Our approach to sleep training our 16 week old baby.

Ah – the day has finally come. Which can really be referred to two things:

  1. I am finally sharing how we went about sleep training Cooper
  2. Cooper is finally sleeping through the entire night

Now if you are a longtime blog reader/Instagram friend of mine – you already know my approach to sleep training. I have stayed very consistent from child to child because it works. And my kids are all amazing sleepers.

Do they have moments where they don’t sleep well? Sure but very rarely. Ezra is now 4 years old and he has never had a sleep regression. Brody is 2 years old and he hasn’t had a sleep regression either. They sleep a solid 10-11 hours every night.

The only time Brody gave us an issue was when we tried to get him to sleep in a crib or a bed. For some reason he just loves the pack and play, but I will save that story for another time.

All in all, my kids are are fabulous sleepers. They don’t get up in the middle of the night unless something happens or they are not feeling well etc. And do I brag about it? Kind of. Because sleep is everything to Jordan and I and there was no way I could sustain myself with 2 hours of consecutive sleep a night. And that is why we sleep trained each of them.

How did we sleep train our babies?

It’s controversial to some but we do “cry it out“. Also known as “CIO“. When we had Ezra, his pediatrician at the time swore by this. And we went with her recommendation. She said she never had a patient that wasn’t a good sleeper. And being that she was middle aged and saw tons of babies, I was 100% listening to what she said.

CIO can be a loaded phrase and how everyone actually goes about sleep training can vary person to person.

Of course do what works for you and YOUR BABY! This is just our perspective and what works for us.

And now Cooper is almost 5 months. He sleeps 7pm until about 6:45am or so. It is BLISS! Now I just need to retrain myself to sleep better. Being up every couple of hours for 4 months has me on a crazy schedule.

How does “Cry It Out” work?

  1. Step 1: pick a bedtime – we chose to do 7pm for Cooper. This is what we did for Ez and B and it works well for us. The older boys go to bed around 7:30/7:45pm now so it’s also nice we get another 30 minutes or so with them after Cooper goes to bed. And of course some nights it’s later if we are out to dinner, etc. (I cannot be a slave to a schedule).
  2. Step 2: make sure they’re fed – Cooper gets a bottle of about 6 ounces of pumped milk before bed (these are the bottles we use). Sometimes it’s less or more depending on how he nursed that day. And we also will give him some food with it before or after. We’re not too calculated about it. His bottle is sometime between 6:00-6:30pm.
  3. Step 3: have some type of routine – I keep it simple with the book Goodnight Moon. We change his diaper, put pajamas on and read him the book before putting him to sleep. Then we turn on his white noise machine and turn off the lights.
  4. Step 4: put baby in crib while happy/awake – we don’t rock him or anything to sleep. I give him a big hug and kiss and then he goes in the crib for night night. We put some pacifiers in too, but he’s too young to find them and really self soothe with those.
  5. Step 5: go back into their room in the morning – that is it! Unless something gd forbid happens, we don’t go in there. I go back in anywhere between 6:30am-7:00am depending on his wake up time. The first couple of nights Cooper cried for 30-40 minutes or so. Is it unbearable to listen to? YES! But with Ez and B running around, it’s pretty loud and was distracting for us. With Brody I had a really tough time because we were in our apartment. I recommend sleeping out and having your partner stay with the baby in your home if you think it’s too much for you.

FAQS on sleep training:

  • When did we sleep train? 16 weeks for both Ezra and Cooper and I liked this age. Brody we did younger around 12 weeks but he was also sleeping longer stretches at the time.
  • How long did it take to sleep train? About 3 nights. He cried for 30-40 minutes the first few nights and sometimes he still does. But it hasn’t lasted longer than that. The first night he woke up around 3am and cried for a bit (he was used to nursing) but quickly went back to sleep until 6am.
  • How do you know the baby isn’t hungry? I always ask myself “do you eat in the middle of the night?”. That’s what our pediatrician said to us and it’s true. If your baby is eating well during the day, they don’t need night feedings. Just consult your doctor if you are concerned about it.
  • What sleep sack do you use? We use a weighted sleep sack, which I love. It’s lightweight and not too heavy. But any sleep sack can work.
  • What if the baby cries in the middle of the night? We don’t go in. This is how they learn to self soothe. Unless something seems very wrong like they’re spitting up or we hear them poop on monitor.
  • Does the baby cry when you put him the crib for bedtime? Sometimes but not for more than a few minutes. 

As I say with everything else – please do what works for you and your family. This has been our approach and we have seen success 3 times. It’s not easy but it’s wroth it in the end, which I always tell myself. I also don’t really tune into unsolicited opinions from others. If some don’t think CIO is right – it’s not for them. And that is totally ok! Do what works for YOUR BABY!

I also share more details on sleep training here when we sleep trained Ezra and here when we sleep trained Brody.

Any other questions? Let me know in the comments! 🙂