My name is Christina Hnatiuk. I am a new mom of a 6 month old baby boy, Marshall. I am married to a wonderful man, we will have been together for 5 years, married for two. I work full time in Human Resources and part time as a Ukrainian dance instructor. I love to try new things, especially new restaurants and food. In my free time, which is hardly ever, I love to bake, specializing in cheesecakes. This is my first time writing a blog but I am looking forward to sharing my adventures in parenting with everyone!
Sleep. As far as I can tell, I won’t be getting any for a very long time. It’s one of the things people warn you about when you first get pregnant and then again, every time they see you for the next 9 months. My little one is 15 months and I’m literally always tired. We went through many stages of sleep with him, times where he woke 3 times a night, then a stretch when he slept through the night, and now he will not sleep in his crib. I have asked for all kinds of advice and received a million different suggestions. The thing I realized is that no matter what every kid is different and there is no magic method when it comes to sleep.
Our current routine involves my 15-month-old usually having a bath, getting on jammies and laying down in our bed with one or both of us until he falls asleep. He still drinks a bottle to fall asleep and usually at least one throughout the night. Once he is asleep we move him to his crib. Sometimes he wakes up as soon as we put him in the crib, sometimes he will sleep there for an hour or two and then wake up and sometimes he will stay all night. Often, he ends up back in our bed at some point. This is what currently “works” for us. This for obvious reasons is not our ideal routine and so I have begun researching new options for sleep training.
Through my research, and discussion with other moms I found a few different methods. I have listed them below. I will say that I have tried a few of these, or variations of them. I am not endorsing one or the other and these are only my opinions based on the results with my little man!
- Crying it out: What is crying it out, it is a method used to help babies learn to self-soothe and put themselves to sleep. It is important to know that the method itself has a lot of different variations. The method is meant to help break poor sleep associations, and is done by setting limits on what you will and won’t allow your baby to do. It involves planning and deciding what your limits will be. It is not a replacement for feeding, changing, and does not mean ignore the baby for the rest of the night. These are common misconceptions. Crying it out is a way for the baby to let out its frustration with not being able to sleep. I did try this method and unfortunately for us it did not work. Our little one would cry until he would throw up and create all kinds of new problems. (https://www.babysleepsite.com/sleep-training/cry-it-out-age/)
- Ferber Method: The Ferber Method is a variation on crying it out. This involves setting time intervals or check ins starting with more frequent closer together checks and moving to farther apart and less often check ins. I will admit we did not read the book that gives detail to the Ferber method, but read a bit about it on some websites and had it explained to us by other moms who have used it. Obviously for the same reasons as above this method was not an option for us. (https://www.babysleepsite.com/tag/the-ferber-method-step-by-step/)
- Fading Sleep and Pick-up-put-down methods: Both these methods are considered gentle methods and are meant to involve less crying. The fading method involves helping the baby to sleep like normal but gradually shortening the activity (example: rocking in a chair), allowing the child to gradually put themselves to sleep. It involves a lot of work from the parents. We tried this method but found that it was not working and resulted in more tears when we would try to adjust the activity. The Pick-up-put-down method is exactly what it sounds like. You pick up the child when they are upset, console them till calm or drowsy, and then put them back in the crib. You repeat this method until the child stays asleep. I will admit I have never tried this, but it is on my list of things to try. (https://www.babysleepsite.com/sleep-training/5-sleep-training-methods-explained/)
- The chair method: This method involves putting a chair beside the crib or bed and sitting there till the child falls asleep. You do not help the child or calm them down. It’s meant to reassure them that you are there. This involves a few more tears and can result in confusion for the child if you engage with them. Another method I have yet to try, but I can tell you this method would not work for us at this stage as my little one is in a very clingy stage. (https://www.babysleepsite.com/sleep-training/5-sleep-training-methods-explained/)
- Routine: This isn’t really a method but more a lifestyle. Really this involves a regular routine. Maybe that’s a bath, a book and then bedtime. Every routine is different but all would include a set bedtime every night as well as set naps throughout the day. This method is impossible for my lifestyle. My husband and I work different schedules, out little one is at 2 different babysitters throughout the week and doesn’t usually follow the same nap schedule. I work some evenings and sometimes we are unable to stick to a strict bedtime.
- Sleep Consultants: There is always the option of sleep consultants who work with you to help find a routine or method that works best for you and your family. SleepwellBaby is a service in Saskatoon that offers sleep consultations. They will do a 15-minute free consult and have different packages to fit your situation. (http://www.sleepwellbaby.ca/)
These are just some methods I have come across and most have been suggested by people as well. As I said, I haven’t found one that currently works for us and have only included my experience with each. I think it’s important to do research and so I have included the website where I found most of my information for each method as a way for people to consider each method further. As I said above the thing that I have learned is that there is no magic method and maybe no method at all that works, and I’m starting to believe I’ll never sleep again!