I was not blessed with good sleepers. I was sure that after the hot mess Sofia was as a baby, I deserved and would have a blissfully easy sleeper in David. I did not.
Sofia’s sleep training took place in month 8 of her life, and took 3 nights of hell. Now, she sleeps from 8pm to 7am and takes a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. I put her down in her toddler bed and give her a kiss on the forehead and that’s it. No crying. It was totally worth those 3 nights.
David has never been a problem getting to sleep. Since he was a baby I have always put him in his crib awake and let him fuss a bit until he gets himself to sleep. I really didn’t have another option, because I can’t leave my monstrous toddler downstairs to light my house on fire while I rock him for 20 minutes. Poor kid always gets the shaft being the second.
David’s problem is that once he is asleep, he doesn’t stay there for long. At night he has had the habit of waking up and expecting to nurse every 2-3 hours. And I should mention that he’s 5 months old, not a newborn. I haven’t had more than 4 hours consecutively of sleep since he was born so I’ve been a tad cranky. Or more like a raging bitch. You’ll forgive me, right?
My absolute mush of a husband, who called me ‘mean mom’ when we were sleep training Sofia, is so fed up with David’s night wakings that he had to have a talk with me about sleep training him. I’m a zombie and he’s not a fan. So we decided enough was enough and I started reading.
There are so many books on sleep but the one that has worked for me with both of my kids and their very different sleep issues is Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. He goes into the science behind sleep at every age and realistically how much you can expect your child to sleep for nighttime and naps, and how to get them there. I highly suggest it.
So this is how we approached it.
Night 1 – put him to sleep at 8:30 and do not go to him until after midnight for a feeding. Then, do not get him up for the day until after 6am. Yes, that means let him cry.
Night 2 – 3 repeat
Night 4 – 6 bottle instead of breast for the midnight feeding
Night 7 eliminate night feeding.
Sounds ambitious and I was not convinced I had it in me to follow through. Hearing him cry physically and emotionally hurts me, which is something only moms understand.
Here’s how it actually went
Night 1 – mommy cries as she starts to THINK about putting baby down. Baby goes to sleep at 8:30 and wakes at 9:30 looking to eat. We let him cry off and on for 15 mins and he fell asleep. Did not wake up again until midnight. Fed him then, back in the crib, he wakes again at 6:30am
Night 2 – baby in crib at 7:30. He wakes at 2:30 to eat, back to sleep until 7am. No crying.
Night 3 – baby in crib at 7:30. He wakes at 3:50 to eat, back to sleep until 7am. No crying.
Nights 4-now – baby in crib at 7:30, wakes again at 7am.
I shit you not.
So really I was sleep trained. Poor kid just wanted to know what we wanted of him. Mommy is a very happy camper.