12 December 2012

And Then We Sleep Trained

When he turned about four-months-old, The Bairn became a terrible sleeper.  He woke up 3-6 times a night and during one of those wakings each night, he often stayed up for an hour or two, sleepy but refusing to be put back in his crib.

I read baby sleep books.
I asked for advice.
I got really tired and grouchy.

A lot of the advice I received was to try Cry It Out.  I tried it one night.  The Bairn cried for 40 minutes before he started to scream and I went to rescue him, because I couldn't take the emotional stress.

Two weeks ago, we tried a different technique called Graduated Extinction or Longer-and-Longer.  With this method, when the baby cries, you go in and comfort him briefly and then leave again, returning at longer intervals until you're only going in every 15 minutes, but never leaving him alone for longer than that amount of time.  I softened the technique a bit.  I still rocked The Bairn all the way down to sleep and then only refused to pick him up when he woke up an hour later.  And I still picked him up to nurse once or even twice in the night, if he'd been asleep for at least 3-4 hours.

Monday night he slept all night.  I put him down at 7:45 pm and came back for him when he cried at 6:45 am.  Last night it happened again.  He wakes briefly in the night, but stops fussing before I even reach his room.  Glory, Hallelujah, People!  Glory, Hallelujah!

Cross your fingers for us that it doesn't all fall to pieces when we travel to the States this weekend.

I picked up the Longer-and-Longer technique and the use of white noise that now accompanies all The Bairn's sleeping from the book, The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep by Harvey Karp, M.D.  I remember the Happiest Baby/Toddler books from my days in the library when I purchased the parenting books.  Desperate parents were always at the reference desk placing holds on baby sleep books and I did not feel the appropriate sympathy for their plight.  If I could go back in time, I would buy each of them their own personal copies of whichever sleep books they chose and allow them to check them out for the entire first year of their babies' lives.  And I'd make them all Christmas cookies (and then eat them myself).

Now I just have to sleep train myself so that I don't wake up every few hours with a burning need to peek at my sleeping baby.


eliana23 said...

Good luck. The sleeping thing is the most crucial part of your life for a long time. Then one day, you realize you haven't thought of it or obsessed in a while. And you worry that since you thought about it you have cursed it. Parenting makes us crazy.

Jen Powell said...

I truly believe you've just given The Bairn one of the greatest gift any child can receive - the ability to self-soothe.
A child who can calm himself is on his way to a happy life!

MBC said...

Oh, I did curse it Eliana. Last night was rubbish. He does have a cold and is teething again, so here's hoping it's not a total backslide.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...