I did it! I’ve been meaning to write about it but I was worried that it might be too good to be true but we are on week three of having a sleep trained baby! Thank you to everyone who gave me their advice. It was a major source of encouragement and support. In the end I used a combination of various techniques that I’ve outlined below in case any other parents may be interested.
-First night- I used the shuffle method, standing next to his crib and tapping him until he fell asleep. That night he woke up almost every hour, but I didn’t picked him up until 5 AM. I would just go in and tap him until he fell asleep.
-Second night- I continued with the shuffle. He slept a 5 hour stretch and then woke up every hour. I didn’t picked him up till 5 AM.
-Third night- I decided to see what would happen if I just let him cry for 5 minutes before I went it to tap him. After the first five minutes of crying I went in to tap him for a couple of minutes and the walked out again. The second time I waited 10 minutes before I went in. By the third time he as asleep before the 15 minutes. He only woke up once that night.
-Fourth night- at that point I knew he was capable of self soothing so I decided to go for the full on Cry-It-Out method. He cried for 15 minutes and fell asleep. That night I put him down at 7 PM and picked him up the next morning at 6 AM. He woke up several times but went back to sleep after just 5 minutes of tears.
That has become the norm for most nights. But it’s not always like this. There are nights that he wakes up and refused to go back to sleep. On the nights he doesn’t fall asleep within 30 minutes, I go in and comfort him. And if he has a cold I will also nurse him and put him back in bed. Some mornings he is up by 5 AM. And that’s just fine. It’s still a major improvement from where we were.
His naps still need work. One step at a time.
Parents, I know there is a lot out there about whether or not to sleep train. And it’s true, there are children who are not trainable for whatever reason. From my experience it’s definitely worth trying. If it doesn’t work, my heart is with you because I understand that exhaustion.
For weeks I’ve avoided blogging because I didn’t want to admit defeat. I didn’t want to face the world of super parents who have sleep trained their children while mine still slept next to me and my husband. I’m no super mom and I don’t really want to be one but for two nights my baby has spent half the night in his crib. Now for all the Cry It Out parents, that may seem like a minuscule accomplishment, but for me it’s nothing short of amazing.
There’s no particular method, just a slow process of getting him used to sleeping on his own. And I won’t leave him to cry, not even for one minute. I can’t say I have any evidence that letting a baby cry isn’t good for them because I don’t really know if it is or not. But what I do know is leaving my baby to cry for any period of time feels completely unnatural to me. I respect other moms who can do it. But I also understand why many moms don’t.
I’m going to wrap up this post before I make any enemies. If there’s one thing I learned since becoming a mom, it’s never insult a mother’s way of sleep training her little one. And so I will end with this thought: I’m going to enjoy this transition period because it means we both get to have everything we want and everything we need. We both get to sleep in our respective beds for a few hours, uninterrupted by the other’s movements. But we also get to enjoy the bonding time that comes with sleeping next to each other the second half of the night. In a few weeks (or months) he will be sleeping in his crib the entire night and he’ll probably be fine, but I will miss him terribly. As a working mom who only get’s to see my little one a few hours a day, there is no sweeter feeling than falling asleep while holding my baby’s hand.
After receiving some great advice from friends and readers I took the first step to moving my baby out of our bed. Last night, after his bath time and his bottle, I put him in his pack n play. I was an experience that helped me learn a bit more about my son’s personality. For two hours he tossed and turned and tried to climb out. I was amazed with his tenacity and perseverance. At six months old, he was trying to figure out how to get out of the pack n play and into my bed. But I did not give up. And neither did he. First he tried to seduce me into picking him up by looking into my eyes and giving me a big smile. And while that ALMOST worked, I stayed strong. Then he yelled at me for about one hour. He didn’t cry. He just yelled, as if to say, “how dare you abandon me?” Then he tried to climb out. All I could do was bury my face in my pillow and laugh. Two hours later, he wore himself out and started crying. That is one sound I cannot stand to hear. Plus I think he was trying to tell me that he was thirsty. I know I would be if I exerted all that effort. So I picked him up, gave him what was left in his milk bottle and he passed out.
We made it through half the night with him in his pack n play. I woke up around 1 AM to pump and found myself counting the hours till 7 AM so that I could bring him into our bed and play. I only made it to four AM. And while he was perfectly fine, I wasn’t. He spent the rest of the night next to us. Tonight we will try again 🙂
And one note about the pumping. I have decided to keep going, mostly because my prince doesn’t seem to like formula. He’s the boss.
It’s been weeks since my last post. My schedule has changed at work, giving me more time to spend with my baby on a daily basis, but less days off during the week. I now wake up in the morning, spend 30 minutes with my little one, hurriedly get dressed and run out the door. When I’m finished with work at seven, I get home as fast as I can, run through the door and pick up the baby before he has had a chance to fall asleep. I then strap on the pump and eat dinner so that my son has some fresh milk to send him off to dream land. And then I do my favorite thing of the day. I lay next to my little one and watch him fight sleep until he gives up and finally closes his eyes. Sometimes I fall asleep before he does and that’s OK, because I need every second of slumber I can get.
Sleep. I don’t know a single new parent that isn’t obsessed with this issue. How can we get our child to sleep through the night? It’s a multimillion dollar industry with hundreds of books preaching just as many techniques. For every book or article I read, I have found there are others that tell you to use the exact opposite method. And for every method, you’ll find at least one parent who will tell you it was miraculous and one parent who will say it was impossible to implement.
As for me, I have given up on the idea of sleep training my baby. He is now sleep training me. He sleeps better when he is in our bed. And so that’s where I put him. If he wakes up in the middle of the night, I give him a bottle. My son’s pediatrician, who I hope reads this blog, will be very disappointed to find this out from me. She has advised me not to do any of the above. It’s not that I can’t. It’s just that I don’t want to. I work all day and so sleepy time is also bonding time for me. And if he wakes up, even if it’s for 10 minutes, I don’t mind giving him milk because it’s another chance for us to bond. Some nights, he only wakes up once. Others, four times. I no longer check the clock because I have found that if I don’t know how little sleep I’m getting, I don’t feel as tired.
Last night, we decided we would make him sleep in his crib, the one next to our bed. He is only 27 inches long, but he has found a way to take over most of our bed, leaving his dad and I literally sleeping on the edge. When he complained, however, I was thrilled and picked him up and put him next to me. I love that he loves sleeping next to me. One day, and that day will come sooner than later, he will not want to be with us. In the mean time, I’ll enjoy every second with him that I can get, even if it means I barely get any snooze. I just wish we had a king size bed.
It’s clear to me that the person who came up with the term “sleeping like a baby,” never actually had a baby. For the first few weeks, most babies do not sleep for more than four hours at a time. That’s the absolute maximum! My baby was no different in the first 6 weeks of his life. But things have dramatically improved in the last week or so. In my last post, Tired, I mentioned that my baby was sleeping 5-7 consecutive hours a night. For those who are not yet moms, that is quite an accomplishment for a little 2 month old. Other new moms have been asking me what I’ve done to get him to do that. Partly, I think it’s because my son is just like his father, who loves sleep about as much as he loves me. But I also believe the key is putting the baby on a bedtime routine.
Every night he gets a bath and a massage at around 8 PM. Then he gets his last bottle of the night. And at around 9 or 9:30 PM he falls asleep and stays asleep until around 2 AM. He wakes up to eat and then goes back to sleep for a couple more hours. On the days we give him his bath earlier, he ends up going to sleep earlier and staying up most of the night. That leads me to believe that it’s the routine that determines his sleep cycle. We also make sure to swaddle our little one very tightly and turn on some white noise for the first hour of his slumber. Believe me, I know how precious sleep is to new moms and dads. I hope this helps.
-East Coast Mama