Most have heard of “Hell Week” from what the Navy Seals go through. My type of hell week I was preparing for was “crib training.” Crib training has been something I have been dreading since baby was born and I found out she was colicky. Colicky babies do not do well laying flat and without motion. When Kennedy first came home she slept in a bassinet then crib then swing. It went in this order because we were having sleepless nights due to her gas. Once we got her taking regular naps in the swing and she started sleeping through the night it was a no brainer she would remain in this forever. Wait…babies can’t sleep in a swing forever?! Kennedy started to get extremely long at about 2 1/2 months, which made her feet hang over and then she started to kick off the blanket we put under her arms. Now this baby is very particular. You could be sitting on the couch watching her sleeping soundly on the baby monitor and then hear a cry. Why? “Oh no the blanket fell off!” We would run upstairs and quickly cover that leg that was being exposed and then she was out like a light again. Once we started having temperature issues out here in Vegas and our thermostat became an issue we realized we needed to get a sleep sack. Only issue is you can’t buckle a baby in a sleep sack. We also have been wanting to visit family and friends back home in California, but we can’t fit a swing in a car with two dogs, a baby, a wife, and husband. All these issues starting to arise with her remaining in the swing left me no choice, but to start crib training. I have been delaying this due to my selfishness of wanting to sleep and not see her suffer laying flat due to her gas/colickyness.
To prepare for hell week I gathered a few items I have researched to help make this transition easier for both of us (Kennedy and I). Now being a first time mom and fearing SIDS is a nightmare; however I have come to realize that since I am nocturnal now I have less to fear since I am watching the baby monitor 24/7. My husband jokes about broadcasting the monitor on all TVs in each room since I am obsessed.
Operation Crib Tactics
I found a crib wedge you put under the sheet. This allows baby to sleep semi upright with an incline about 12 degrees. Next, I bought a dock a tot to put inside the crib. Apparently this is not advertised as so in the United States due to regulations; however, in Europe they do it. Think of the dock a tot like an expensive dog bed. A very expensive dog bed! This creates an in the womb feel that surrounds them with breathable fabric sides. You can also take this around when you travel for baby to sleep in or just hang out in. Third, I got a crib soother. I purchased the Baby Sea Einstein Crib Soother. From the research I have done this has worked pretty well with soothing your baby to sleep. Fourth, I got an arm swaddle. Also known to my husband as a straight jacket. This swaddles only babies arms. Fifth, I purchased a Halo sleep sack. Also known to my husband as a potato sack. And lastly my sixth item is her white noise machine. A combination of this all I was hoping would help this little crab sleep soundly.
Operation Crib Completed
The first actual day went surprisingly well. She cried for about 2 minutes and went right to sleep. I wasn’t following any specific method, but my own. My combination was cry it out mixed with don’t cry it out. Sounds ridiculous right? I decided to let her cry for about 2 minutes max and when that didn’t happen right away I was excited. She had a little cry for a few seconds and went straight to sleep. Bed time was another story. She cried off and on for a few hours at night time. Bed time is 7PM and we would start her night time routine. Once she finished her bottle it was into the crib. She started to wake up periodically through the night. We both got up and would walk to the crib and place our hand on her chest and pat it with saying “shh…” over and over. We would then walk away and let her cry for a few more minutes and come back. We didn’t want her to cry for a long time like some others I’ve heard do. Honestly, do what floats your boat.
Each day got better. Naps have seem to be the hardest in the later part of the day. The second night I could barely keep her awake to finish her bottle. I know you’re not supposed to put a sleeping baby in the crib, but I did. There was no way of waking her up when I was already struggling trying to get the last few ounces in her, so she was full for a full night sleep. When I put her to sleep already asleep I ran to my bedroom as fast as I could and put on my pajamas and hit the hay! I am so anxious to get to bed these days once she goes down for the night. Unfortunately, I am way behind on Fear of the Walking Dead because of that. I am not one of those people who can sleep when my baby sleeps during the day. If you are able to quickly fall asleep LUCKY YOU! I am so worried about her waking up early or it takes me just an hour to fall asleep. FEMALE BRAIN!
We are only on day 5 of crib training, but it’s actually going pretty well. It’s not as dreadful as I thought it would be. The first day was the worse, but it wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be. I’ll list below what I think were most helpful on this being a smooth transition.
TIPS & TRICKS
- Make sure your baby is ready. What I mean by this is – don’t start crib training until your baby can sleep through the whole night. Otherwise when your baby is crying you may be missing a cue that baby is hungry unless you know your babies cry really well.
- Make sure you are ready. If you are practicing cry it out method or not – you need to make sure you are ready for getting little sleep the first few days or week. I mentally prepared myself for this. If your spouse is willing to help then make sure to start on a weekend where you both can take turns napping to catch up on sleep or turns with the baby going into the room to comfort them.
- Start with as many soothers as possible. If you were using anything before – still use them and wean baby off gradually. Adjusting to the crib is hard enough.
- Have patience and remember it could go a lot better than you expect.
- I can believe in the cry it out method to a point. Half of the time she woke up and was crying – she truly did need something. It was mostly because she was either too hot or too cold. Once I put on a blanket or removed a blanket she was instantly back to sleep.
- Dock a tot – This has so far been great. Very expensive, but seems to be worth it. She likes the cozy in the womb feel. When she does kick though the buckle at the bottom opens up very easily. Also, you can use it when you travel. I assume baby will like consistency.
- Arm swaddle – This product has been a life saver! I thought Kennedy didn’t like to be swaddled, so I gave up. She actually just likes her arms swaddled. I learned this by holding down her arms when I rocked her in the swing. Turns out they have a product to just hold the arms down. You can still use in swing or crib. We have been using this for mostly naps. If we put a blanket on her then we usually do without it.
- Baby Einstein Crib Soother – This worked a few times. I mostly found my baby got irritated with it. It almost seemed like she kept trying to fall asleep and it was keeping her up. The few times it did get her to sleep she woke up when it stopped and then cried. My fear after using this a few times was that she would become reliant on it. The batteries go fast depending on how much you use it, so this was another fear if I ran out. I would still recommend it because it works for A LOT of other babies. There goes that saying, “Every baby is different.”
- Halo Sack – A friend on Facebook recommended it to me. This comes in different materials whether its summer or winter. However, I got the fleece one and muslim feel one depending on how cold you keep your house and babies outfit.
- White noise machine – This is a must! She loves it. I would recommend putting it on super loud. It may sound loud to you, but inside your womb it was louder.
- Crib Wedge – This works to an extent. If baby moves a lot in the night. They slide down. I might be removing this. I haven’t decided.
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We are still taking it day by day because each day seems to be better and then worse, but it seems to be heading in the right direction finally. I cannot wait to have this all set that way we can travel home to see friends and family. I am no expert and hope that anyone can use this to reference and I have this to go back to for possible future babies. Maybe…We will see.