Sleep training has begun.
My No Cry Sleep Solution book finally came in last week and with Mike being out-of-town until today, I figured that it was a perfect time to read the book and put the strategies to work. I assumed that it would be a stressful event and having just one of us stressed out is better than both of us stressed out and testy with each other because of it. We do that .
This weekend turned out to be much less stressful than I thought. Because I am generally a slacker, I started reading the book Friday morning – the same day that I planned on starting the sleep training. I went into it with the purpose of reading the whole book, going through all the steps, and putting them into practice, but it didn’t quite turn out that way.
Guess what? She slept through the night in her crib Friday night anyway. Technically speaking, she slept through the night. Children are considered to be “sleeping through the night” if they stay asleep for a period of 5 hours or more.
She stayed asleep from 11:18pm to 5am. In that time she woke once, cried out, then immediately went back to sleep.
I had a whole five hours of uninterrupted sleep. FIVE. In a bed by myself. I stretched out, took all the covers I wanted (I do that anyway), and had a quiet peaceful sleep. It was amazing. Saturday night did not go as smoothly…she only slept from 10:30 until 2am without waking. The only reason, I feel, that she woke up was because her diaper leaked all over her and the bed. Instead of waking her up fully by turning on lights and changing sheets, I just chose to change her and put her in bed with me. So far, we both have really benefited from what I’ve learned from the book. We’re still in training mode, but I am so glad that she isn’t putting up as much of a fight as I had thought.
*I’m going to do a little sidenote here and tell you how much I cannot stand Luvs diapers. I bought them because the store I was at didn’t have the brand I wanted and they have been nothing but a pain in the ass. They constantly leak and they definitely do not last an entire night. Mental note to go get some better diapers tomorrow. No more accidents in the middle of the night? Yes, please!
What I learned:
Better yet, what I needed reminding of. When as a mother and parent you start to lose sleep, getting that needed sleep and being frustrated that you aren’t getting it takes over everything. This book delves into explaining a baby’s sleep cycles, having you look at how she sleeps and your evening routines, then gives you ideas on how to help your child sleep the way you want – while still respecting the needs of your child. Basically it gave me some practical expectations of how she is going to sleep and made me realize what an asshole I’ve been.
Our babies are people. We can mold them in many ways, but they have their own quirks and their own personalities. We try to make them do what we want because they came into our lives and into already developed routines. In order for us all to get the sleep we need, some compromises have to be made at first, and eventually she’ll be able to sleep throughout the entire night, not just the 5-6 hour minimum. And, as we would have it, not in our bed.
Gummy shares a room with us. We spend a lot of time in our bedroom, so trying to do what we want to do at night and get her to go to sleep is part of the problem. She needs a space of her own, she needs quiet, and we need to learn to live a little more in the living areas of our home. She’ll benefit by sleeping better, the older kids will benefit by having more time with us without the baby around, and to be honest, our room will probably stay cleaner. I realized that we were a little too active at night or, rather, that we were involving the baby too much in that activity. She needed a bedtime routine, but she needed it to include lots of calm and quiet. She is extremely sensitive to stimuli, especially in her drowsy state and light sleep cycles. The slightest noises wake her up. Lastly, I’ve realized that she doesn’t need to sleep next to me. It had just become routine. She does need to know that I am there and that I will comfort her if she needs it.
What I did:
First I removed the crib bumper. She doesn’t feel boxed in and can see me, so she knows that I’m there during the night. I came up with a night routine that starts an hour before her bedtime. It includes a bath, massage, quiet play, and a book with soft music and low light – then a feeding with continued music and no light. And no talking. Mike and I had a habit of having conversations with the lights on, while on our phones, with the kids right there in the living room watching TV or generally being loud. I’ve cut all that out. I made her a lovey out of my old t-shirt that I wore all day Saturday. I bring it out during the feeding and I’ve also incorporated it into nap time, so it’s associated with sleeping. I talk to her before the feeding and explain that she’s going to go to sleep in her bed.
Right now, I’m trying to focus on getting her to just sleep in the bed, no matter how many times she wakes up. That’s the first step. She wakes up a few times between 8:30 and 10 and needs to be comforted back to sleep. I picked a few ways out of the book that worked for me. I will only pick her up or lay in bed with her if she cannot be consoled, then once she’s asleep or near sleep, she goes immediately in the crib. This only happens, so far, once after I’ve put her down for the night.
I can say that when I was first reading about sleep training, it seemed like all I was presented with was Cry It Out or Deal With It. (the author also mentions this and I completely agree with her) When I read this book, I realized that the methods she had devised were more suited for our family and Gummy. She likes me near. She would love to have me right next to her while she sleeps, but she is really just content with knowing that I’m there for her if she needs me. Crying it out did not work. Yes she eventually went to sleep, but she didn’t stay asleep, and the next day (or when she woke up from her nap), she was especially clingy and fussy. Every bit of independence that she had developed was gone and most of the day was hell for the both of us.
Other than being a little cranky-ass because of cutting her second tooth, she has been happy and napping better during the day.
No, I haven’t gotten her to nap in the crib yet. I’m just focusing on the more important task…
getting the baby to sleep in her crib at night so I can have sex with my husband.
Special thanks to the lovely bloggers that recommended this eye-opening book.
The Waiting, Giving Her All She’s Got, and Excitement On the Side
We’re still working it out, but I’m optimistic about the outcome. I couldn’t have done it without you, ladies. I wish I could hug you in person.