Home » Dumplin' in the flesh » Dumplin’: Sleep Training

Dumplin’: Sleep Training

So the countdown to Mochi is on! DW is just over 34 weeks now, and things are looking good, but starting to feel uncomfortable all the time now. The 3rd trimester insomnia has started for her, and she’s got terrible numbness down her arms from a previous shoulder impingement issue that has just gotten worse with pregnancy. Mochi is head down and has reached his/her birth length already, and is just fattening up now.

  DW at 33 Weeks.

We are still currently bedsharing with Dumplin’ sleeping between us, and we have good nights and bad nights. Some mornings I get up and think “Thank goodness for bedsharing, because I just have to roll over and give him the boob when he fusses”. Other mornings I’m cursing and super sleep-deprived because he thought it was fun to play and chew on my nipple. Little turd. 

Nursing him to sleep has allowed us to survive this long, but it’s now starting to lose its effectiveness as a way to get him to sleep. I can see him frustrated at night because he too, expects the sleep elixir to work. Fact of the matter is that my child doesn’t know how to fall asleep on his own, sans motion (car rides, swing), or nursing. By continuing to nurse him to sleep, I feel like I’m taking away opportunities to let him hone his self-soothing skills. Also- Mochi’s coming, and our little queen-sized bed can barely comfortable contain the three of us, let alone another baby that is even more fragile. We plan on having Mochi in the bassinet, but that’s what we planned for Dumplin’ too, and well, yeah, here we are talking about sleep training.

We dabbled in the modified cry-it-out method mentioned in the Happy Sleeper a couple of weeks ago for naps, but it failed pretty miserably for us, mostly because we weren’t consistent with it for more than the two naps, and also because naps are harder to sleep train than bedtimes apparently. His cries just escalated every time we came in the room and he cried for over an hour straight before we called it both times. So we think we will have to go the extinction route and just let him cry it out without doing the sleep waves.

We were going to start sleep training bedtimes last night but him and I have a nasty cold right now, which we seem to have caught from a friend’s kids. So we thought we’d wait until him and I are both well, to avoid second guessing ourselves like “Wait- is he quiet because he’s sleeping or quiet because he’s stopped breathing because mucous is clogging his lungs?!”. 

So we will wait, but in the meantime, I thought I’d see if any of you have tips for sleep training using a cry-it-out (CIO) or modified CIO method. I’m not looking for arguments against sleep training, since we’ve decided that this is best for us as a family, and it wasn’t an easy decision to make.

Thanks in advance!

63 thoughts on “Dumplin’: Sleep Training

  1. I wish you the best of luck and no judgement from me about whatever route you choose. For us Happy Sleeper worked better when we were doing it for daytime sleep and nighttime, but if it hadn’t we would probably be doing CIO too. Hope it works!

      • I would have to go back and check (there are some posts on it) but it was very quick, like a week. We had set backs of course with teething and stuff, but they’re always pretty quick and easily resolved. Now, it DID take about a month for naps to take in the crib, but a lot of that was because I was being inconsistent and just nursing her down with me on the couch. When I finally committed to it 100% it went quick. I also went to a 2-3-4 nap schedule during the day and that really helped set things right.

      • The librarian and I were working the Happy Sleeper Program together–checking in on Facebook and such for support. She was SUCH a huge help. Her and Reciprocal Love were my sleep training rocks. RL had some great texts from a mentor of hers who has been through this–I’m sure she’d share them with you if you ask. I was reading them at night when I was feeling weak and it really helped reassure me in the dead of night when you’re questioning things. If you need support while you’re working through this, don’t hesitate to reach out on Facebook! I am here!

  2. We tried a modified cry it out, but going in always wound my daughter up and prolonged everything. We ended up doing straight up cry it out somewhere around 7 months, and it took less than a week to work. She’s stubborn so it was a couple weeks of crying 10ish minutes before settling down, but after that it was smooth sailing and she still sleeps like a champ at 2.5.

    • That’s awesome! It’s great to hear that it worked so well for you and your daughter. I know that CIO seems so harsh to some people, but my guy is sooooo stubborn, and in the end, I just know that helping him learn how to sleep is worth the temporary tears.

      • Yes, people get really worked up about it. I really don’t understand why people think a couple hours of crying during one week of a kid’s life will damage them somehow, it’s absurd. Oh well, to each their own!

      • It is only my two cents but there is science to back up this ‘absurd’ concept. To each their own I guess. Good luck with Dumplin. I won’t be following your journey down this road – no judgment, just can’t stomach it myself.

      • I’ve done a lot of digging on the science behind crying it out and the studies are not indicative of it causing problems (one was based in an orphanage and one was based in a sleep lab where the babies already had raised cortisol). I have a link somewhere to a very balanced view I can dig out. Sometimes you have to look to what’s best for the whole family and sometimes sleep training is the fairest solution.

    • I’ve had times when going in there to do checks just escalates things, too. That part really sucks. Follow your instincts if that becomes a problem! The book is just a guide–it doesn’t know everything, and it certainly doesn’t know your baby.

  3. CIO hasn’t worked for Lilly so far, she is just too stubborn and ends up getting so worked up she starts choking. My pediatrician recommended the Sleep Lady Shuffle book. Ordered, but haven’t tried it yet.

    • Thank you for the recommendation. I’ll keep the book in mind. I’m sorry it hasn’t worked for Lilly. Dumplin’ also does the choking and hyperventilating thing, which breaks my heart.

  4. Something we tried (but truthfully we didn’t have as much troubles, so it may not work for you!), when you put him down to bed and he cries, pick him up and sooth until he stops crying. Put him down. Repeat.
    Read this in the Baby Whisperer and she does it sometimes like 100 times. Yep. Our little guy got tuckered after about 3-5 times. Your arms sure get a workout.. Once we got him comfortable with falling asleep, I worked at not feeding him when he woke up at night. If it wasn’t like a stage 4 meltdown, I would let him stir until he eventually fell back asleep. Sometimes going in to comfort, otherwise faught the urge to feed. What I literally just had to do as I was typing this, was pick him up, comfort until he stopped crying, put him down, plugged a soother in his mouth before he got worked up again, and put my palm on his cheek to give the same sort of smells and warmth like when he’s on the boob.
    I hope any of this helps! And congrats on the health and progress of little Mochi so exciting!!

  5. Good move for waiting until you’re both well. I’ve always been told that sleep training goes out the window when teething, growth spurts, sickness, travel, etc is messing stuff up. That being said – after sleep training has been effective, ask if those usual disruptions are SO much easier to handle once the wee ones know how to soothe themselves. ALSO, I’m currently nursing K to sleep. She can’t nap without the swing or boob or carrier. I’m on my way to sleep training hell with you. Good luck! Tell DW for me that she looks amazing! Xx

    • Thank you! Yes, I’ve heard that people usually go back to comfort feeding babies when teething, sickness, growth spurts, etc mess things up, and that going back to sleeping in their crib takes a night or two, but isn’t bad. I’m sooo looking forward to Dumplin’ self-soothing. He relies on us so much for entertainment and comfort, which is normal, but I think it’s time to encourage him to develop his own skills. Nursing to sleep has been really wonderful- I’m sure you’d agree- but I think he’s ready, and we can always bring him back into our bed once his independent sleep is well established. Good luck with K! Enjoy the snuggles and having nursing in your bag of tricks to soothe her. You have some time still. We’re only starting so early because of Mochi. Thanks from DW too 🙂

      • One thing I forgot to mention about the sleep training! As you already mentioned, so I’m sure you know well, one big important factor in the success of any method is consistency. There’ll be crying by both (all 3) of you, but it’ll be far easier on you all, and less confusing for Dumplin, if you go all in with whatever method and follow through. I’m loving the snuggles for sure, and because of my experience with M I know the snuggles don’t end and nursing is still soothing even after self soothing is learned. I’m hoping it’ll be a bit less stressful the second time around if we have to do cio. Good luck! 🙂

      • Yes, for sure. Consistency is key. That’s where we failed last attempt- my MIL swooped in and “saved him” because she couldn’t handle the crying and choking. We paid for it though- he regressed really badly.

  6. Oh goodness – nothing like a deadline for the pressure! You have my utmost sympathy for the challenge ahead. F is very very similar – in fact, in almost four months she has barely slept away from me and I think she knows no different. She also can’t sleep without a boob and at bedtime she screams until I take her upstairs – this might mean she howls while the husband holds her and I wolf down my dinner at 6:30pm. We have tried EVERYTHING. Including two fragile attempts at CIO. Her cot is still sat, unused, next to the bed. I wish you a TON of luck and nerves of steel to get through this. Please let us know how you get on – whether it works or Dumplin out-wills you!! I literally have no idea how to change things here.

    • Yup, F and Dumplin’ are sooooo similar! It also sounds like K is too. How did we all end up with such sucky babies lol? He does the same as F when he’s decided it’s bedtime- fusses and is inconsolable until he’s in bed, in my arms, with a boob in his mouth. And if we have made him wait too long, or the bedtime routine has taken too long, he’s harder to settle, even on the boob! I feel for you, my friend. Hopefully, in a few weeks I can give you some hope that sleep training can work for our little darlings.

  7. I’m so close behind you! J is killing me with the lack of sleep, up every two hours this past week regardless of the fact we’re cosleeping! I’m a complete zombie!gotta love four month sleep regression! Anyway no judgement or advice Just solidarity and to say I’ll most likely be following in your footsteps!

    • Thank you! Yes, it’s sooo hard because you want to enjoy this cute stage but when you’re sleep deprived you’re just trying to survive- get everyone fed and kept alive lol. I hope it all goes well and that in a couple of weeks I have good news to report 🙂

  8. No tips here as I’ve failed miserably at getting my baby to sleep anywhere but on the boob. But I wanted to wish you all the best and hope it works and you all sleep in your own bed (and crib!) very soon. Feel better! ❤

    • Thank you. I do love the night nursings overall, but it would be so nice if we could teach Dumplin to self-soothe, because it affects so many aspects of his day, not just sleep. The kid doesn’t even like playing unless you’re watching him 100%! Blogging has really taken a hit lol.

  9. We are working really hard to break the nursing=sleep association. Junie’s been weaned down to a single night feeding, and for a couple nights she slept really well in her sidecarred crib – but then it all unravelled and her sleep is worse than ever because she’s not being nursed back to sleep. She sucks at self-soothing. She frantically tries to grab at our faces and hands, wants to be held constantly… So basically, I have no advice but plenty of commiseration. I hope CIO works for you guys – we’re not doing it (at this point anyway) but I agree that it is absolutely about what works for you and your family. I’m so tired of hearing that CIO is going to break babies, or that not doing CIO means that a baby will never learn to self-soothe. Everyone is different, and having a livable sleep situation is so important.

  10. We did extinction CIO with our oldest (and will probably do it with our almost 6 month old if he’s anything like his big brother). It was a rough week and a half, but our boy really learned great sleep habits, and he’s a happy, well-adjusted little fellow, so I feel pretty confident that we didn’t inflict any long-term damage 🙂

      • The length of time he cried drastically tapered off after about four nights (one of the first nights he cried for one hour and 57 minutes – our pediatrician said we could let him cry for two hours before going in to soothe him), but it was a solid week and a half before we could put him down to sleep with no tears or fussing whatsoever. As far as challenges, once we had committed to this method, the only challenge was maintaining our resolve and making sure we were super consistent with the bedtime routine.

  11. Consistency is definitely key with sleep training. That and ignoring the naysayers! 😉 I haven’t had to do night time training, just nap and it usually only takes about a week. My one kiddo had a hard time after he started rolling over in his swaddle so his parents took him out of it. I bought the Baby Merlin Magic sleep suit and it’s worked like a charm for him. Good luck, Mama! So excited for the new arrival but hope you’re both feeling better quickly so you can get him trained before the Mochi arrives.

      • I didn’t think of that! I think he’d fit into the 6-9 month, but that one wasn’t as heavy as the 3-6 mo old suit. I’ve tried to put S in it and he doesn’t do nearly as well in it.

      • Gia LOVED the suit at four months old, but yes, I’m pretty sure your Dumplin is too big even for the large size. Gia couldn’t fit into it anymore at 4.5 months. Too bad!

  12. I don’t post that much on my blog, and I’m really not trying to promote it, but I did write a piece on sleep training using the extinction method. It took me a long time to come to this decision, and I’m glad that I did, but my sleep woes still continue. It did really make it manageable. My tips are at delayedmama@wordpress.com Take a look. There are two posts outlining what happened with my little one. I hope it helps. If not, I’m sending all my baby sleep vibes your way.

    • Thank you for referring me to your blog. It was a nice read, and I’m so impressed that you seemed to solve your pacifier and some of your nap issues successfully in only a few days! Sucks about the rolling over challenges… How’s it going now?

  13. First of all, DW looks amazing! I’m sorry about her discomfort. Late pregnancy is so hard. But she looks gorgeous in that dress 🙂 Id recommend trying the sleep waves for nighttime instead of naps. We’ve had no problem with bedtime at all for two months now, but it’s never worked for naps. Our weekends are rough and the only way Gia naps is stroller, car or Ergo. But bedtime she has her routine and it’s dark out and she’s sleepy and it works so well, I’m not saying it will for Dumplin but it might be worth a try? That’s my only input. Oh, and the Xanax and wine and having your wife deal with the sleep training lol. Good luck, text me when you’re in the thick of it, I get hollow hard it is but also how completely necessary, especially in your situation. Dumplin will be happier at bedtime and throughout the night once he learns how to do his own self-soothing.

    • Yeah, I agree. Bedtime is our goal first- once this damn cold is gone. Thank you so much for your support. I will definitely be texting you once we get this show on the road.

  14. I love our night time cuddles, but I’m beginning to wish for more freedom during naps. Wyatt is currently napping in our bed with me sitting beside him. Tried the crib earlier and failed miserably because we’ve got this playtime association going on with the crib. Not sure we are ready for any sleep training quite yet, but I am enjoying reading the comments and will continue to follow along your journey. P.S. DW looks fantastic and I can’t believe baby #2 is almost here!

    • Thanks Linds! Yes, I love our night time cuddles too. Dumplin’ naps mostly in the swing, car, or stroller. Boobin’ him to sleep for naps barely works now, which I think is a sign that I need to help him learn some independent sleeping skills. It’s pretty good that Wyatt will nap with you sitting beside him. That’s definitely a step ahead of where Dumplin’s at. We could both be sitting there beside him, or even holding him, but unless my nipple is in his mouth, he won’t fall asleep!

      • This napping without being held is a new phenomenon for us. Usually it’s on us, in the carrier, stroller or car seat. He needed the boob to fall asleep but once he was out I could escape.

  15. DW looks great! I can’t believe Mochi’s almost here. How did that happen? Wishing you all the best of luck with the sleep training. Some kids take to it easier than others, I hope dumplin’ listens to reason :). xxx

  16. We did our own modified version of CIO. We would put the boys in their cribs, walk out of the room. They would cry for about 10 minutes and we would come back in, lay them down, and sit in the rocking chair. They would reach for us, we would lay them back down and sit again. EVENTUALLY, they would fall asleep. BUt every day, the amount of time they spent crying and the amount of time we spent in the chair got shorter and shorter. I would say it took a good 2 weeks to get them fully trained and by fully trained I mean, sleeping 7-7! Every kid is different though, so you have to keep that in mind. You just have to remember not to talk to him. I think that was the most important thing for us. Just lay him down, and walk away again. Eventually they won’t get back up. And then they stop crying, and then they sleep. And each day it lasts a little longer and a little longer. Wshing you luck friend…

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