I hope I am not speaking too soon, but I think the day of the pay off has finally arrived. Let me tell you this. Sleep training is not for the faint of heart. It is HARD. Probably the hardest thing I have had to do as a mom thus far. Wait, that means it is harder than pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding? Okay no. Those things were more physically hard, this has been hard on my momma heart.
|He was so tired, he fell asleep rubbing his eye.|
While I was pregnant I was given a book by a dear friend called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child . When she gave it to me she told me it was a life saver and she now gives it to every expecting mother. I am considering starting the same tradition, because it is that wonderful. She said she just thought her first two children were terrible sleepers, then she received this book from somebody and realized with her next two children that it wasn't the first two children's fault, but rather her parenting.
|It is blurry but my happy morning baby is too cute with that big grin/laugh.|
We have to help our babies learn to sleep just like we have to help them learn to eat and walk and talk. It takes time and work, and maybe some ear plugs and a night to yourself, but it works. In the book there are countless examples of it working, moms tell of their real life events. Every child is different, has different problems and takes to it differently (that is a lot of different) but every story ends the same with "We all sleep better now, etc etc and we all lived happily ever after. The end." But seriously, sleep=happy. I know you can't disagree with that statement.
|A better one of his smile, he is just as happy as me that he is learning to sleep through the whole night.|
About a week and a couple days ago I cut out that feeding at 3am. So he went from about 7pm-7:30/8am without eating. But he was used to waking up at that feeding time so instead of feeding him we would just go in and put his binks in. But then he would wake up again every 1-2 hours and not know how to fall asleep without us going in to the put his bink in. It started getting excessive, like 5-9 times a night. But it was sooo easy because we just had to put his bink in and sometimes turn him on his side and he was out again. So we did that for a while (we were even doing that before cutting out the feeding). I didn't want to take this away at the same time I took the feeding away, so a couple days after he was fine with not eating in the middle of the night, I decided it was time to finish off the sleep training.
He needed to learn to:
A.) fall asleep on his own without his binks/us putting it in for him
B.) sleep on his back
C.) and not to be swaddled (he was continually getting his arms out)
It was so hard to make the decision to start this. I mean he was doing so well falling asleep and I hate to hear him cry. Especially when I knew if I just went in for 5 seconds and put his binki in then he would instantly fall asleep and continue sleeping.
So, in the end, we made the decisions to just stopped going in. We have a video monitor so that was easy to console my heart and see him and know he was okay and that he was just wanting his binki or attention. (He LOVES attention, like most babies I am sure, but I think his is a little excessive, probably my fault). The book told me to not go in at naps or night. But for naps dont let them cry longer than an hour. The most time he ever cried consecutively was 45 mins. That may not sound long, but when your baby is crying it is an eternity. If I can do it, so can you. I think 4 months was the perfect age to do it, maybe 3 months next time, but for me it felt right at this age with him.
|Ready for his morning nap. His eyes are a dead giveaway that he is ready for sleep. His little pose kills me every time I look at this.|
#1. Read this book. Has plenty of stories of moms going through the same thing and many doctoral studies and input from many different doctors from pediatricians to psychologists. It is good to know with confidence that you are not going to ruin your child.
#2. You have to have full support from your spouse because when the rough gets going, and it will, you have to have him as your back bone. Mostly to hold you back from storming in their room and picking them up or putting in their binki or solving whatever it is that will help them stop crying. By nature we as mothers know we can solve their crying so you have to have support.
#3. Stay out of their room, they will learn! Here is a quote from the book,
"The baby may cry because he is hungry and needs food to survive. The toddler may cry because he wants a second helping of dessert after dinner. The child may cry when afraid. The teenager may cry when feeling hopeless. The adult may cry from happiness at a wedding. Not all crying signifies pain. Unfortunately, when parents talk bout crying, the assumption is that crying equals pain. This leads to the sometimes hidden thought: 'If my baby cries, I am a bad parent.'"
I loved reading that because he goes on to say how incorrect that thought is. The first day of letting him "cry it out" I totally felt guilty. He addresses that in the book because clearly any mom with a heart is going to feel bad, it's a given. This along with MANY other parts of the book are wonderful and helped me immensely. He is a pediatrician and a dad of 5. He knows and understands and has helped sooo many families. Do yourself the favor and click on the link to amazon and buy it for $10.
|I love that busy little body. He rolls the second you put him down.|
It has taken me all morning to write this and so an update, he cried for 5 minutes when I laid him down this morning but slept for an hour and a half straight. Then when I just put him down for his middle of the day nap he laid there for a minute just looking around and went right to sleep. No crying at all. The saying is true "sleep begets sleep." You could probably come up with a million reasons to not sleep train because those 3-4 days are rough, but seriously, do yourself the favor. It will work. Be consistent! Oh yeah, and head to the store and grab some chocolate and ear plugs, you can do it!
Look at this precious capture of my babies hand. I am so excited to have this forever.
I know in the future when I look at it I will just cry and wish I could hold those chubby hands. We have to re-do it because we had some air bubbles, but then we will finish it all nicely and have it for.ev.eeeeeer.
Happy sleep training--the pay off will happen.