12 by 12: The Basic Concept
I know I have a lot of posts on 12 by 12. This one is really stripping it down to the most simple terms.
The sleep training method “12 by 12” is Suzy Giordano’s method to have babies sleeping or in their cribs alone for 12 hours by the time they are 12 weeks old.
Sounds crazy right?! I thought so too. But 6.5 years ago I decided to give it a try and it changed my life. I’ve done a slightly modified version successfully with 3 kids as you can see from the pictures below. (All 3 eliminated the night feeds even before 12 weeks!)
The method essentially moves feeding from being something that happens over 24 hours to only 12 hours. It starts with a day schedule of 4 feeds every 4 hours, for example: 7 am, 11 am, 3 pm and 7 pm. Once that is set, the night feeds (any feed between 7 pm – 7 am) are slowly eliminated by gradually decreasing each feed by .5 ounces every 3 nights. As the night feeds are decreased, the day feeds increase to make up for the eliminated ounces. In basic terms, they eat enough in the 12 day hours, that they then don’t need to eat at night.
The second part to the method is that from a very young age, babies learn to fall asleep on their own and learn to hang out happily when they wake up. This part, which is all they ever really know because you start so young, is a skill they will continue to use as their hours of sleep change. Even if they don’t sleep the full 12 hours, they know how to be alone in their crib for the full time and don’t need an adult running in the second they wake up.
12 by 12 gave me predictable days and full nights sleep for years, and I’m so grateful for Suzy’s book – 12 hours sleep by 12 weeks old. As I said, I do modify the method slightly. I add a cat nap between the 3rd and 4th feedings which the book advises against and I do the 4th feeding earlier so that they are in the crib by 7 pm.
William was my first time sleep training. As you can see I would nurse the morning feed and then do 3 bottles. He had only 1 night feed to eliminate, it was 4.5 oz so we decrease .5 every 3 nights.
Same story with James for the day feeds. James had 2 night feeds to eliminate. At 9 weeks we were down to 1 night feed of 4 oz.
Being the second time, I made more notes in my log. 3/15 and 3/16 I needed to give the paci at 6:20 am. 3/17 no paci and slept until 7:15 am.
I use the paci to hold off feeds, but I take it away by 12 weeks latest.
With Sophie you can see I still nursed the morning feed, but I would top it off with a bottle.
She had 2 night feeds to eliminate. I eliminated the second one first, keeping the first feed at 4 oz. Once the second night feed was gone, then eliminated that one by .5 oz every 3 nights. Sophie’s sleep training is outlined in this post.
*before I begin scheduling, I feed on demand and have no schedule. These pages are all once sleep training has started, in another post I will share some pages from my feeding log from the beginning.