For those of you who have already sleep trained your children or have no children to sleep train or who aren’t interested in sleep training, these posts may be a bit boring. But for those of you scouring the Internet, searching for answers, trying to figure out the hows and whens and whys of sleep training (or as I like to call it “sleep teaching”)–this is for you. Out of all the advice, statistics, and facts I found in my research–the most helpful information was real life stories with real life examples.
Continued from Night One
Last night we followed the same schedule as the night before, except we started an hour earlier at 7pm. This was not intentional but necessary, he was exhausted. I also had my mom around to help this time (Austin is swamped this week) so that I didn’t have to listen to the first part of the crying alone (the worst part). I actually left the house during the bedtime routine to hang out with some friends and returned around 9:20 after hearing he still wasn’t asleep. Apparently he cried the entire time I was gone, though it was never a scared or desperate cry. He just wanted to be picked up and nursed to sleep as he’d been conditioned to do.
When I arrived home, I immediately wanted to hold him–but my mom reassured me he was fine and that he was close to falling asleep. She had been staying in the room with him and patting his back every 5, 10, 20 (etc) minutes as instructed. Within 5 minutes of my return, he was asleep and he did not wake up again until midnight. Total crying time: 2 hours, 23 minutes.
When I first heard him awake at midnight, I was prepared for a repeat of the night before (or worse), having to get up every half hour or so to reassure him. This time, however, he simply whimpered for 5 minutes and then fell back to sleep on his own. He repeated this 3 more times until morning, putting himself back to sleep each time. It was amazing.
From the beginning I wanted to keep our morning snuggle and feeding routine, so I decided that anytime after 6 it’s okay to join us in bed and nurse. At 6:01am this morning, he started to cry and so I brought him into bed, fed him, and he slept until 8:15 when I woke him up to start the day.
Things I Know For Sure
If you are deciding on whether or not to sleep train, consider the following:
1) A support system. Get your family, friends, and/or partner involved to help reassure you and hold you accountable. Ask them to bring beer and cookies. Play games. Get out of the house. Listen to 90s throw backs and throw yourself a dance party (but do not under any circumstances listen to sad indie music). Surround yourself with supportive people, otherwise the pain of listening to your child calling for you will leave you in a pit of despair and Oreos.
2) Don’t do it if you’re not comfortable or if you’re baby isn’t ready. Austin and I tried this same method twice before when Waylon was 5 months and 9 months old. Both times he responded with frantic screaming that never changed to a normal cry. He wasn’t ready and I certainly was not ready either. Every child is different.
3) Ask questions and get answers. I texted my trusted mom-friends Candis and Erin a hundred times to ask them about the details. Like, can I still nurse him to sleep for naps? (For now) When can I bring him into bed? (After 6) What time do I put him to sleep? (No later than 8)
4) Look at the upside. Amidst all the crying these past two nights, I’ve really tried hard to focus on the upsides. For example, goodbye sore nipples! Or the fact that I have much more patience in the morning after being apart all night long. If the pros outweigh the cons, there’s a good chance you and baby are ready.
To be continued.