**DISCLAIMER: These photos were taken when Shiloh was 1 week old, before she was actually sleeping in her crib. We’ve since removed the bumpers, and all items from within the crib. She only sleeps with a little stuffed animal, nothing else is in the crib 🙂 Gotta keep it safe!
You know that sigh of relief you breathe after you successfully put baby down for the night and close the door behind you, stepping out into the hallway aka freedom?! This is a feeling I didn’t know until just a few weeks ago, and one I’ve grown to appreciate after 6 long months of sleepless nights!
When I say “sleepless nights,” I mean SLEEPLESS! From day 1, Shiloh has never been a great sleeper. She never took to the bassinet, or any other contraption that we tried, besides our bed. (A big no-no when it comes to safety recommendations, but I couldn’t believe how many other families struggled with the same thing). Jakson (doggie) also sleeps in our bed (which we now regret – hindsight is so fun right? *eye roll*). Who knew a California King bed could feel so tiny?! So Shiloh got to a point around 3 months where the dreaded regression kicked in. In fact, it was the night of her 3 month bday (is that a thing?) to the day that the regression started. I remember because it was absolutely miserable, and for 2 months straight it only got worse & worse. She was waking every 1-2 hours and the only thing that would calm her down was to nurse her. Every. Dang. Time. If we get technical and do some math, I nursed her over 550 times JUST during the nights of those 11 weeks. If you check my math, this number may seem a little bit high. That’s because in the 2nd half of the regression, she was waking every 45 minutes every night. Yes, EVERY night. [I should also mention that at some point before the regression kicked in, I was able to get her taking all daytime naps in the crib, but naps never lasted longer than 40 minutes.]
As you can imagine, we were all at the end of our rope. I honestly felt like I was even further past rock bottom and every morning I’d wake up thinking, “How the heck am I going to do this another day?!” Thank God for increasing our capacity/for the power of prayer – I’m positive this is the only reason I was able to keep going! I decided something needed to change because having her in our bed, and all 3 of us lacking sleep wasn’t doing any of us any good. This is where my new friend/life saver, Lauren, comes in. I seriously wish I could fly to Oregon and hug her a thousand times. She helped us more than I could have ever imagined possible!!
So Lauren is a certified sleep coach & the founder of sleep consulting service Sleep and the City. I had checked out other sleep consulting services in the pre-regression stage, because that too was intolerable, but they were all SO outrageously priced. They wanted thousands and once again, our dreams of sleeping again (oxymoron?) were crushed. Was sleep only for the vastly wealthy?! Were we ever going to sleep again?! Then I remembered this cute Insta blog I had been following, @sleepandthecity! I thought, “I’ll give it one more shot,” and decided to shoot Lauren a message.
Her quick & thoughtful reply instantly gave me a great feeling about her business & work ethic. And her rates were affordable!? What?! Omg my heart literally leapt with joy! I could not wait to get started.
We began with a consultation over the phone (as we are in 2 different states). Our consult lasted 2 hours and Shiloh napped almost the ENTIRE time (hello again, God! 🙂 ). She spent so much time answering all my questions and concerns. My biggest was that I am not ok with the cry it out method. I was willing to let her cry maybe 10 minutes at the most, but I strongly believe that there are other, less intense methods that are just as effective. Luckily, Lauren was totally on the same page, and had some of these methods in her bag of tricks! She wrote out a custom plan for us and we began our sleep training a few nights later. As much as I hated not sleeping, I knew this would be the last time I got to sleep with my baby while she was this little, and I wanted to cherish just a few more hours together!
The first night was hard. Not so much for Shiloh, but for me. I fed her and let Christian put her to bed from there, because I knew I was too emotional to handle hearing her be upset. She only needed to cry for about 10 minutes, then was totally asleep soundly in her crib. I was SHOCKED! She did amazing!! And to top it off, she was able to put herself back to sleep the few times she did wake up that night. I, on the other hand, sobbed for a good 2 hours straight in my bed, missing my baby already. Nobody warned me that was going to happen! Poor Christian was so confused haha. I was too! I wanted comfortable sleep so badly, yet here it was right at my fingertips and I was hating it. This feeling totally went away after I saw how great she did in her own bed/room, and how beneficial catching up on sleep was for all of us.
I dream fed her and then gave her another feeding around 5am, most of the whole first week. I wanted to kind of see if she really needed both or either feed, so I let her go a few nights in and she slept a full 12 hours! She’s been going strong since, with almost no feedings, I’ve fed her around 4-5am maybe 2 or 3 times, but most nights she goes straight through. She’s also taking two 90 minute naps + a 40 minute nap at the end of the day.
I am still so amazed at how well sleep training went for us. If I could recommend any investment for baby, this would be it. There are those babies who sleep through the night on their own from day 1, but from what I hear, it isn’t that easy for most of us! And it’s not just our nights that we have back, but our days. Shiloh is able to focus so much better on daytime activities and seems much happier overall, now that she is well-rested and getting adequate sleep during the night. I’m so grateful to Lauren for her knowledge & support through our sleep journey, and especially grateful that she let me text her my dozens (literally) of questions every day while we were navigating through that first week!
Photos by Leah Hardy