Momma Diaries – Sleep Training

Sleep Train.  A ticket to a better night sleep.”  Okay, so that’s a jingle (fast forward to the 26 seconds), but it’s so TRUE.  Since we’ve been back from the holidays, we started sleep training with Eva.

Let me start off saying that we were SO lucky with Eva when she was younger.  At two months old, when most babies weren’t sleeping through the night, she was, for 10-12 hours.  She’d also put herself to sleep; whether it be naptime or at bedtime.  She had a sleep schedule but it was pretty relaxed.  We’d start getting her ready for bed anywhere from 7:30pm to 9:00pm.  But after she turned 4 months old, she started to push her bedtime back and then started waking up in the middle of the night to eat, which could attribute to her short naps (but that’s another sleep issue to tackle.  we’re working on it next!).  Around this time both sets of the grandparents came into town and we didn’t enforce her bedtime routine.  When they left, we never went back to her normal bedtime routine, which is our (the hubs and mine) own fault.  I was burnt out around 9:30 – 10:00 trying to put her to bed as she would no longer fall asleep on her own.  I wanted to get stuff done around the house and spend time with the hubs, but was so tired to do anything come 10:00pm.  Then she got sick over Thanksgiving and we let her sleep in bed with us for a couple of days, but she went back into her crib thereafter.  Shortly after, I went on my work trip and we let her co-sleep with the hubs while I was away.  When I returned, we continued to let her sleep in the bed with us and continued to do so while on vacation.

my babygirl napping

Now, we’re back home and have started a new bedtime routine.  Along with this bedtime routine is now letting her cry it out (CIO) and allow her to put herself to sleep.  It does breaks my heart to hear her cries and I do worry about the negative psychological effects that some research pose (although other research does pose the benefits of the crying out out method), but I do feel this is best for her and us as a family unit.  It’s been about two weeks since we’ve started this new routine.  Some nights are better than other.  The most she cried was the first night.  Since then she’ll go anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes of crying (depending on how tired she is. Usually when she EXHAUSTED and doesn’t nap well during the day, is when she’ll cry for a longer period of time.  It rarely gets to 10 minutes.  Let me knock on wood now because I may jinx myself.) before she finally stops and sleeps.  I’m hoping she’ll love her routine (our doctor said it takes 2-4 weeks for any routine to really sink in) and start sleeping in her crib without crying when we put her down.  So we have a little longer to go.  We’re seeing gradual results.  She’s started to put herself to sleep when napping now too.  Of course, there is crying and whining involved, but regardless progress.  If things don’t continue to progress, perhaps we’ll start from scratch and try the gradual approach, such as the Sleep Lady Shuffle.  Maybe we should have tried this method first but we felt like there was a strong possibility where we’d give into picking her up, which defeated the whole purpose of sleep training in the first place.

Perhaps its part selfish for wanting a little me and/or QT with the hubs.  But it’s mainly for her own benefit.  She NEEDS a good night’s rest and needs to learn how to sleep on her own.  After reading part of “Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child,” I’ve come to realize just how important sleep is for her and for us.  Keeping her in the pack-n-play (which is in our living room) or our arms until we go to bed isn’t an option because she’s at that curious stage where she wants to play and discover new things especially if mommy and daddy are awake.  Of course, there are exceptions such as traveling and sickness.  But hopefully as long as we have her routine down, she can quickly bounce back after these situations.  Wishful thinking.

Have you tried the gradual approach or the crying it out/Ferber method?

Mommy bloggers Jo and Kaitlin’s mom discuss their experiences when having their children cry it out and share theliterature that got them through it.  Great reads if you want to try it out.

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