Sleep training your baby can be a stressful time for you and your family. You may not be sleeping as well and the results of all your work may not seem obvious while you’re in the thick of it. Whether you’re using the Cry-It-Out method, Modified-Cry-It-Out, No-Cry, or any other method in between, it’s helpful to keep a detailed sleep log of your baby’s sleep rather than relying on your own subjective experiences. Facts are helpful to track progress, see improvements, and maintain your sanity.
What is a Sleep Log?
A sleep log is basically a fancy chart. On the x-axis (horizontal) mark a spot for each individual day for 14 days. On the y-axis (vertical) mark each hour of the day. Then grab some colored pencils and create a key for yourself.
For me, I like being very detailed with what I keep track of. I like to know when she’s sleeping, eating, playing (out of crib), set in crib, happy in crib, fussing off and on, mild cry, crying, and screaming.
I know, this is a lot to keep track of, but think big picture. Your baby’s day is made up of little events and sometimes those events are of her sleeping and sometimes they’re of her screaming her head off, and we usually just remember the latter. But when we have a chart, it shows us that in reality, her screaming fest only lasted 10 minutes out of the whole 24 hours, which is good!
When logging meals during sleep training, I don’t track every meal throughout the day. Instead what I do is measure when I feed her around sleep times. It’s more helpful to know how many times you fed your baby throughout the night, and whether she went right back to sleep afterward.
If baby isn’t sleeping through the night or wakes up a lot during the night, it may be because she isn’t getting a full feeding before bedtime. If you keep track of her feedings before bedtime, you can see if getting your baby a full feeding will help or if it’s another culprit waking her up at night.
This will also be helpful when you start dropping night feedings. You can just look at your sleep log and see what times you can start dropping.
Sleep logs are also helpful in keeping track and knowing how the crying went–whether she was just rolling around in her crib calling out every few minutes or crying really hard.
If you’re doing a modified-cry version, you can also track when you went in to console and for how long. This is important because your subjective memory sucks when you’re sleep training. Listening to your baby cry for 10 minutes can feel like an hour and doing this for one or two nights make it seem like it’s happening for weeks on end. Plus, you can look back over your log to see patterns and (hopefully) improvement.
Even if you’re doing a no-cry option or you’re not wanting to fully start sleep training yet, a sleep log is super helpful to track your baby’s natural patterns.
You will be able to see roughly when she goes down for each nap and about how long she sleeps. After you see a pattern develop, then you can more easily set a specified time for naps and help her get on a schedule that you know will work for her.
Consistency Is KEY!
When we sleep training my oldest everything was going fine, but after about day 5 everything went to crap. It was so frustrating and exhausting and I remember my husband saying, “I don’t know if this sleep training is even working!” I quickly grabbed the sleep log and showed it to him. “See, it’s working, it’s just a hiccup!”
Sleep logs can give you that proof that everything that you’re going through is working, you just have to roll with the punches and stay consistent!
Every baby is different, and if you’re really struggling with sleep training it’s OK to get help! I’d love to help you and your baby get the sleep that you need, so check out our consultation packages and start getting the sleep that you need.