Do Less Dad’s Sleep Training Guide:
Have you ever heard that adage that there is a chemical in turkey that makes you sleepy? It’s true. It’s science. The chemical is Tryptophan. And it works like clockwork. Every Thanksgiving I stuff my face with seven plates of turkey, and low and behold, afterwards Im sent into a deep sleep coma on the couch. In any event, I recommend using this science to your advantage. Cook a gigantic Turkey feast. Throw it in a blender (maybe add a few scoops of formula), throw it in a baby bottle and let your little pilgrim go to town. Before you know it, your baby will be unbuckling his/her belt and taking a snooze on the couch with a football game on in the background. Bingo bango bongo! Asleep!
The Real Guide:
In all seriousness, the message here is pretty short because aside from following the steps outlined in the book entitled “Twelve Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks old” by Suzy Giordano, I really don’t have any further advice. All I know is we followed the general guidelines of this book and for all our kids, they were sleeping through the night either exactly by 12 weeks or shortly thereafter. This in itself is a huge feat, as I have many friends who are parents who didn’t start sleep training with their kids until like 6 or 7 months (whether by choice or not).
The basic premise of this book is that sleep is a learned behavior just like any other behavior and needs to be taught very early on before the baby picks up bad sleep habits which is very easy for them to do. The strategy the book outlines falls somewhere in the middle of the two extreme spectrum: On the one extreme, you have parents who let their babies “cry it out” until they finally fall asleep on their own and on the other side you have parents that hold/console their babies until they fall asleep in their arms. Simply put the middle ground idea offered in the book is to slowly ween your baby off their bottle by progressively waiting a little longer in between feedings. So during those stretches if/when they cry, you sort of let them without picking them up (the book encourages you to go pat them on the back and so “hang in there”, “I’m here for you”, but to not pick them up). The idea is that by waiting longer between bottles they learn that they can go longer without feeds while simultaneously learning to fall asleep on their own without being cradled/held. I’m obviously simplifying the approach and strongly recommend that you read the whole book which outlines the details of the approach and even includes a pretty handy schedule you can follow.
HELPFUL TIP: Stick with it. There were a few times I didn’t think this approach would work but low and behold by the time the 12th week hit, they were sleeping 12 hrs/all the way through the night.
Closing Thoughts: In the end, every parent and every baby is different so do what works for you. All I know is this worked great for us and by 12 weeks we ALL finally got some sleep (of course after I ate a huge turkey dinner).