When my daughter was 3 months old we had developed a great bedtime routine with our pediatrician. She had acquired a lot of good sleep skills and was sleeping long stretches at night. I was feeling great. It wasn’t perfect, but we were finally coming out of a sleep deprived haze. Then came teething, major growth, a travel nursing assignment out of state, and other things that lead to a lot of sleep regression. Next thing we knew the techniques we had implemented were long gone and we were right back in that sleep deprived state again.
At 16 months I knew we couldn’t do this anymore and we finally took the plunge and invested in the Taking Cara Babies Sleep Training Course. In less than 2 weeks our daughter was sleeping independently for naps and bedtime. I was no longer spending 30-60 minutes rocking her to sleep every night and then trying to transfer her to her bed without waking her. She was sleeping 9-12 hours a night and I finally felt like I could be the mom, the wife, and employee that I wanted to be. I started to feel more like me again instead of a zombie.
What is Sleep Training
Sleep training is a general term that is used to describe various techniques that parents use to assist their babies and toddlers to sleep independently for long stretches of time at night. There are multiple sleep training programs developed by various pediatricians and sleep training experts. They use different methods and follow different theories. There is no one right method or program for sleep training. Each child and parent will be different, and what is important to one family may not be important to others. If you choose to sleep train, find a program that fits your values and you can commit to.
How Sleep Training Can Benefit Your Family?
Sleep is an essential part of life and improves your overall health. I went through a phase were I aggressively studied sleep, and because of what I learned I am very protective of my family’s sleep (my favorite book is The Sleep Solution). Many doctors and researchers still don’t know exactly what happens to our brains when we sleep, but research shows chronic sleep deprivation is disastrous to our health. Poor sleep negatively affects cardiovascular health, blood sugar, blood pressure, weight management, inflammation, and cholesterol levels. In the short term you can also feel the brain fog and irritability that comes with poor sleep.
It is impossible to get 7-8 straight hours of sleep a night with a newborn or even the first few months, but sleep training can assist you in getting longer and longer stretches of quality sleep. If sleep training isn’t the right thing for you or you just want more support a postpartum doula could be a good idea for your family the first few weeks or months postpartum.
Once my youngest was 3 months old and sleep trained I was getting 6-11 hour stretches of sleep at night regularly. I personally saw a huge improvement in my overall mood, motivation levels, ability to connect with my husband and my child, and better eating habits. I just felt like a new person when I started sleeping again.
My Honest Experience with Taking Cara Babies Sleep Training Course
After scouring the internet I came across Taking Cara Babies sleep training course. I watched her videos for a long time prior to purchasing her course. My husband didn’t watch the courses with me but was open and receptive to all the things I learned. We printed off the plan and he was my rock to help me stick to it.
Sleep Training Our Toddler
The first night was not easy, and neither was night two or three. However, by using her tracking method I could see that my daughter was making progress in her sleep, so we continued on. We took steps to monitor her safety by having a video monitor. My daughter has a very strong personality. She is particular and likes things done in a certain way in all aspects of her life. Her strong will did not take kindly to our sudden obstruction to her bedtime routine.
The first few nights she threw herself down on the crib, kicked the railings, and cried so hard her lips turned blue (this is a pretty normal occurrence when she has a tantrum). Like I said she is very strong willed and doesn’t like when things don’t go exactly the way she wants them to.
But, looking back at our log of the first few days she was settling faster and requiring fewer interventions from us as parents. She had fewer night wakings and was sleeping later in the morning. The progress was minimal at first, but by day 10 she had only protested for 1 minute and had put herself to sleep in 5 minutes. That night she slept until 6:30 am with no night wakings. The next night proved it was not just a fluke. It got easier and easier and suddenly we were all feeling better and better every day.
We have had some hiccups since sleep training, as our lives have changed. When we moved we saw her backtrack and we just implemented the steps in the plan again. In a day or two she was sleeping independently again. When we brought home her baby brother a month later we recommited to the program and it took a few days to get back on track again, but quickly she returned back to her good sleep patterns.
Sleep Training Our Newborn
When our son was born a few months later we knew we wouldn’t wait as long to sleep train him. We took the Taking Cara Babies sleep training course for the first five months so we could instill good sleeping skills from the beginning. This course was different because it’s not developmentally appropriate to sleep train a newborn in the traditional sense. Newborns need to eat about every 2-3 hours and aren’t developmentally at the same place to implement the same techniques.
I learned some skills, however, that I could implement immediately during his naps and when putting him down for bed. I learned about swaddling, reading his sleep cues, and pausing before intervening to support health sleep habits early. Within the first week he was taking naps in his bassinet. These were the first steps to learning healthy sleep habits for the future.
The facts that I could get him to sleep in a bassinet for almost all of his naps was life changing with a 18 month old toddler. With my first she napped on me all the time, and I got absolutely nothing done. With my youngest being able to sleep in a bassinet, I could either sleep as well or give my toddler some much needed one on one time. I still let him sleep on me from time to time, because I just wanted to snuggle with him and that’s okay.
The thing I loved about the Taking Cara Babies sleep training programs was that she gave me tools to adapt to the different concerns and struggles that came up. The tips and tools were things that anyone could learn to do and her Instagram & course videos showed me real life examples of what everything looked like. I know it might not be everyone’s cup of tea but for me and my family it was life changing.
Pros vs Cons
- Some crying involved (if you are not comfortable with crying)
- Expensive investment
- Only have access to the course for 4 months
- 30 day money back guarantee is a short window to watch the videos and implement techniques
Tips I Took From the Course
- Make a bedtime book: Children understand more than you think and they often want to understand the why. My daughter understood so much about what was happening even though she didn’t have the words to respond to me yet. Taking cara babies sleep training course advised that you make a bedtime book to help your child understand the change that was coming. I made a simple book out of a cheap walmart folder, sheet protectors, and printed off photos. It wasn’t pretty, but we read it every night before bed to help her understand what to expect. This helped her understand she was safe and we would be there when she woke up the next day.
- Consistency is Essential: This was the hardest to implement. By picking up your child while sleep training even once when they are crying you are communicating to them that if you cry hard enough eventually we will pick you up and give into your desires. We would actually be encouraging that behavior when placing her in a crib through intermittent reinforcement. It was hard, but I found ways to comfort and support her without picking her up and “rescuing” her from her crib.
- Keep Track: Write down when you put them to sleep, how long they cried, when you intervened, and how long it took them to settle again. By keeping track of how things go over time you can see the progress even when it is small. It will help you stay the course and not give up.
- Have a Camera Monitor: It makes it a lot easier to walk out and hear their cries when you can watch and make sure they are safe. I knew when I needed to intervene and when it was safe to let her work it out on her own. My favorite baby monitor is just 40 dollars.
- Crying Isn’t Always a Bad Thing: As a parent when your kid cries you want to rush to their aid, but through this process I learned that crying is a form of communication. Not all crying is bad crying. Through a lot of this process my daughter was communicating her discomfort and reluctance to try something new. She liked the way we were doing things before sleep training, and she was communicating to me that she didn’t want to change. However, in this case change was necessary and was honestly best for all of us.
- Bedtime Routines are Important: Consistent dependable routines will help your child prepare for sleep. As you go through your nighttime routine it calms their mind and prepares them to sleep. They know what to expect and feel your faith and trust in them. We learned to tell our children exactly what was happening so they knew we weren’t abandoning them, but had faith and trust in them to sleep independently. They knew we would be there if they needed us and in the morning we would wake them up and have a great day.
This sleep training method is not for everyone. If you can’t commit to following the program for at least 14 days, then it may not be a good fit for you. There is no shame in it not being a good fit for you. What feels good for some won’t work for all. I found it to be the answer to my family’s sleep deprivation and has helped both of my children develop healthy sleep skills. Our once long and drawn out bedtime routine is now an enjoyable 15 minute process. Whatever you choose I wish you well on your sleep journey and would recommend looking into Taking Cara Babies sleep training to see if it could be a good fit for your family.
Jess is a registered nurse with over 6+ years of critical care experience for patients young and old and is the mother of two small children. After having her own children she felt inspired to provide mothers with real actionable guidance and education to make informed decisions throughout their pregnancy and postpartum experience.