Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a planner. I like to know exactly what the plan is at all times, not really a "fly by the seat of my pants" kind of girl. So, you can imagine, those first couple weeks with a newbown were highly stressful for me. Boogie didn't seem to have any sort of schedule, eating normally about every three hours, but cluster feeding all the time as well. Sometimes sleeping for 4 hour stretches and other times not sleeping for more than 30 minutes. After about 3 weeks of chaos and no "plan" I was going crazy.
All I was reading everywhere on websites, message boards and blogs was "you cannot sleep train a newborn," and "do not let them CIO (cry it out) before 3 months of age." But I was desperate. I went to Borders and stood in front of the newborn/baby care section for an hour. I found the book "The Baby Sleeps Tonight." It stood out because it was short and easy to read and had actual schedules (ie: feed at this time, sleep at this time, etc) instead of just theories and ideas like the other books did.
The day Boogie turned 3 weeks old was the day we started TBSTP ("The Baby Sleeps Tonight Plan"). It was an instant miracle. The first night Boogie slept for 6 hours...straight! It's only gotten better and better as we have progressed though TBSTP. Not only was I a happier mommy because I was finally getting some sleep and some order to my day, but Boogie was a totally different baby...he was happy...all the time!
So now Boogie is 2.5 months old and we have reached what TBSTP calls our "ultimate schedule." It's the same everyday:
8am wake and eat
9:30am nap time
12pm wake and eat
3:30pm wake and eat
8-8:30pm maybe a quick catnap
8:30/9pm start our bedtime routine of bath and feeding for a 9:30/10pm bedtime (we're gradually starting to move this up earlier and earlier)
Not only does this help me with being able to plan activities, it keeps Boogie happy. This plan allows me to stay ahead of his needs. This is key in building trust; Boogie knows I'll be there to feed him when he's hungry or put him to sleep before he's overly tired and grouchy. I know exactly what's wrong when he gets crabby. It's helped build a great relationship between mommy and baby.
I used to try to help him fall asleep. We'd rock, bounce, walk, sing and it just made him crabbier and crabbier. He would start fighting to fall asleep and then become overly tired. One day, when he was about 1 month old, I said to myself, "I think this is just making it worse." So, I decided, when it's naptime/bedtime I'm just going to put him in his bed, turn on the mobile and some music and walk away. This is now our routine every time. He usually whines and fusses, sometimes for 10 minutes, but he eventually drifts off to sleep. If this means I'm letting him CIO, then I let my baby CIO...deal with it. If ever he is truly screaming-type crying I go in and interveen, but that doesn't happen often. He has learned to self soothe. He puts himself to sleep. If he wakes up/is woken up before it's time to get up, he can put himself back to sleep (sometime with the help of some more music/mobile action). He sleeps better and longer now, and wakes up happy.
So, when my baby was about 1.5 months old he was sleep trained and self soothing or CIO if that's what you want to call it. He's happy, healthy and growing like a weed. I'm sure there's plenty of people out there who disagree with our tactics but it works for us, deal with it!