Sleep Training in Babies

Berna Salkaya

Before I had a baby, I was saying, “I will never rock my baby to sleep by my foot. In my imagination, Pera would sleep soundly in her bed, and when she woke up, she would sleep like a princess when I grabbed her and pat her. And yes, I never rock her to sleep on my foot, don’t think that I never tried, I tried, but it did not work 🙂 I felt so desperate about sleep, besides rocking her, I tried many methods to sleep Pera. Do you want to go out in the middle of the night and run with a baby carriage without thinking that it is winter and snowy? She wasn’t sleeping AT HOME before 12 a.m. I would like to note that we burned 2 hair dryers in order to make her sleep at home. After trying irrational methods in this way, we decided that family sleep education was a must for us and after Pera completed 8 months, we decided to start this process. If you ask me why I’ve waited so long, this wasn’t our first try, we’ve tried it before and had a short-term success. Then, after a concession we made, it took us a while to find the power to start this process again when the situation turned to the beginning. After this experience, I realized very clearly that the sleep education process requires a more steady and stable posture than I thought.

When should we start sleep training?

Waiting for the baby to be 3 months or waiting for 6 months to start sleep training to be part of the first stage I think is not the point to consider. Almost all of the scientific resources you will read will tell you that the sooner you start, the easier it will be to adapt, but the most important thing about starting sleep education is how decisive you can be. It is not only enough that you feel this power, it is very important that everyone who contributes to the care of your baby accept the process with the same determination and stability and follow all the rules strictly. Sleep training is a complete team game for me, and to be the winning side, all players need to believe in this process and meet their challenges. If you say why, even a very small concession can bring you back to the beginning. We made our first sleep training experiment after the 4th month of Pera. After a week in which both Pera and I cried all the time, Pera could learn to sleep on her own without sucking.

However, in the following days, due to the increase in temperature and sweating while sleeping, he became uneasy and did not sleep in a very short time. In this process, we couldn’t bear her cry and took her in our arms and let her sleep on lap, and said let’s go to the park which all led to the point that ended us. You may be think that it is exaggerated, but the concession that we think we’ve only given for one night has made sleep training completely rubbish. So when I thought about the sleep training process that I completed by crying, it took my time to start the second one.

Is it difficult to train for sleeping?

Sleep education is one of the cornerstones of motherhood adventure for me. It is also a process that forces people psychologically and conscientiously. A baby you know that you can easily put to sleep – though the method is ridiculous and tiring – may cause you to feel remorse as your baby is crying aloud in front of you. In fact, when the severity of these crying crises increases, you may start to think that ”she will faint ”. This situation can sometimes be the opposite. Despite your hard work, your baby can resist sleeping and push your limits of patience by lingering with anything he’s got. If these moments coincide with your sleeplessness, you may find it much more difficult to practice rituals. As a result, in order to be ready for the next day a little more, you need to sleep and rest for even A VERY SHORT TIME, but if you succumb to these feelings, everything you have done so far will be wasted. So, as I wrote above, it is very important to start knowing the difficulties of this process and be determined.

What is the Tracy Hogg method?

There are many methods of sleep training such as Cry-it-Out (Richard Ferber), Pick up Put Down (Tracy Hogg), and Sleep Lady Shuffle (Kim West). I used the Tracy Hogg method the first time. This method is said to put the baby to bed and put her to sleep by patting. When she cries, you will take him on your lap and calm her down, and when she stops crying, you put him back in bed. You need to continue this method until she falls asleep. I think I made it 33 times on my first try. In the next session, it took again quite a long time and she cried tearfully. At points where I couldn’t continue, my husband or my mother were even got involved. Although she showed excessive resistance at the first days , she learned to sleep in 10-15 minutes at the end of the third day. At the end of the week, he was asleep in max 10 minutes. We had passed the hard test of sleep training, the method really worked. But sleep training continued for a very short time for us because of the mistake I mentioned above. It was really sad that we were frustrated at the end of the process, because the Tracy Hogg method was the most innocent of them, but I was emotionally overwhelmed. So it took me a long time to start a second sleep training method. (Up to 4 months)

How is sleep training managed?

I think it’s crazy to stay true to one method. I don’t know why I pushed myself and Pera so hard on my first try. However, it is possible to find a method that is much easier. Based on the mix of what I read and my experiences, I decided to try a new method. Since I now know Pera’s habits very well, those habits became my starting point. Every night when I feel she is sleepy, I heat some milk for her, change her, give her pacifier and blanket. These four routines are just what we do before sleep. So during the day, I never give a pacifier outside the sleep hours, if she wants to drink milk, I give it in a glass instead of pacifier. I don’t drag the blanket on the floor like a toy, I just give it in the sleeping moment. The moment she becomes sleepy, she usually starts to scratch his eyes and makes moodiness. I take her on my lap and say let’s change the diaper and the clothes. Now that she’s 20 months old, she knows it’s time to sleep. The moment I want to change, she wants her pacifier and her blanket. I give them up and turn off the lights. I put her in her bed and give her milk, and I never leave her until she goes to sleep. Sometimes she wants me to sing and she falls asleep usually five minutes after I start singing. This is of course the ideal scenario I wrote. It took a long time for this sleep routine to occur, sometimes I know I spent 2 to 2.5 hours to put her to sleep. She was hopping in and out of his bed, wanting toys, and laughing without any reason at first. No matter what, I kept calm and patiently waited for her to sleep. And I certainly didn’t let her cry. When I felt a severe crying crisis, I gave up on putting her to sleep at that moment because I can’t stand that crisis. Or even if I endure it, the fact that someone in the house intervenes and takes her again undermines the situation. So I made a decision with my husband that we will not force her to sleep. When she is starting to make peace and I’m not pushing to sleep. You understand those moments, so I prefer not to make her cry from the beginning in order not to give up. At this point, my only suggestion is that you be patient. Yes, it is very tiring, it requires a lot of effort, but in the end you become the comforting side. If Pera isn’t hungry and has no health problems, she won’t wake up at night anymore. If you ask me whether she doesn’t wake up at all, of course sometimes she wakes up and wants to play for two hours. But it is quite rare.

Another suggestion is to stop feeding her at night if you are breastfeeding or if you are giving formula / milk because many of them actually wake up for nutrition. In infants under 1 year of age it is not possible, you must necessarily feed but keep in mind that it is necessary to wait a minimum of 4 hours for the second feeding. Always consult your doctor about the frequency of feeding between nights of sleep and he will give you the most accurate information according to your baby’s development. But for children who wake up every hour, especially the mother’s breast serves as a toy. It is very important that you make sure her stomach is full before you put her to sleep. When she doesn’t wake up of hunger at night, you can keep her sleeping by just giving the pacifier or sleeping toy in her hand.

One final suggestion is that if you have difficulty putting her to sleep in this way, you can try to put her to sleep in your own bed. When we go to the cottage or on vacation, we cannot take the bed together, and after we apply the routines I mentioned, we lie side by side in bed and she just turns right and left to sleep a few times. After we started to apply this method, we were very comfortable; we no longer live the tension of who will put Pera at sleep, because even her grandfather can put her to sleep by this method. If you do not want to wear yourself and your baby too much I suggest you try this method, I’m sure you can create a simple sleep routine for your baby when you think a little. In the meantime, if you want to include something like a blanket in your routine, make sure it is not a fleece blanket. Since we made the first experiments with a fleece blanket, she certainly does not accept another blanket at the moment and he sleeps with the same blanket even at 36 degrees in summer day 🙂 We tried to change it for a few times but we had to give up as she didn’t accept any of the alternatives. In summary, think about the things you can include in your sleep routine, otherwise you may have to try to cool a baby in a sweat even though she sleeps within 10 minutes 🙂

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