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Weekend Wind-Up: Sleep Training Edition

October 6, 2013

Note to self: the next time we decide to sleep train, make sure I’m not pregnant because man, if there was ever a night when I needed a stiff drink!

We began the adventure in sleep training Friday night. I hated every second of it. But it’s the right move for a few reasons:
– with the new baby coming, Molly needs to be able to go to sleep without my help and I’d rather start now than scramble weeks before the baby’s due
– A needs to be able to put her down. Right now he does our bedtime routine up until story time is over and then I swoop in and nurse to sleep
– I’m ready to be done nursing and Molly is extremely dependent on nursing to sleep

I feel incredibly guilty about the whole thing. It was our choice to have another baby, not hers. It is my choice to stop nursing, not hers. It was me who began nursing her her to sleep because it was easy, not her.
I’ve long been a proponent of ‘baby’ deciding when she’s developmentally ready for things and here I am suddenly tossing that philosophy out the window.
Guilt City.
Plus, she’s a decent sleeper. If it weren’t for the above reasons, I’d really have no problem with her current habits. I hate that we’re forcing her to do it, but the thing is, I know she can go to sleep on her own. She does it at day care, usually within a few minutes. We just need her to believe she can do it at home.
And yes, we could have tried more gentle methods but the reality is that without me (and my boobs), she is going to cry regardless. I would rather she cry for a few days than for the weeks I know it can take doing it another way.

So A and I discussed our plan and put it into action. He would do his bedtime routine as usual but instead of me going in to wrap things up after story, I said goodnight before bath and he put her down.
I stayed downstairs (and madly cleaned the kitchen) and heard exactly when she started crying. 7:33pm. A came down and we sat together, half-assed watched the Food Network and listened. We didn’t need the monitor.
Our kid has lungs! She doesn’t use them often (also adds to the guilt), but man! It was intense. We chose to do interval checks rather than complete extinction (who comes up with these terms??) and after 5 minutes A went up to check on her and offer a little comfort. As much as I wanted to, as owner of the boobs, I didn’t want to make her even more upset by taunting her with what we didn’t want her to have.
Of course before those five minutes were up I had a complete melt down that continued while he checked on her and lasted a good fives minutes itself. A few minutes into the next interval though (extended to 10 minutes), I managed to calm down and even laughed a bit at Big Bang Theory (more guilt…should I be enjoying myself while my child is miserable?). Molly continue to cry and after 10 minutes (15 in total now), A went back up. I sent him with Advil for her. If crying gave me a headache, I could only imagine how she felt!
And then something happened. She stopped. A had already left the room (our floors creak and I can follow his path upstairs) so he hadn’t comforted her into stopping. He came down and said “what happened?”
We ran to the monitor and looked with shock as we saw her lying down.
“Is she alive?” I asked
“Yes” he said, “I just saw her move”
Huh.
I’d expected tears for an hour. Is 15 minutes an anomaly? (Ano-Molly…haha, get it?….sorry).
She continued to lie there, letting out the occasional cry, and occasionally getting up but by 8pm we called it: She was asleep. 25 minutes in total.

On Saturday we followed a similar routine, sans bath. But this time I had an appointment (a massage) and left the house. According to A, she only cried for a couple of minutes before settling. Same thing in the afternoon. And at bedtime? Well. She barely made a peep! She moved around a bit but settled fairly quickly. Today (Sunday) has been much of the same. The real test will be on Monday when A’s at work and I’ll be the one putting her down.

It makes me a bit sad to be losing that connection with her at bedtime, but we’ll get back there again and besides, the recommendation of several sites I read was to continue nursing her in the night if necessary. Most of this week she slept through the night, though she woke at 3am on Friday and at 12:30am on Saturday. It also said that it won’t be detrimental to nurse her back to sleep in the night. So I’ll continue that for a bit. Otherwise I’m only nursing in the morning and before supper. I’m hoping that she’s getting ready to sleep through the night on her own, since she’s been doing it more often. It would be nice to let my ‘when she’s ready’ philosophy stand for some things!

So wish us luck as we enter this new phase of sleep independence! We’re all ready for it and I think that’s what has made it a fairly easy transition.

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(Asleep on the plane two weeks ago)

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2013 12:02 pm

    Sleep training was hard (we did the same interval method as you) but necessary. My kid was an AWFUL AWFUL sleeper and even after the sleep training he took MONTHS to really sleep for long stretches (I nursed him if he’d slept for longer than 3 hours through the sleep trainng) and finally at 8 months started sleeping through the night (real through the night 11-12 hours, not 8 hours =) I now know with baby #2 (whenever that may be) that I won’t hesitate to sleep train at 5-6 months because it paid off and was one of the best things I ever did!

  2. October 7, 2013 12:50 pm

    Last night was rough, but for different reasons. She just has one of here middle of the night awake sessions lasting an hour or more (I’m terrible at tracking time in those cases). She refused to sleep simply because she wasn’t sleepy. I’m pleased that it was ultimately me who got her to go to sleep, if only to know I can help at 3am too.

  3. October 7, 2013 6:10 pm

    Be strong and best of luck! We’re in the process of weaning out the bedtime bottle – Isla’s comfort and sleep-aid before bed – and so far, so good. I’m so afraid of when it’s time to take it away completely and just put her to bed with nothing. I may do the same as you and do a bath-book-bed routine. Fingers crossed it works out!

    • October 7, 2013 6:50 pm

      Thanks! It went well with naps today. I was worried that me being there would upset her more but she seems to get it! Phew!
      Good luck with Isla and the bottle!

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