Once Bruno was four months old, our goal became to eliminate his nighttime feeds so that he would start to sleep through the night independently. According to Krista Cocke, the newborn care specialist I mentioned in the previous post, a four-month-old technically doesn’t need nighttime feeds anymore, as long as they get enough during the day. We continued on the same schedule mentioned in the previous post, following the Eat, Activity, Sleep routine, ensuring that Bruno was eating at least every 3-4 hours or as needed. We also started introducing purees at four months, which helped fill him up with more food and nutrients during the day.
Here are a few other points to follow:
1) Naps are no longer than 2 hours. If the baby is still sleeping at the two-hour mark, gently go in, turn on the lights, turn off the sound machine, and wake them up.
2) The baby should be awake for 1.5-2 hours between naps at four months and then awake for 2-2.5 hours once they are 5-6 months. During this time, you feed them, change them, and do an activity. At 4-6 months, they are much more alert, engaged, and able to stay awake for longer stretches. Bruno loves listening to music, playing with toys he can chew on, and going for stroller rides in our neighborhood.
3) Make sure the baby is awake for 2 hours before bedtime. Bruno goes to bed at 6 pm, so we always make sure he is awake and does not nap after 4 pm.
4) Continue putting the baby down awake. We have followed the cry it out method from the beginning, as going in always made him more upset. You should do what feels right for you and what you see your baby responds well to.
5) He had started to roll over at this point, so we transitioned him out of the swaddle and into a sleep sack. There were about 3-5 rough days of short naps and waking up often while he figured it out. But now, he sleeps through the night with no issues and no longer wakes himself up with his reflexes. Here are the swaddles we have been loving:
6) By 5-6 months, Bruno was only waking once or twice for a nighttime feed and not eating much during those feeds. So, I cut the nighttime feeds in one shot and let him cry it out for a few days while he adjusted. He never cried for very long and would then put himself back to sleep. If your baby is still waking up for many feedings, you can gradually reduce how long they eat and then slowly cut the feeds one by one. If you feel like your child responds well to you going in and soothing them with a pat on the back or shushing sound, try to increase the amount of time before you go in, encouraging them to figure it out independently. Trust your gut and what feels right for you and your child. Each child and parent is different. There is no “right” way; you will see what works and doesn’t work well for you and your little one.
Bruno is now 6 1/2 months and has been sleeping through the night for almost a month now. As I mentioned in the previous post, I never did this process with my first two kids this early. But it has been so worth it this time around. I didn’t realize how much the sleep deprivation of the past few years was genuinely affecting me until I started to get deep sleep again. I feel like a new person, even with an infant and two little kids running around. Sticking to this strict schedule and committing to sleep training him from the beginning has been a game-changer for the entire family.