Sleep Training with Lennon
So a few weeks ago I posted a story series announcing our decision to sleep train. I was overwhelmed with the amount of people who wanted to know how it went, so I decided to write up a quick summary on our experiences. While most people were curious, I did get a few hateful messages about our decision and so I kindly ask that you read this without judgement.
It is pretty difficult to be so transparent about my life on such a social platform, but I do it because the positives outweigh the negative. I think the coolest part about parenting is that there isn’t a one size fits all philosophy. YOU get to decide what’s best for your children! So without further rambling, here is our story.
We never intended to co-sleep with either Winter nor Lennon. For both kids, we had little bassinets next to our bed, but when we would try to put our children down, they would wail inconsolably. Both of my kids preferred to sleep in our arms so while it’s not deemed the most safe way to co-sleep, that is what we did to catch a few zzz’s each night.
With Winter, I went back to work right at 13 weeks. I knew that holding her or having her sleep in a co-sleeping pillow in our bed wasn’t working anymore because I could never fully allow myself to sleep as I was always aware of her being right next to me. We transitioned her to her own room and her own crib right about the time I was going back to work. We lived in a super quaint bungalow style home so even though she was in a different room, she was really only about ten steps away from us.
With Lennon, he either has the option to stay in our room with us or transition him to the same room as Winter. We have a spare room down in the basement but both of us aren’t comfortable having our kids down there. Our long term plan is to have Winter and Lennon share a room but we don’t want to even attempt that until Lennon is sleeping through the night (because let’s be real, the last thing we need is a grumpy three-year-old in the house).
At four-months-old, Lennon was wanting to nurse throughout the entire night. He was waking me up constantly to eat and would cry when he fell asleep and realized he wasn’t still nursing. I knew that having him in our bed was starting to affect my mental well-being and we had to make a change. On top of that, Lennon would ONLY take naps in our arms which meant that either Perry or I would hold him several times a day so he could sleep. I will never regret having him sleep in our arms for those first few months. Those snuggles are memories I hold so dearly but I knew that if we kept going on like we were, Lennon would become too dependent on us to sleep. That’s when I met, Maylyn from May Dreams Consulting.
DID YOU KNOW THAT BABIES CAN SMELL YOUR BREAST MILK UP TO 20 FEET AWAY?
When I first spoke to Maylyn I told her about our sleeping arrangements and she asked me a ton of questions. Her demeaner was so calm it made me feel right at ease from the get go. She explained a few different sleep training methods and was extremely knowledgable about the science behind sleep, assuring me that any method we chose could be modified to fit within our comfort zone. I NEVER felt like my instincts were dismissed nor felt pressured to do it completely by the book. Our main goal was to get Lennon transitioned into his crib but still remain in our room for both naps and at night.
We decided that since my breastmilk was waking him up (that little shark!), I would sleep in the basement for an extended period of time while Perry slept in the same room as Lennon.
We decided to start the process at night. Here’s how it went. I nursed Lennon and as he was getting drowsy and no longer actively eating, I unlatched him and placed in him the crib. Maylyn had developed a sleep goal plan for us that she had emailed to us that day and was on stand by to answer any questions that we may have had. So I laid him down, said goodnight, and walked out of the room. He began crying and my Mama heart sank. I gave Perry the biggest hug and we texted Maylyn to tell her the status. The sleep method we were using is called Interval Checks. We would wait a certain period of time before going in to say to him “Goodnight little buddy, you’re okay, time for sleep.” The first night he cried on and off for twenty minutes before falling alseep. He never wailed, it was more like a fuss cry as if he was protesting his new sleeping accommodations.
Lennon slept for three straight hours. He had NEVER done that before! I nursed him and he ended up waking up every 2.5-3.5 hours. It was a huuuge first night success and we all woke up feeling refreshed and hopeful!
The next day was a little tough for naps. Lennon ended up crying for an extended period of time, around 45 minutes, and I couldn’t handle it so I walked in and acted as though he slept saying, “Good morning little buddy. Time to wake up.” I kept him up for a little bit and when he showed his classic signs of being tired (rubbing his eyes, grunting) I started the process again. The second time around didn’t go very well either and I ended up picking him back up. But by the third round, he fell asleep within three minutes and from that nap forward, he literally cries (and I use that term lightly because his cry for naps sounds more like a whimper) for 10 seconds to two minutes before he drifts off to sleep. Naps are seriously a breeze and he wakes up cooing and is just as happy as a clam. He will often stay in his crib a few minutes before making peep when he wakes up just looking at his hands. It’s pretty cute.
For nights, I feel like we are still slowly getting there. He will wake up between two to three times per night. He usually stirs before 10 PM and I do a dream feed. He then typically wakes up around 2-3AM and I feed him again before he falls back asleep and wakes up for the day around 6:30AM.
Lennon has done a few five hour stretches and I can see him starting to consolidate more consistently. I have no doubt that as he gets older, he will continue to keep extending his stretches and I am not pushing it. I am really just content with him being able to fall asleep on his own in a peaceful manner and getting refreshing sleep.
Maylyn was there for us every step of the way. She checked in and on the hard moments, always reminded me that I was a good mother and reassured me. I would highly recommend her! It was priceless feeling like I had someone on our team that could coach us, problem solve, and guide us in a way that felt consistent with our parenting style. She really is so knowledgable and such a gem of a human.
Oh and if you want to find out more about Maylyn, here’s a little bio for you with all of her expertise and trainings. She is incredibly knowledgable and I have no doubt that you will love her too! Her website is May Dreams Consulting and her Instagram page is: @maydreamssleep.
Hello! I am Maylyn. I live in American Fork, Utah with my husband Cody and our 2 little boys. I enjoy being outdoors, running and I am passionate about helping children sleep!
I didn’t know anything about sleep training when I had my first child. I learned very quickly how essential sleep is for the success of the whole family. As I researched online and read books on my own, I found a lot of conflicting and confusing information. I have many friends and family members who have children who won’t sleep through the night for years, or who don’t have a good nap schedule. Some of these people feel that this is just the way their life has to be now that they are a parent. That’s not true! I became a certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant through The Family Sleep Institute so that I can help you see through all the conflicting information and be able to get more rest for your entire family. Let’s get you sleeping!
People hear "sleep training" and automatically assume that means the mom is leaving her child to cry all night, but that is simply not true. I have been trained in several methods that range from extremely gradual, to the well-known Cry it Out method. Whatever the person's parenting style, there is a way to help their child sleep!
Here is a list of some of the things I can help with:
Educating new and expecting parents about how to establish healthy sleep habits from the beginning
Working with children between the ages of 4 months-5 years to create a consistent sleep schedule
Helping coordinate the sleep schedules of multiples
Working through transitions such as dropping a nap or moving from a crib to a bed
Working with children with special needs
And a list of my certifications and training:
Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, Family Sleep Institute
Reducing the Risk of SIDS in Early Education and Child Care, American Academy of Pediatrics
Lactation Management Training, Lactation Education Resources
Sleep Consulting with Families Who Have Children with Special Needs, Debbie Sasson, PsyD
Parent Coaching, Sasha Carr, PhD
Child Behaviors and How to Find the Right Language for Success, Sharyn Timerman
The Incidence, Pathophysiology, and Treatment of GERD During Infancy, Warren Shaprio, MD
*May Dreams Consulting offered her consultation services for free. I decided to include her in this post because I was so pleased with her and how much she supported us!
Photography by Kyla Fear