutes and then slept until 6:30 AM the next day. We were amazed. When Bria woke up that morning she was in an amazing mood! I was certain she would be starving, but I was able to change her diaper and bring her downstairs and she was completely fine to wait for her morning bottle.
We also had an issue with Bria being a “snacker.” She would drink a couple ounces here and there during the day and we could never predict when she would eat a full bottle. With WeeSleep not only did we learn how to get Bria to sleep longer and better, we were able to improve her eating habits so she was taking in more milk during the day and also incorporating the right amount of solids.
We were cautioned that naps take longer to develop and that it could be up to four weeks before Bria was fully able to teach herself how to have proper naps. Did you know WeeSleep considers a full nap anything longer than one hour and aims for 1.5 hours +? When I heard this, I thought, if Bria could nap even an hour that would be a miracle since she was only napping thirty minutes at a time! Naps did take longer for us, and this is where the phone and email support come in really handy. About a week into the plan, we had to modify the nap routine and nap times in order to assist Bria in grasping this concept. The adjustments helped Bria instantly. As I write this, we are now over two weeks into our new WeeSleep life and Bria has two daily naps, ranging from 1.5-3 hours each!
Things continue to improve daily. Bria sleeps through the night about 12-13 hours each night without waking up crying. She wakes up in the morning happy, cooing and smiling and ready to take on the day. She has the energy to play and learn and is no longer chugging along with a half empty tank because she is not getting the proper naps and sleeps she needs to grow and thrive. We have a changed baby and a changed family!
This couldn’t have come at a better time for us. Mark and I were both living like zombies and with Bria almost seven months old, I was craving some structure and normalcy in my life again (and so was she!). Now, I can predict when Bria will nap and for how long and when she will sleep. Mark and I enjoy dinner together now once Bria is asleep because we know that once we close the door and say goodnight we will not be back in her room until morning. I have had the free time to take on more projects and also start working out again! I get dedicated “me” time and Bria gets the time she needs to rest and grow so the time we do spend together is one where we are both refreshed and fully able to enjoy it.
I am forever grateful the team at WeeSleep. Their gentle approach when it comes to sleep really made all the difference in how positive this experience was for our whole family. My only regret in this whole process is that I didn’t start sooner! I can’t believe what a difference it has made to my personally. Being able to plan things out, and also being able to look forward to a solid two hour break at nap time to work on blog posts, or exercise, or even clean the house is a welcome blessing. Curious? Consultations are free and available for tired mamas and papas all over the globe! Book yours here.