First, I would like to start of saying that I am only talking from my personal experience. I do not claim to be an expert. This is just basically me venting my troubles and sharing some success with you. Also, I hate the term sleep training! Babies know how to sleep, they just don’t want to! Anyways…
We first tried sleep training when Rosella was about 8 months and it went horribly (well we thought so) and we gave up after 4 days. We initially did our research, and then felt like we were preparing for an earthquake. There are about a million methods, theories, and ‘facts’, and each one is the BEST one on how to make your baby “fall asleep on command”. If you choose the wrong method your child is doomed (or you are), if you want your baby to sleep in their own bed you’re bad parents and neglectful, if you believe in co-sleeping you’re old fashioned enablers, blah blah blah blah blah.
I can’t emphasize this enough: DO WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOUR FAMILY! When you go to your child’s first doctors appointment, or even some of your first parenting classes, the instructors and doctors are constantly telling us that each baby is different. What works for one might not work for another. These are people after all…just little helpless ones. They have different needs, emotions, habits and quirks just like the rest of us. Sometimes I feel like we forget that and try to fit them into this “good baby” box, and do what is supposedly the norm. All of us know that after baby, there is no more norm.
So with all that, here is how it has been going for us:
Mental state – She’s almost a year and a half now… it is time! It might be nice to sleep alone some nights with out a foot in my mouth or a knee to the ribs right?
We decided to start a bed time routine (something we’re horrible at because we’re always on the move, and more of a ‘go with the flow’ kind of family). We start with bath time, then brush our teeth, read an endless amount of books, then bed at 7:30. Simple right? Ha! Everyone (all the moms I have talked to…obvi everyone in the universe) recommends starting bedtime at 7pm. So we decided to start around that time. After we tucked her into her bed (a pack and play in our room) she knew exactly what was going down, and was not happy (she is so smart). And here is where it gets real people: she cried for about three hours before she fell asleep! We went in every 5-20 min to try to reassure her, and then left the room. She seemed to hype up the crying when her night light would turn off. Maybe she’s afraid of the dark? So we’d go in, turn it back on, give her a kiss and leave again. She woke up twice (1am and 5am), and all we did reassure her and leave her in her bed. We didn’t pick her up once she was in the bed. She cried for about an he each time, then back to sleep.
By morning Rosella was her usual sunny self as if last night’s horrific events never happened. Phewww!
Mental state – “We’re starting this back up again?!” Le sigh.
Same routine as yesterday except this time we got ready for bed in her room. Tonight she will sleep there. After all that effort to design the perfect room for our mini, it is about time it gets used (I am reassuring myself here). She cried for another 3 hours – she is very strong willed like her mother, woke up twice after that, and cried for an hour each time. The second time she woke up, we just moved her into our bed *gasp*. We had to get up in an hour anyways so we caved.
Again, by morning Rosella was her usual sunny self as if the last two nights’ horrific events never happened. During the day, when she was ready to nap, I put her in her room to sleep. She cried for about 30 minutes and then passed out. I think shes got it! No second nap. Whomp whomp…
Mental state – We’re so tired. We all need a break from the stress.
We all fall asleep in our bed. Yes I know…we are weak. Haha.
During the day, I put her in her bed again. She stayed in her crib for about an hour and didn’t sleep. Cried for about the first 5 minuted and then just played by herself. So since a nap was not on her agenda, I took her out of her crib and we went to the grocery store. She of course fell asleep in the car, and then napped while I shopped (win win for everyone).
Night 4 (last night):
Mental state – My inner Rosie the Riveter was summoned. “We can do it!” We can? Of course we can! We’ve already some this far!!! But, we need some modifications.
Realistically, Rosella is a late riser and a night time party animal. She is not even tired by 8pm! She doesn’t even wake up in the morning till about 8:30. 7pm was not going to work for us. So we let her stay up with us till about 9-9:30 or so. She started to get sleepy, so we started our routine, but this time with a twist! We read books in our bed and let her fall asleep with us. And then this magical, sleepy, calm cloud passed over her and she fell asleep; almost instantly! We waited about 10-20 min to really let her slip into deep sleep. Then we picked her up, and took her to her room. We placed her down into her bed ever so gently, and she woke up. But! But! She cried for maybe 5 minutes and then fell back to sleep!!!! Magic!!! She woke up at 1:30am and 3:30, but before I could even get to her, she just fell back asleep. Then woke up at 7:30! We picked her up, put her in our bed, and she slept alone in the bed till 8:30am.
So, this is all we’ve done so far. We’re all functioning. No one has lost too much sleep, and we plan to continue with Night 4’s success. Wish us luck!