Sleep Training

Why did we not do this earlier??? That's the main result after less than a week of sleep training.

We made the mistake from the beginning (our son is 13 months old) of rocking and singing our son to sleep. It made sense. It was the caring, loving thing to do. We could cuddle with him. We enjoyed it for the most part and invariably would fall asleep with him. At times, it would take a long time to get him to sleep, a few times over an hour, and we would be frustrated with him. Every time, whether we fell asleep with him or not, we would be exhausted. Our night would end at 7.30 pm. At least mine did, so much for planning to work, ha!

If I fell asleep with him, he would want to nurse the night through, waking up intermittently and seeking out my nipple. Neither of us could rest. My husband, who chided me for falling asleep with him, decided to be gracious and exclusively take over the night shift when I got pregnant with our second recently. I must admit there was no small gloating and schadenfreude on my part when hubby kept falling asleep with him and our little one kept waking and wanting to cuddle, waking up his dad.

"That's it!" my hubby, exasperated, shouted the conclusion of our son's coddling. "We are training him!"

My first reaction was to grit my teeth as I spent nearly a year waking up throughout the night to nurse. P takes the night shift for a week and now we're sleep training. My second reaction was to limp out a smile, for I knew it was best. L had to learn how to go to sleep by himself and we were hindering the development of that aptitude for him.

But how to stand not running in and nursing him when he cried?

It was all rather easier than we thought. We had heard horror stories. My friends' daughter cried for over an hour straight. As L cried, we cried, watching him on his webcam from our room and wondering whether we could cave. The first few nights he would go to his toys and cry (our son sleeps on a queen bed on the floor, but that's another story) and then he would crawl back into bed. It took about ten minutes. We felt victorious, watching him sleep. The next few nights, he didn't even leave the bed and was asleep in a few minutes. Ah, sweet, sweet, victory! He's also been sleeping better. Before, he would wake up at least once if not twice a night, but since sleep training (which may or may not be a coincidence) he has not woken up at all.

A miracle!

We still can't believe it.

If only we had done this sooner...Sleep training may sound harsh, but it's better for all of us.


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