April 7, 2022

Dr. Hoffman’s Experience with Sleep Training her 4.5 month old

DR. HOFFMAN HAD A BABY RECENTLY

As my second child approached four months, my husband and I were getting a lot of “you look
tired” comments. I was investing in a lot of under-eye concealer and eye creams, hoping I could
mask my fatigue with the right product- but there was no hiding it- I was totally sleep-deprived. I
kept waiting for her sleep to magically improve… and guess what? It just kept getting worse. At
that point, I decided it was time to use some of my pediatrician contacts and try to get some
help with sleep training. We had been going back and forth about sleep training our baby, Joni,
but every night I found an excuse to postpone, mostly due to my fear of hearing her cry. It all just
felt so random to one night decide to no longer feed her or comfort her when we had been doing
it every night since the day she entered our lives.

REMEMBER THAT IG LIVE ABOUT SLEEP?

Enter… Carolynne Harvey of Dream Baby Sleep. We hopped on an IG live and discussed
what I was comfortable with. Carolynne offers a variety of techniques, but I settled on “check
and console” which is similar to the classic “Ferber” method. In short, it involves letting the baby
cry for short periods of time and checking them. As the nights go on you increase the amount of
time you wait before checking the baby. I wasn’t comfortable completely cutting Joni off feeds at
this point, since until now she had been getting up to three bottles overnight, so we settled on
one feed at night, anytime after midnight.

 

4B’s

Night one was the toughest, but surprisingly, not too bad. We performed the nighttime routine,
bottle, bath, book, and bed. She fell asleep on her own very quickly. She woke up a few times
before midnight, but never cried more than seven minutes before going back to sleep. The first
night we let her cry three minutes before going in, and then five for subsequent checks. The
second night we moved to five/ seven and the third seven/ nine. We never had to go any longer
than that. Honestly, she got it after night one. For a few weeks, she was waking around 12:30
and feeding once, and then waking for the day between 6-6:30.

 

CHECK AND CONSOLE:

After about a week she started to try and move that feed before midnight and we had to do a
little more check and console… but guess what- then she dropped that night feed altogether.
Every night is not perfect- we still have the occasional crying, but she soothes herself very
quickly. The stomach virus was a little hiccup, but we got through it.

 

WHAT ABOUT NAPS:

Carolynne’s advice about naps has been so helpful. Before our session we were pretty laissez-faire about the nap schedule, she was taking 3-4 per day and the length was variable. As per Carolynne’s advice, we moved to a 9,12,3 schedule with the first two being in the crib and the last nap can be wherever. She insists that you keep the baby in the crib for a full hour for the first two naps, you can check and console if they are crying. For the most part, we have stuck to this and about 50% of the time Joni will fall back asleep if she wakes before the hour, and get another 30-40 min of sleep.

SHE WAS ASKING FOR IT:

We definitely will continue to tweak her schedule and I am still anxious that every night will be THE NIGHT HER SLEEP GOES TO HELL, but so far, so good. I have no regrets about sleep training Joni- it almost felt like she was asking for it she took to it so easily. By no means is this a “one size fits all” solution, but it worked really well for our family. I am much happier and able to concentrate at work, less moody with everyone else around me, and appreciate Joni much more during our hours together. Carolynne was wonderful about keeping me in line as I often try to cut corners a bit and let Joni wake a little early, or cut the nap off at 40 minutes instead of the full hour, but really sticking to her plan has worked.

 

JUST HAVE A PLAN:

One of the most helpful things about working with Carolynne was just having a plan. The plan doesn’t have to be the same for everyone, but if you and your partner can agree on a plan and stick to it, it goes far. There is so much variability in babies and their temperaments – so unfortunately I can’t promise this will work for every family, but if you are considering doing some form of sleep training feel free to reach out to the provider at MVP for a telehealth consultation and we can help lead you in the right direction.

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