Parent Pro Tips: 3 Tips for Successful Crib Training

Disclaimer: I am not a pediatrician, midwife, or child psychologist. I am not claiming to be an expert by any means. I'm just a first-time mom sharing what worked for me and my family. Also, if you choose to comment on this post, please be aware of my comment policy. Thank you!

My son has been sleeping in his own bed (in his own room) now for a month, and let me tell you, it has been wonderful! 

We co-slept with him for most of his life before we moved him into his room. If you're unaware of what co-sleeping is, it can be a pretty controversial topic. Many parents and "experts" feel that it can be dangerous for your child. Many other parents and "experts" feel that it can have many benefits for your child if done safely and correctly. For information on co-sleeping, check here and here.

After about 4 months of co-sleeping, my husband and I wanted our bed back. Our son began the dreadful 4-month sleep regression, and began waking up every two hours to nurse, which was something he didn't do as a newborn. I read that it was best to give babies a routine, so that they know it's bedtime, so that's when we implemented ours.

1. Have a Routine

Our routine consists of Changing and/or Bath time, Feeding, a Story, and then a Song. We began that routine and kept it up for 2 months before we moved Cayson to his own room, and I think it helped because he already associated it with bedtime. Your routine doesn't have to be the same as ours, but create one that works for you and your family. 

2. Set an Earlier Bedtime

After a month of doing the routine every night, our son was still waking up about every two or three hours. In a fit of desperation, I bought two baby sleep books on Amazon, and one gave a simple tip that helped tremendously. It's the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D. 

In the book, he says that most babies have a biological clock that tells them when to wind down for the evening. This is usually before 8 p.m. If you're putting your baby to bed after that, they may be over-tired, which leads to them fighting sleep and possibly waking through the night. It was a simple tip, but it made all the difference, since we had been putting Cayson to bed at about 9. After that, we began his routine around 6, and woke up less during the night. 

3. Let them "Cry It Out"

My husband and I believe in a modified version of attachment parenting. We also believe in an extremely modified version of sleep training, hence letting our son cry it out. We had to teach our son that he didn't need us there in the room with him for him to fall asleep. So one day, as I fought to get him down for a nap during the day, I just decided that I would leave the room, set a timer, and allow him to cry it out for a few minutes. I set the timer for five minutes, and when the timer went off, I went into our room and my son was out in less than a minute. 

Once we moved Cayson to his crib, we kept up the practice of letting him cry it out. He doesn't need to cry it out every night, but some nights he'll fight going down more than others, and that's when we use the timer. When it comes to this method, use your best judgement. You know your baby, and you know the difference between a hungry cry and a sleep-fighting cry. Cayson isn't any worse for the wear because we let him cry it out occasionally. 

The moral of the story is, once we moved Cayson to his own room and got him used to it, he realized that he didn't need to wake up every two hours just pacify himself with a little breast milk. He still wakes once or twice for a feeding during the night, but I'll take that over every two hours any day!

Remember, every baby and every family is different. Maybe you moved your babies to their own rooms successfully at one month old. That's great! As always, you do you. There is no perfect formula for parenting, but there are a lot of ways to be a really great parent.

I hope these tips were somewhat helpful!

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.