All Aboard the Sleep Train!

23 Jan

© Photos by Ardith Ibañez Nishii

We have just begun Day 3 of trying to sleep train Cedro.  It’s time!

While we’ve been enjoying rocking him and snuggling with him for almost 6 months now, it’s time for us to teach him how to put himself to sleep.  We know it’s for everybody’s best interests for Baby C to learn how to self-soothe.  We share our bedroom with him and we all need to be able to sleep without waking each other up.  Plus, Cedro is now about 20 pounds and he’s only going to get heavier!  We physically can’t afford to let him become dependent on having someone rock him to sleep.  Without training, he has been sleeping pretty well for 2 to 5-hour blocks of time at night, BUT that’s with him snuggled between Mama and Papa in our bed and Mama functioning as The Human Pacifier.  His best daytime naps have been long, 2-hour naps, BUT that’s with me carrying him in our handy Baby K’Tan carrier.  No more BUTs!  No can do anymore!  Hence, the need for sleep training.  Here’s what we’re doing:

  • SITUATION AWARENESS: we’ve had to force ourselves to be more aware of time and of Cedro’s mood.  We’re trying to anticipate better when he needs a transition to a new activity… especially quiet time or sleeping.  We’ve been using the Baby Connect website to track his sleep.  It’s the same site we used to track his feeding when he was a newborn.  It’s a great way for us to anticipate when he’ll be ready to sleep.  It also helps us realize how long or short it takes for him to sleep.  Without tracking his crying, I’m sure 10 minutes would feel more like 30 minutes!
  • BEDTIME ROUTINE: apparently, babies thrive on consistency, so we’ve tried our best to establish a routine for both naps and nighttime bedtime.
    • FULL STOMACH: last week, we started to give Cedro some rice cereal before bed, hoping that the more solid food would keep him full and satisfied at night.
    • BATH: (at night)
    • NOISE MACHINES: ever since I was pregnant, I’ve been listening to the sound of the ocean at bedtime.  We have a regular sound machine and I also turn on the ocean sound on Cedro’s Ocean Wonders Mobile.  Baby C likes it loud!  We’ve noticed that if it’s too quiet, he jerks himself awake by the slightest sound.  If we’re not at home, we use my cell phone which has an album of nature sounds…
    • BREASTFEED: just to top him off.
    • STORY: I’ve been reading to him either “Guess How Much I Love You” or “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” since September when Ate Rhea and the Millers gave them to Cedro.  Now that we’re in sleep train mode, I’ve been reading to him while he’s already in the crib.
    • SONG: lately, Cedro has found “Do Re Mi” very soothing!  After the song, I say goodnight and give him a kiss and run out the door!  😀
    • CRY-IT-OUT METHOD:  we don’t go back in the bedroom until it’s time for his nighttime feeding.  In the meantime, we’re camped out in our office or the living room until it’s time to switch to the bedroom.


  • The most Cedro has cried before sleeping was for his first nap on Friday, 1/21/11.  He cried for 1 hour and 15 minutes before finally falling asleep.
  • Since that first sleep session of Operation Sleep Train, he has taken anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes to cry himself to sleep on his own in the crib.
  • We’ve timed a couple naps in the car while running errands because it’s impossible for us to just be at home tied to the crib during this whole process.
  • On the first night, after initially falling asleep, Cedro cried out in his sleep just for a couple minutes every 30-60 minutes over the course of 3 hours.  Then, he slept quietly for another 2.5 hours, clocking his total sleep time at 5.5 hours before we went in to feed him again.
  • Last night, he did the same thing but was on his own for 7.5 hours!  Maybe it was because he was more tired?  His crying was more intense for the 30 minutes it took for him to fall asleep initially.  My theory was that (a) we didn’t start the bedtime ritual soon enough and (b) putting him to bed with a pacifier in his mouth is a bad idea because it falls out after 5 minutes and makes him super-pissed off.
  • Each night, Brian and I don’t go into the bedroom at all until it’s time for the nighttime feeding and somehow Cedro is able to sleep another 4-4.5 hours in the crib even while we’re asleep in the same room.


  • We wouldn’t be able to survive all this without our infant video monitor.  I know other parents would rather not hear or see anything while sleep training their babies, but we’re addicted to watching his progress through the night.  We’ll watch him almost like we’re watching a sporting event and cheer him on!  We notice that as soon as he flips onto his stomach, he’s able to tire himself out and eventually calm down and fall asleep.
  • We also installed a padded bumper in his crib.  We know that these non-breathable ones are controversial but we’d rather have the padding to protect his head, hands, feet, arms and legs while he’s flailing around trying to get himself to sleep.  He’s a strong baby and he’s able to reposition himself fine.
  • We also use the Pampers Baby Dry Diapers at night because they’re a lot more absorbent and don’t leak as much as the cheaper brands that we use during the day — Target or Costco ones.
  • Thanks to Cedro’s Lolo and Lola, we have a tower space heater that keeps the room at a designated temperature.  Despite the glorious Los-Angeles-un-January-like weather in the 70s during the day, it can be rather chilly in our bedroom at night.  (Lolo and Lola got it at Costco.)

Woa!  This is a long blog post!  Thanks for reading!… I wanted to document this to remind us of our experience when it comes time to sleep train Baby #2 someday…  We’ll see what happens during Lolo and Lola’s visit this weekend for their monthly Cedro fix.  We’re just going to go with the flow and try our best to foster some healthy sleep habits for Baby C.  The good news is that despite all this new stuff and sleep train stress thrown at him, he still wakes up happy and smiling. (Knock on wood!)

PS: Extra special thanks to our friends, Jennifer and Dale, who encouraged us to toss all the techniques out the window and just go for it.  We think it’s working!  Thanks for inspiring and motivating us!

© Photos by Ardith Ibañez Nishii

2 Responses to “All Aboard the Sleep Train!”

  1. Konrad May 10, 2011 at 7:23 AM #

    congrats on getting the sleep regime going! you’re so thorough and well equipped! Cedro looks radiant, what amazing eyes & skin. Our Kiyoshi’s surprisingly brown-skinned. I have one Japanese uncle who seems darker. good luck on getting little Cedro on the program!

    • Ardith May 10, 2011 at 8:50 PM #

      hi, konrad! thanks for checking out C’s blog! hope all’s well with you, michelle and the new baby! would love our boys to meet someday soon! take care. xoxoABC

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