SLEEP TRAINING

August 17, 2016

If you remember my last post, you know I was in the trenches of no sleep, at my whits end, running purely on fumes and coffee. It was HARD and I knew I needed to change something about our routine because no one was thriving and we were all tired and cranky. After reading a handful of books and every blog post I could find on sleep training I was feeling especially defeated. I didn't align well with any of the methods and needed to do something that would start working in a few days time. I just could not go on much longer the way we were living. I had tried Cry It Out half heartedly in the past but was not consistent because I just didn't feel like it was right for us. I couldn't do it no matter how hard I tried, but I knew Wren needed to learn to sleep some place other than my arms for more than 30 minutes and I wasn't sure how to go about that without having her cry. After talking to my husband about some options - should we hire a sleep consultant? which method will work for our high need baby? yada yada yada. We decided to take what we read and sort of make up our own method that felt right to us and that we hoped would be effective. So here's the run down on our routine now. Also, before I go into it let me just say, IT IS WORKING! We are on the 11th day and I never thought we would get here. Starting out on day one felt beyond daunting. I almost didn't even want to try because I could not see the light at the end but here we are, not perfect, but a world of difference and SO much happier.

I basically call this a very gentle cry it out method where after our sleep routine, I lay her down awake and leave, BUT then as soon as she starts to cry I go to her, pat her bum, shush or sing and stay with her the entire time until she falls asleep. This way she knows I am there (the idea of her feeling like she has been abandoned was the reason I could not get behind true extinction CIO.) The first day she screamed (screamed!) for an hour and a half every single time I put her down which was 4 times that day (3 day naps and bedtime.) I cried every time with her. It was just so hard not to pick her up but I knew if I picked her up she would think her crying would always lead to me picking her up and I so badly needed her to know she was safe in her own bed. It was also extremely time consuming but again, we so needed this. On the second day, the crying (again with me there with her) lasted maybe 30 minutes each time. Little by little it just kept getting better and better. Here we are on day 11 and she is able to put her self to sleep with no crying, in her own bed, in about 10 minutes for her morning and afternoon nap. IT IS LIFE CHANGING and so freaking awesome. I never, in a million years thought we'd get here. (PRAISE HANDS.)

 Bedtime is still somewhat hard because it is when she is most tired and my baby does not do well overtired. So she is still crying when we put her down for the night for about 25 minutes. We'll get there though. Now, through the night is a bit different because we all need to get sleep then. Here's what we do:

Bedtime: 6:30 (Usually asleep around 7)
The sleep routine is the same for day and night sleep and it's pretty typical:
Close door
Lights out
Sound machine on
Nurse
Say I love you, close your eyes, it's time for sleep
Lay her down and walk out
If she wakes before 10, I do not nurse her or pick her up but continue with the patting and shushing until she falls back asleep. Then after that if she wakes, I do get her and nurse. Sometimes I put her back in her bed, (which I should note is in our room, right next to my side of the bed) sometimes I don't, but I NEVER let her stay attached to the nipple anymore. If I can feel that she is just pacifying I unlatch her and roll over so she can go to sleep without me. She has been sleeping 3-4 hour stretches through the night, which sounds terrible but 11 days ago she was only sleeping 40 minute stretches so I am extremely pleased with this progress.

I know there are so many different methods and ways to help a baby sleep better. This is what we decided to do and I think no matter what, the most important thing is to be 100% committed and 100% consistent. They need to know the routine to get comfortable with it and inconsistency will confuse and regress the entire process, and I think this is also why it is so important for you to use a method that feels right to you.

So, if you are a sleep deprived mama reading this, struggling to get through your days, I hear you. It is hard and feels impossible. Im here to say though that it can be better. You are strong and determined and patient and one heck of a mama. You can do anything you set your heart to. (Thank you to my husband for saying these exact words to me 11 days ago.)

5 COMMENTS:

  1. Thank you for sharing your method and experience...I also feel like I can't let my 6 month old cry it out but I want her to be able to fall asleep on her own. I like your idea of letting her cry but being there with her...that seems like a compromise that feels good.

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    1. I think seeing and hearing your baby cry is hard no matter how you try but this sure made it easier because her cries were purely anger I wasn't picking her up BUT not panic because I wasn't there. That made it so much easier and she now CAN fall asleep on her own. It is amazing! Good luck to you!

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  2. I'm not a fan of CIO and I wouldn’t do it to my child. To be honest I was sceptic about any sleep training method because I have the worst sleeper in the history of babies but I heard a lot about guide "How to teach a baby to fall asleep alone" by Susan Urban. Her method is without CIO so that convinced me. After 4 days my LO sleeps like an angel (nights and days). I still can't really believe it but it looks like we did it. I even got rid of night feedings so that's just fantastic!
    So I wanted to encourage everybody who is interested in sleep train a baby to first of all try Susan Urban's method and follow her instructions ( I found the guide here: www.parental-love.com ) and I bet any other method especially with CIO won't be necessary.

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  3. Sometimes it's worth to notice the experience of other parents. After reading your post about "How to teach a baby to fall asleep alone" guide I thought maybe it's worth a try. And I just wanted to thank you and say how happy I am now. The guide showed me very easy way to teach my LO to fall asleep alone without rocking. I thought that sleep training is a big drama and I’m not a mom who does well with crying so I was always afraid to do it. Now I know it's not that bad :)
    Seriously great help!

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  4. Great guide. Helped us big time!

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