So you made a decision. You just can’t handle the disjointed sleep. The always having to get up. The never feeling fully rested. And maybe it’s time for the little one to learn how to put themselves to sleep and to keep themselves there. That my friends are where we were. The husband and I had decided that we had enough with the crappy sleeping and decided to look into sleep training E. We went with the Ferber method, which basically does progressive weaning with the "Cry it out method"
We had talked about starting sleep training but never came up with a start date. E usually crashed after dinner, and then woke up 2-3 hours later for last bottle and bedtime. She was great at sleeping through the night after that, but the 2 hour period before the last bottle was the struggle. She needed to be in someone’s arms, and that meant no one was doing anything but binge-watch Netflix. So decided we needed a change. We adjusted the time of the last bottle so it was earlier, and she didn’t take that mini nap she was originally taken between dinner and bedtime/last bottle. We also read up and decided to use the Ferber Method.
I wanted to keep a sleep diary, to keep track of progress and see how much she was sleeping at night. In the heat of battle, it is hard to remember how much sleep the baby is getting (and you as well) so nightly accounts help you look back at the night prior and adjust.
Our Sleep Diaries
Day 1: Was rough. She fought and cried for an hour and a half. It was probably the hardest thing to do- just listening to your kid scream bloody-freaking-murder for hours on end. But in the morning she was her happy (but tired little self) and there was no resentment on her part. I would highly suggest taking turns going in there at the appropriate intervals (5,10,15, etc,) and flipping a coin to determine who goes first. We fought over who goes in there when, and you really need to be a united front when dealing with sleep training. I cried, she cried- but we got through it.
Day 2: she went down drowsy but sleepy, but we went there a snag where she needed a diaper change twenty minutes in. And it was a blowout. So while she was held so dad could change the sheets, she passed out. Ugh, well that back to square one on the whole "put down while drowsy but not asleep" concept. She slept from 9ish to about 2:00. Passed out at 3:30. She did fall asleep without her pacifier, primarily cause she chucked it out of her crib and didn't cry again so we couldn't retrieve it. E does have a bit of an arm on her, and she managed to get the pacifier pretty far from the crib.
Day 3: E was really tired despite some good naps at daycare. She was starting to go down at 7, so we went ahead and did a routine. (Book, lotion, diaper change) Unfortunately, she pooped again so we had to start over again. Definitely adjusting our schedule to account for that. But once she went back she cried/fought it for fifteen minutes, and then was out. Victory! And she slept through the night!
I had a conversation with my mom that night that really cemented what we were doing was beneficial in the long run. And I can see why. Elizabeth woke up a little on her own after the sleeping the whole night through and didn't take fifteen or so minutes to wake up. She was talking and stirring on her own, which she didn't really do before. And she still loves us and reaches for us, so it's nice to know she is not currently harboring any resentment to her crappy parents who make her fall asleep by herself.
Day 4: went to bed later, no poop. She cried for less than 15 minutes- went in and gave a pacifier. and went to sleep. Woke up about 45 minutes later. Screamed, waited for the fifteen but she fell asleep before we needed to go in there.
Day 5: I thought we were in her clear. I put down and by the time I got the monitor she was down. But she decided to not make it easy on me, and started crying the minute I sat down on the couch. Screamed about 8 minutes then passed out. She had little moments of fitfulness, but every time she put herself back to sleep. About an hour and a half after going down she was adjusted and out cold.
After day 5 she got much better at getting herself down. She did have one bad night, but she wasn't tired and we had company and I think they were too much noise for her. We did adjust our routine a little bit to give her a few minutes (no more than 4) of cuddle time after the bottle. She just cuddles then will get herself ready to go down. She is now usually out within five minutes of being put down. She will occasionally talk to herself and play with her pacifier but doesn't cry. We have also seen a change in nap time both at home and at daycare. It sucked at first, but I'm so glad we did it.
E is such a good sleeper now. She can put herself to sleep in a variety of places, and she no longer cries. We have had a few relapses; usually after sickness or other major changes- but she usually just takes a night to get back into and then she is good. I am so glad we decided to sleep train her; even though it was rough, it was totally worth it.
What advice would you give for handling sleep training? Did you sleep train your kid? I would love to hear more about what other moms did!