Sleep Training Second Baby
I’m going to talk about sleep training the second baby. I know this can be a taboo subject, so if you are against sleep training, this post isn’t for you. However, our results show how well our sweet girl responded to the gentle method that we used with frequent comfort checks in the beginning, lengthening them over time. She felt safe, and if you keep reading, you’ll see that sleep training really does work & we have a much calmer, happier girl because of it.
Nyah has been a difficult sleeper pretty much from the start. Since eliminating dairy from my diet, her sleep had gotten better, however she was still taking short naps and recently was waking up more during the middle of the night. I think because her tummy was hurting her she had a hard time settling, and we were helping her by bouncing – but that in turn possibly helped her develop a sleep association to being bounced to sleep (similar to Liam).
Before we had her, we always knew we would do sleep training again, as it worked so well for Liam. I was just nervous about how it would go with another child in the house, Nyah’s more sensitive temperament, and with her still sleeping in our room.
I decided to start sleep training her while she was still sleeping in our room at 5 months (Daddy & I are sleeping on the couch for a few days), and once she is sleeping soundly on her own we’ll work on transitioning her into a shared room with Liam.
Before sleep training, we were still swaddling Nyah using the SwaddleMe and more recently the Halo SleepSack Swaddle. We had tried doing just one arm swaddled, but we couldn’t get her to stay asleep with our old routine. Because we wanted her to be able to self soothe by sucking on her hands or holding her little Jellycat bunny soother, we quit swaddling, and just put her in a Halo SleepSack for warmth.
Before Sleep Training:
- Nyah would take 4-5 naps a day (exhausting!), 1.5 to 2 hours apart
- Most naps lasted 40 minutes (one sleep cycle) before she would wake up crying
- Going down for a nap usually involved quite a bit of shushing and bouncing on the exercise ball to get her to fall asleep. She does take a pacifier and we were swaddling her for naps & night-time sleep. She would usually wake up a couple of times after you had gotten her down, and you would have to go back in and start over.
- At bedtime, it was the same routine, but it would usually take a full hour to get her to sleep.
- Night-time sleep varied from about 7-8pm to 6-7am with wake ups at various hours. Her night-time sleep was definitely better than her naps, so I was hoping sleep training would go better at night because of that reason.
We followed the Ferber method with comfort checks starting at 5, 10, and 15 minutes the first night (With Nyah I added a 7 minute check between the 5 and 10 minute checks because of her personality. I thought she might do better with shorter intervals in the beginning). These checks increased by 2 minutes every night.
The basic guidelines are:
- The 1st comfort check occurs at 5 minutes of moderate to hard crying (light fussing doesn’t count).
- If baby quiets and starts up again, the clock starts over at whatever time interval you were on.
- The parent comforts for 1-2 minutes (max) with touch and voice to let the baby know they are still there and tell them they are just learning to go to sleep on their own.
- If the baby continues to cry after the 1st comfort check, you reset the timer to 10 minutes for the 2nd comfort check, and 15 minutes for the 3rd comfort check. For night-time sleep you continue to do checks every 15 minutes until they fall asleep. If they wake up in the middle of the night, you start again with 5 minutes, and increase accordingly.
- For naps, it is very similar, except if baby doesn’t fall asleep within 30-45 minutes, you end the nap and try again within an hour. I did this a bit different with Nyah – if she didn’t fall asleep within an hour, I ended the nap. I did comfort checks every 10 minutes for naps as I felt like the crying would last longer if I went in sooner/more frequently. The first couple of days, if she had a short nap or didn’t nap, I tried keeping her awake until her next nap period in hopes to lengthen her naps and get her on a more consistent schedule.
Our plan was to put Nyah to sleep around 6/6:30pm every night and wake her up in the morning by 7:00am. If she woke anytime between 6:00-7:00am, we were to get up and start our day. Naps were planned for close to 8:30am, 12:00pm, and 3:00pm (give or take).
Here are our results:
6:27pm Put to bed in her Halo SleepSack
She starting crying right away as this was the first time we had never swaddled nor bounced her to sleep
The first night we did checks at 5/7/10/15 minutes
6:33pm 1st Check In (after 5 minutes of crying)
6:40pm 2nd Check In (after 7 minutes of crying)
6:52pm 3rd Check In (after 10 minutes of heavier crying)
7:02pm Quiet (after only 30 minutes and 1 glass of wine!)
9:04pm fussing/crying back to sleep after 10 minutes
10:23pm crying/fussing off and on
10:45pm 1st Check In (after 5 minutes of crying)
10:55pm 2nd Check In (after 7 minutes of crying)
11:23pm Fussing for a few minutes & fell back asleep
At this point, I wasn’t ready to entirely night-wean, so I decided if she woke up anytime around/after 1:00am, I would get up and feed her and put her back to bed.
4:00am She woke crying – I responded really quickly – fed her and put her back in the pack n’ play sleepy, but not entirely asleep.
4:16am Back in bed
4:35am Awake & making noise talking to herself – no crying. She was back to sleep within a few minutes
7:05am Woke her up, as we didn’t want her to sleep later than her usual wake up time or make up lost night hours during the day
8:35am Put her down for a nap in her sleep sack after nursing, story, and singing a song. She started crying as soon as I put her down
8:45am 1st Check (after 10 minutes of fussing/crying)
8:59am Crying off and on for 2 minutes
9:01am Quiet & asleep
9:23am Awake & Crying – nap #1 ended after 22 minutes of sleep
11:52am Down for nap crying off & on
11:55am Quiet (asleep after 3 minutes)
12:20pm Awake & crying (I had been using the baby shusher, and it turned off) – decided to let her try and fall back asleep
12:40-12:56pm Crying off & on
1:20pm Awake from nap #2 – about 40-50 minutes of sleep total
3:06pm Down for nap
3:06 – 3:13pm Fussing and mild crying
6:04pm Put to bed – mild crying
6:16pm Quiet (asleep after 12 minutes)
6:52pm Hear Nyah wake up and she fusses a couple times then back to sleep
7:00pm – 8:00pm Nyah seemed to have a hard time falling asleep, she never cried was just fussing and falling asleep again. She didn’t eat much before I put her to bed at 6:00, so I thought I would go in and feed her to see if she was hungry. She was, and went right to sleep afterward.
8:24pm Fed her & put her down awake in the crib
1:23am Nyah woke up – I went in to feed her as it was after 1am
1:35am Back in bed awake – fell asleep with no crying
5:30am Liam woke up and went in our room (forgetting that Mommy & Daddy weren’t in there). Nyah woke up, so I went in to feed her because I felt bad that Liam was the one that woke her. I put her down awake, and she fell back asleep on her own with no crying.
8:35am Down for nap – fussing
8:40am Asleep – within 5 minutes no crying
11:40am Down for nap – crying before I put her down (I tried reading her a story and singing, but it was like she was saying just put me down already.)
11:47am Fell asleep within 7 minutes
2:36pm She had a hard time staying awake this afternoon – we did a lot of entertaining and changing activities, so didn’t quite make it to 3pm. I fed her before I put her down and then put her in her SleepSack and put her in bed.
6:02pm Down to bed after bath, story, nursing – no crying or fussing
6:40pm Woke & cried a couple minutes before falling back asleep
7:44pm Woke up again
9:00pm Woke up – went in to feed her thinking she may be hungry
9:14pm Back to bed
1:00am Woke up – went in to feed her and put her back to bed
5:00am Woke up – tried letting her fall back asleep. Didn’t work
5:45am Fed her & put her back in bed
8:29am Down for nap – fussing/crying
9:15am Awake & crying
11:09am Down for nap
2:55pm Down for nap – asleep within 1 minute
3:27pm Making noise – gave her 20 minutes to fall back asleep
3:44pm Quiet/fussing – fell back asleep at 3:50pm
5:45pm Fell asleep in the car on the way home from the park for a few minutes
6:30pm Put to bed – after bath & nursing – no crying – fell asleep a few minutes later
7:30pm Woke up & fell back asleep a few minutes later
4:00am Woke up – went in to feed her & put her back in bed
8:25am Down for a nap – asleep a few minutes later
9:10am Woke up – tried letting her fall back asleep for 20 mins., then went in to get her
11:49am Down for nap
12:23pm Woke up & fell back to sleep within 10 minutes
3:00pm Down for nap
6:10pm Put to bed after bath, story, & nursing
1:23am Awoke crying – fed her
1:35am Back in bed awake – fell asleep within a few minutes
5:30am Liam woke up and woke Nyah up by going into our room (he forgot Mommy and Daddy were sleeping on the couch) – I went in and fed her and put her back to bed
8:51am Down for a nap
9:29am Crying off & on – couldn’t fall back asleep
10:05am Got her up
11:36am Down for nap after swim & nursing
12:07pm Woke up
12:23pm Fell back to sleep
3:13pm Down for nap
6:25pm Down to sleep after bath & nursing – fell asleep within a few minutes
9:30pm Woke up & fed her
1:30am Woke up & fed her
8:00am Down for a nap – no crying
8:41am Woke up – didn’t fall back to sleep after leaving her for 20 mins
11:37am Down for nap – fell asleep in car, nursed & put her into bed
12:15pm – 12:40pm Awake in Pack n’ Play
12:40pm Back to sleep
2:16pm Down for nap
6:05pm Put to bed
7:04pm Woke up and fell back to sleep 13 minutes later
I forgot to write down when she woke to eat in the middle of the night, but she’s been waking in a 4hr pattern – around 9:30pm, 1:30pm, and 5:30am.
8:06am Down for a nap
8:45am Woke & fell back asleep within 10 minutes
11:49am Down for nap – asleep within 3 minutes
12:32pm Woke up & fell back to sleep within 20 minutes (light crying off & on)
2:00pm Woke up
4:09pm Down for nap
6:36pm In bed 🙂
I am SO glad we decided to do sleep training with Nyah at this age. I almost waited longer, but was starting to get frustrated with trying to get her back to sleep in the middle of the night, and I knew it was time. The first night was hard, but she really surprised me! This little girl is amazing and she learned so quickly!
If you’re curious how Liam’s sleep training went at the same age, you can visit that post here.
Nyah’s sleep improved so quickly, and it continues to get better. She typically falls asleep on her own within 5 minutes or less. She no longer cries all the way home in the car from our adventures – if she is sleepy, she closes her eyes and goes to sleep. Since she is doing so well with falling asleep on her own, I also decided to start working on extending her naps. We are aiming for 1 1/2 hours for her first two naps, and the final nap can be a shorter nap. If Nyah wakes up after less than 1 hour of sleep, I leave her in her pack n’ play for a full hour, then go get her if she has not fallen back to sleep (ie. if she falls asleep for her nap at 12:15pm, I don’t go in and get her until 1:15pm if she wakes up). I’ve only had to do this once so far – she usually falls back to sleep within 10-15 minutes. I’m going to continue doing this in hopes to lengthen her naps and help her work on transitioning straight into her next sleep cycle without waking herself up.
Please do your own research before deciding what sleep training method is best for your family.If you have any questions, or need some encouragement, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. After sleep training two swing-addicted bouncy babies, I am so glad that I now have two amazing sleepers!
Some things that were helpful during sleep training: