Sleep Training

Sleep Training

DSC_3746 Timothy will be 6 months at the end of this month, I cannot believe it! As a fitness pro, I know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. Even moderation sleep deprivation elevates the hormone ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and can lead to weight gain. Before Timothy was born, I was the kind of person who easily slept 8 hours a night. I cherished my beauty rest, my husband often made fun of me for turning out the lights by 9 or 930pm. Well my friends, my days of 8 hours straight shut eye are long gone. I can’t remember the last time I had a solid night’s sleep. 

I hear other new mom’s speak about their baby’s going down at 7pm and sleeping till 7am, it makes me want to cry. My little guy takes after my husband, he’s definitely a night owl. I will finally get him to conk out around 830pm or 9pm to have him wake again at 11pm or 12 and again at 2am. I get so tired, I often bring him in to bed with me to nurse so I can finally get us both back to sleep. My pediatrician asked me at our last visit if Timothy was sleeping through the night and said at his age (then 4 months) he should be able to. 

Ugh, what am I to do? My part time Columbian nanny, Gloria, told me I have a marshmallow heart. I’m too soft, I just can’t bear the thought of him crying it out. I hear horror stories of friends who let their infants cry up to 2 hours straight before they finally fall asleep. Yet, they tell me in the long run everyone is happier and mom, dad and baby all get a better night’s sleep. It takes 3 to 5 days of letting them cry and then they finally understand how to self soothe is the theory.

I also hear of family’s who let their kids co-sleep with them and feel safe and warm and comforted and eventually they want to be in their own beds. Problem is, when is that eventually? I often have very early morning clients and when I haven’t had a wink of sleep all night, it’s hard to do yoga all day long. I also am starting to feel the long term effects on my mood. Lack of sleep definitely can lead to depression!

I haven’t discovered the answer yet; and I am writing this blog now at 834pm hoping Timothy may just make it at least 5 or 6 hours tonight before waking up and crying. I could invest in a great set of ear plugs, or I can just keep snuggling him and deal with the sleep deprivation for a few more months. As my mom says, “The days are long, but the years are short.” I know soon I will be longing for the days when my little boy wanted to sleep with his mommy. 

Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A mother of a toddler and twins on the way, she sure keeps herself busy!

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13 thoughts on “Sleep Training”

  • Hang in there. My son (now 10 years old) was exactly the same way. I advise you to filter out the “my baby slept through the night at 3 weeks old” talk completely. Some of it is memory loss talking, and some of it is just a factor of “we’re all different”. Even somewhat the doctor telling you that he should be sleeping through the night. Unless you sense some other health issue, he is just taking his own time on it. I will say that around 4 months old I was headed back to work part-time and I needed some solid sleep (I was desperate for even 5 hours) and we did resort to the cry-it-out method and while the first night or two were rough, it worked for the most part. Do you use the sleep sacks or velcro swaddlers? My son really needed that snuggled up feeling to sleep on his own.

    Best of Luck! 😀

  • I didn’t like the “cry-it-out” method. It just didn’t feel right to me. I believe there are different levels to the method, though. I think it starts out at 5 minutes (tops) or something like that, and then it goes up to around 15 minutes or so. That’s how we did it (in stages). Google Dr. Spears. Just do what feels right to you, and don’t let anyone else make you feel like you’re doing something wrong!

  • Hang in there Kristin! You are so not alone- as a previous poster said, phase out the “my baby has been sleeping through the night since 3 weeks”! Trust me, sleeping issues are the norm, your baby just wants to be close to you!

    There are lots of great books out there on sleep training if you don’t want to do the cry it out method- I never could either, it broke my heart. I really liked the Sleep Lady solution which was recommended by my son’s MD. My good friends swore by a couple of other books:
    The No Cry Sleep Solution
    The Sleep Easy Solution
    and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
    Good Luck!

  • Full disclosure: I am a first-time mom of a 14-month old boy so I speak only from this experience; but you and your son can both get 8 hours of sleep (or more)! He CAN sleep through the night. That’s all you need to remember. He is capable of doing it. Cry-it-out, co-sleeping, whatever…there is no right or wrong way. I don’t think there is even a better or ‘best” way because every child and parent has different needs. What worked for us was simply putting our son to bed EARLIER – yes, if you want your child to sleep for longer stretches and wake up LATER, put him to bed EARLIER. If you’re putting him down at 8:30p, start the evening routine and shoot for an 8p bedtime the next night, and then 7:30/:45p the following. Tweak as needed. I swear, it works!! At one point we were putting our son to bed at 6:30p, but he was sleeping until 6a-6:30a. He’s been consistently logging 11-13 hours a night since he was 3 months. Also, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child is a great book. Good luck!

  • As a Mother, hearing your baby cry just tears at your heart strings. It kills me to hear my babies cry. With Joey, I would massage his back every time he would wake up. The Ferber method was a bit too harsh for my liking. As time went on, he woke less and i would massage for shorter periods of time until Joey soothed himself. This is why Baby Soothe was born. I will send you that proto soon because maybe it can at least help give you a break!

  • 4 months and sleeping through sounds unrealistic to me, since I believe we are told (in Denmark) that the baby still needs to be nursed during the night until about 7 months?
    I know we all have our own opinion and we need to respect each other’s opinion, but personally I believe crying it out can have serious consequences. That being said, we all do what we can and try to do what we believe is right.
    Personally I felt that I would not experience having a baby more than two, maybe three times so I wanted the full experience. But it’s hard I know! And I was lucky enough not to have to work until my boys were 12 months old. They are now 6 and 3 yrs old and I agree with your mom Kristin!! The years are unbelieveably short.

    I guess I’m a proud and happy marsmellow-hearted mom. Enjoy your adorable baby boy and do what you feel is right! 🙂

  • My sister uses BabyWise and my niece has slept through the night since she was about 3 months. You might look into that. I’ve also heard “start how you intend to finish.” Best of luck! You know you and your baby best and will do what’s right!

  • I have a 5 month old who sleeps in her crib from 7pm-midnight. Then from midnight to 5am she co-sleeps in our bed. I tried Dr. Ferber’s method once and it felt completely wrong to me. If you watch your baby cry it’s clear they have no innate ability to self-soothe and the whole crying it out seems cruel to me. On nights I have the energy I do try to soothe my baby back to sleep in her crib but I know she’s only going to be this little and fragile for a short period of time, so if co-sleeping allows for me to sleep and her to develop trust and a loving bond then I’m ok with that.
    As an aside on mornings she wakes up after having co-slept in our bed she is smiley and giggly – a happy baby. Good Luck!

  • Hi Kristin! My son (now 4.5) also had a rough time sleeping as a baby. I was very jealous of the friends, co-workers, and strangers (at the supermarket who loved to give advice) that talked about how well their baby slept very early on. I was always looking for an answer of what could possibly help, and read as many books as my tired brain could absorb. The cry-out method did not work for us right away, I did try my best (as hard as it was), but Aiden would not sleep for more than a few hours at a time. After he was 7 months, I was so exhausted I put him back into his crib while he was screaming just to have a quick, much needed shower. After a few minutes, the monitor went silent and I rushed out to find him gloriously sleeping! From then on, he had long naps during the day and his nighttime sleeping greatly improved. It’s amazing what a Mom can accomplish on a full nights rest! 🙂 Everything will sort themselves out, and it’s always helpful knowing you’re not alone! Wishing you the best!

  • Hi Kristin… You are the best mommy for your little man. Do what your heart is telling you is the right thing to do by him. People can give you as much “advice” as they want, but what it boils down to is what you think is best for BOTH of you! I feel your pain. My little man just turned one this past week and it wasn’t until around 9 months that I began to feel “normal” again. Like you, my husband used to joke about me needing so much sleep to be functional! haha… I wish you the best. Your little guy is such a peanut!! 🙂

  • I have a six week old who was waking up almost every hour to hour and a half for weeks 2-4. I started implementing some of the steps in The No Cry Sleep Solution, my son now “sleeps through the night” (which is really only considered a 5 hour stretch) most nights! The book is a great way to customize a “sleep plan” that will work for your family. It is endorsed by Dr. Sears , which I appreciate. We do not co-sleep, although my son does take naps with me on occasion and I would love to have a family bed, but his sleeping noises keep my husband and I up, he is only 5 paces from my bed in his room.

    Remember that every child is different and sometimes even the best pediatricians can generalize too much!
    You can do it!

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