Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Will you still love me tomorrow?

It's no secret that my baby boy is a terrible sleeper. It's gotten to the point where my friends say they think of me in the middle of the night when their little ones are keeping them up. Just call me the poster child for sleepless nights!

I didn't think our nights could possibly get any worse but over the past week they escalated to such heights of sleeplessness that I found myself bringing baby to sleep in our bed, something I swore I'd never do. But it was better than waking up with baby every half-hour. Anything to get some rest!

This week we decided that enough is enough. Baby, you are not the boss of me! I am the boss of you. Time to start sleep training... Again.

Sleep training, for the uninitiated, can mean many different things. Essentially it's implementing a process to try and get your baby to sleep through the night. For many (and for us) this means letting your baby "cry it out". I tried a lot of different things and finally decided this is the only approach that will work for us.

For a long time, I didn't want to go this route. I thought letting your baby cry seemed cruel and unnecessary. But a few months ago, we decided to give it a try. It didn't work. I had read that for most kids, within a week of letting baby cry it out, they'd be sleeping through the night. I know now that the reason it didn't work was that we were being inconsistent. Some nights we'd let him cry, other nights we wouldn't. I struggled with hearing him scream alone in his room. Maybe it just wasn't the right time. It went on (and off) for weeks. So we stopped and I went back to waking up with the baby every time he woke. I felt like he needed reassurance and nurturing during a time that he was going through so many developmental milestones.

I wasn't doing him any favors. The nights only got worse, especially when you throw the arrival of five teeth into the mix. He's been cranky and restless and clingy and just not the baby I knew.

So this time I vow to stick with it. I will be consistent and I won't bend. He may be stubborn, but I'm more stubborn.

Two nights in, I'm already seeing major improvements. He seems to be sleeping more soundly and is sleeping for longer stretches at a time.

In the mornings we are both better rested and much happier. And the best part, he still loves me even though I let him cry alone in his crib. I have a feeling things are changing for the better!

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