Thoughts on Infant Training

Child training, for our family, always began in the hospital.

Before even starting our family, I participated in a Growing Kids God’s Way class at my church titled Preparation for Parenting by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo. I sat in the pew, excitement filling me, thinking, This makes sense! So I ordered my own book and tape set and studied up for our children’s future.

Our three girls could be poster children for the success of their first years. I scheduled, not rigidly, just making sure that:

  • No less than 2 hrs passed from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next. I aimed for 3 hours, but didn’t sweat it at two. My firstborn was in the 90th percentile, and I figured the child needed extra nourishment!
  • At night, I let them sleep as long as they would, not waking them to nurse, but nursing them if needed those first 8-10 weeks.
  • I kept to a strict cycle of: feedtime/waketime/naptime

According to the Ezzo’s, and I found this true with all three of my girls, if you switch up the “feed/wake/sleep cycle” you mess with the infant’s ability to sleep through the night by 8-10 weeks of age. So if you subscribe to this theory, your infant never requires sleep props, because you keep them awake after feeding. Even if you just tickle their feet or change their diaper, minutes of awake time with a newborn, are sometimes all you’ll get! They’ll develop the habit, with no hardship, of falling asleep on their own. (w/o rocking, bouncing, shushing, swaddling, nursing…)

My first child slept through the night at exactly 8 weeks of age. To the night. And we’re talking 10-12 hrs each night, consistently, except when teething!

My second child made me sweat it, wondering if firstborn had been a fluke. She didn’t start her 10 hours a night till she was 9 weeks old. But from then on, she too, remained a consistent sleeper.

Third daughter…same scenario. Worked like a charm.

I know you all think I’m spoiled with all that great sleep, but this was trained into them from the hospital by the scheduling.

I always stress that, because I think so often moms wait till they’ve got problems to try to figure out how to solve them…and then you’re in for a lot of fussing and “crying it out” if you go that route, and some have to if they want to break the habit and ever get their 2 or 3 or 4 year old to sleep through the night!

By starting out with my little routine from day 1, my infants fell right into line and I had the blessing of several things:

  1. Knowing that if they cried, its cause was either a dirty diaper or pain or needing cuddled. Btw, so often nursing becomes an overfeeding problem which can lead to upset tummies, fussing, etc, when maybe baby just needed more mommy-time…
  2. Knowing that I had a two or three hour block of time before the next feeding came in pretty handy when planning grocery expeditions, etc!
  3. Having a happy, well-adjusted infant and toddler who knew what to expect and had her expectations satisfied.

Another fun aside is that all our girls loved bedtime! People would be so amazed when visiting us at night and our crawling eight month old would grab her blankie and say, “Night-night!” (with no prompting from us) and head for her crib. Not a one ever gave us any bedtime trials. Kisses and hugs and special-lovin’ tucking in’s and they were practically counting Z’s before we had the door shut…

We’re all different, and I have nothing against breastfeeding on demand and co-sleeping…

I just can’t beat 10-12 hours of sleep at eight weeks post-partum! That, my dears, really rocks!