Photos by Eric and Jamie Photo
It’s no secret that we are huge fans of the Moms on Call program in our house! I used it with Leyton when he was a baby and again now, with Finn and it has been really successful for us! Praise the Lord for any sleep you can get with a newborn!
I am pretty public about our use of Moms on Call because I just love it that much, but also because it works! So many of y’all have commented on how blessed we are to have two boys who are great sleepers and don’t get me wrong, we sure are blessed!
But, I have to give all the props to Moms on Call and some really awesome mama friends in my life who shot me straight about what motherhood can look like day to day. That’s part of the reason I love this community so much…we all look out for how we can support each other whether we agree on the exact specifics of how to parent or not.
Y’all have asked a lot of questions specifically about our use of Moms on Call and today I wanted to answer those for you!
I want to put a little disclaimer here and say that I know that this method is not for every mom or every baby. If, upon reading our take on it, you feel that this just isn’t for you…that is okay. Just know that this is our own personal take on it and it’s 110% worked for us and I have sworn by it for both of my boys!
A lot of the questions I have gotten from you guys are about how the program works and how nit-picky we are about it. In general, we are NOT super nit-picky about it! You’ll see that theme throughout the answers to these questions below.
So, without further ado, I’m sharing a little bit more in-detail about how we do Moms on Call and answering some of the most popular questions. If there is anything that I don’t answer, feel free to send me a message or leave me a comment!
What Is Moms On Call?
Answers To YOUR Questions About Moms On Call
@kaitbanderson – “Do you use any sleep props? Does MOC allow any of these?”
- Moms on Call is very specific about the fact they want you to use only their swaddle or to buy something large enough that you can make work the same way they do it. However, we’ve used all different swaddles ranging from the blankets from the hospital when they were first born to the zip-up type or others that you’ll see in Finn’s early posts like his newborn must-haves or his early monthly updates. We also tried the Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit. But, once they can start rolling over, you’re supposed to transition them out of those types of swaddles. He now uses a sleep sack that doesn’t have any sleeves.
@laurasroberson – “When Finn cries in the middle of the night do you pick him up from his crib to comfort him?”
- At first, they recommend going in to “pat and shush” and pop the paci back in their mouths and calm them down and then leave the room. They recommend to do that no more than 3 times before picking them up to calm them. The only exception to this rule is when they are in pain like when they are teething. Eric and I used to always tell each other, when we were first starting to let him cry it out, something along the lines of “if I can just let him cry for this 15 minutes or 20 minutes or 45 minutes (one time he cried for an hour), it will lead to years of good sleep in the future”.
@ellspin – “Does it involve having them cry it out? Also does this still work if the baby sleeps in the room with you?”
- Basically, Moms on Call would tell you to move the baby out of your room once you are starting to let them cry it out. Keeping them in there with you is like teasing them with their favorite food in their “kitchen” because they can smell your breastmilk and they just want to eat because they’re smelling you right there. So yes, we do follow the cry-it-out method. I think baby Finn slept in our room for about 6-8 weeks and I think that both Leyton and Finn stayed in our room for longer than MOC would have recommended.
@staci_marie_d – “At what age did you start sleep training the boys?”
- I can’t remember exactly, to be perfectly honest. I think MOC says you can start sleep training at 12 weeks but they encourage creating great habits from the get-go! With Leyton I think we waited until about 3-4 weeks and with Finn I think we started with closer to exactly when MOC says you can.
@mhr_c – “Eager to see this post. My baby is 1 month old and no schedule due to big sis/life/exhaustion”
- Girl, I hear that! If you check out my post about our daily schedule with Finn, you can see how we make the MOC schedule work for us. In general, I know that he needs a morning and afternoon nap. In the beginning, I knew he’d only be awake at 2 hours max at a time. When we’d be out and about if he needed to just fall asleep in his carseat so be it. I would just transfer him into his crib and if he cried I would just leave him for a bit until he fell back asleep. We try to keep to the schedule but we make it work for us. If we can’t keep to the schedule, it’s not the end of the world to me. I’d rather him be on some type of a schedule and try to get those naps in when he needs them rather than be on no schedule at all. In general right now, I try to give Finn a nap every 2-3 hours that he’s awake and that’s his “schedule”. If we have to extend him (ex: if we’re out at the pool or something with Leyton) I just feed him lots of snacks and try to keep him as happy as I can until we can get home and get him down then.
@abby.varner – “My baby now can stand up and has regressed and just screams! What to do!”
- Honestly, this is one of those times where you have to just embrace the stink, if you know what I mean. Yes, I know it’s hard but you just have to let them cry. You have to start with an understanding between you and your significant other that you’re going to let them cry it out because if you haven’t decided that, you’re just going to go in and get them because you’re tired and there’s nothing worse than a screaming baby at 3AM.
@stephdatnoff – “How to better adapt 2nd baby to MOC schedule. Just aim to hit “Crazy Day” times as the book calls it?”
- I really just worked (and continue to work) the schedule around what has been best for us. For example, MOC says that you should wake your baby up everyday by 7AM. Personally, I sure as heck wasn’t going to get them up at 7AM if I didn’t have to. A lot of times during his first year, baby Finn was up at 7AM for a feeding (now it’s more like 7:45AM). I would get him up, feed him, and then put him back down until I was ready for him to be up around 8:30 or 9, or whatever the case may be. Now sure, if you work best on being on a regimented schedule then go for it! For me, I like the general outline of the schedule but I like to be able to make it work for me. We are not beholden to the schedule. The schedule works for us, not the other way around!
@mrslexieagan – “What do you do if your baby wakes up an hour earlier than feeding time crying/hungry?”
- So, technically Moms on Call tells you to start each day at 7 am but because I don’t have to start the day then usually, I go in and feed Finn (usually closer to 7:45 am when he wakes up) and put him right back down. I keep the lights off, don’t speak and keep it a very clear sleeping environment that is intact. I’m trying to remember the exact answer to this but I usually crank up my sound machine and make them wait so I don’t show that this is an ok new normal. Some people think that’s a time to move to the next schedule if memory serves me correctly. BUT sleep is really important to me so sometimes on Saturdays I’ll use this same go in and give the bottle and walk back out method to let us all sleep in as late as we want. For instance, Finn slept in till 10 am recently on a Saturday after I gave him his bottle at 8:45 am.
@beaconstantine – “When your day is a crazy one out and about, what do you stick to and are flexible on in the schedule?” “Doing this too! Tips for helping baby transition when they move to a new age schedule?”
- I just make the most of it! For instance early on, I’d still take Leyton to the Zoo or McWane Center and if Finn was tired enough, he’d fall asleep in the stroller. When we’d get home if he’d only been napping for a bit, I’d transition him straight to the crib and make him continue the nap for the 1.5 to 2 hours. You don’t let them nap more than 2 hours so they know there is a definitive difference between nighttime sleep and naps. Again, I’m very much so a loose follower of Moms on Call, so if I don’t want to bump up in the schedule and Finn is still thriving on it…we just go with it.
YOUR Moms On Call Feedback
“Mom’s On Call has completely changed the game for me as far as getting my daughter on a better sleep routine. At 7 1/2 months old, she still wasn’t sleeping through the night, and hearing her cry made my anxiety sky rocket. The one line from the book that I kept going back to during the first night we tried the Moms On Call method was “They are safe, they are loved and they can learn to do this.” That was exactly what I needed to hear.
After that first hard night, my daughter slept through the night the next two consecutive nights in a row. Everyone (my husband, my daughter and myself) got much needed sleep, and I got the boost of encouragement that I needed as a mother to keep going with the plan. Not every night has been perfect, but I’m seeing progress which is so encouraging! And even more, I feel encouraged, supported, and educated as a mother. Moms On Call was exactly what I needed!” -Mary Ellen
“Our daughter Macie was 6 months old when we decided to give Moms on Call a try. We had tried other sleep training methods and it just didn’t work for us. She was waking up 2-3 times a night, we were living in a tiny apartment at the time, she was still in our room and something had to give. So I bought the MOC book for 6-15 months old and I started on the schedule to a “t”.
The other methods that we had tried didn’t arm me with nearly as much knowledge or confidence. MOC made me feel like I could really take charge of this situation and lovingly teach my daughter how to sleep. They gave me permission to take charge of my own emotions and do what was best for her so that all of us could get a good nights sleep. The sweet ways that they firmly reassure you that you are doing the right thing was so huge for me.
Now, at a year old, Macie is such a champion sleeper! She’s flexible when we need her to be and it’s amazing. My only regret is not starting it sooner! When baby #2 comes along, we are definitely jumping on the MOC train way sooner!” – Noelle
Our Typical Schedule
Right now, Finn typically gets up at 7:45 to feed, back to bed till about 9, pop him in the car to head to the gym, workout and lay him back down for nap at about 11:30. He’ll nap from 11:30-1 while Leyton and I have activity time and then he gets up and we all eat lunch together or I work while the sitter is there. Finn will be up from 2-3 hours at a time and take a nap again if needed…perhaps a cat nap then dinner playtime, bath and bed.
We just flex as needed and I reference the app on my phone when I’m at a loss for what to do with my Moms On Call Schedule. It’s a great guide for me!
Just like anything else in life, I think you’ll find if you give yourself grace you can really enjoy this structure when needed. As a new mom without much experience with babies, this was a God-send for me. I’d highly encourage you to check out the podcast Moms On Call did with Surviving Sarah on iTunes. You’ll see their heart for the program and mama’s so evidently and really find a lot of trust in why this may be a good option for you!
No matter what you choose, mama, trust your heart and instinct. You know what’s best for you and your child. If there’s one thing I encourage you in it’s that when sweet baby is crying at night, remember they are safe, enclosed and loved. Agree with your husband ahead of time what the plan of action is at night. I always remind myself that if I can get through 30 minutes or even an hour of crying I’m investing into YEARS of future nights of sleep. You can do this if you want to!
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