Lately I’ve seen lots moms asking about sleep training methods, seeking advice for bedtime routines and sending out cries for help. Not too long ago, I was a raging pulling my hair out sleepless mama with a raging, pulling her hair out sleepless baby.
And then things changed. I put my foot down and made the tough decision. Zoë had to move out of my room and into her own. Something in me knew things would be different and after asking the Hubs to move her crib 10,000 times (I swear this is not an exaggeration), I whipped out my tools and broke down the crib myself. It took me 40 minutes of dodging a speed crawling baby to break it down, transport the pieces to the nursery and put it back together. 40 minutes! Those minutes go down in mommy history like an Academy Award!
Zoë was 10 months old at the time. Imagine 10 months of a colicky; reflux having, and gassy, crying baby sleeping within arms length of you every night. Sweet? I think not. I use the term sleep loosely our nights were more like sirens, bombs and loud music coming from a boom box on an early morning! The crying was relentless. And this cute little baby knew just how to get herself in my bed each night. I can’t count how many times I held my breath, my pee or just laid corpse still, so I wouldn’t wake her. Again wake is a loose term. I’m convinced she “slept” with one eye open.
Back to sleep training. I read tons of articles debating the best method and even bought the book The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems. I don’t remember what the training method was in the book other than it suggesting getting in the crib with the baby if necessary. And then I read the crib weight restriction and I was definitely not getting in! That crib converts to a toddler bed and then a full-sized bed. It better take Zoë through college! I’m just saying.
I decided to go with the cry it out method. Shoot (I really want to use the real cuss word) she cried all the time anyway. Here’s how it went:
Night 1: Bedtime routine and then in the crib once just dozing. The screams started before she hit the mattress. I left. Went back after 5 minutes. I did this like 10 times and each time the crying got worse, so eventually I stopped going in and then all baby hell broke loose. I can still remember those cries. It went on for an hour and then I gave up. In the bed she came.
Night 2: This night I stayed a little while. I let her hold my hand. And as she drifted off I navigated the creaking floorboards until I was finally out of her room. 5 minutes later, I was back. And the process started again. It wasn’t working and I threw in the towel. Thank God the hubs was home so he went in. Ha, Zoë was not fooled and was not pleased. The prior night’s screams were back. Eventually he left and said just let her cry. An hour or so later she was sleeping and stayed down for 4 hours. I didn’t sleep the entire night. The guilt and the worry took over. Is she breathing? Is she hurt? Is she disappointed in us? Yeah, that crazy mama delirium really took over.
Night 3: She held on to me so tight I decided to let her sleep with me. She slept through the night. The next day was a great one.
Night 4: Back to the CRIB kid. 5 minutes of light crying, more floor board navigating and wait what? She slept through the night!!!!
And just like that, my up every 2 hours, raging baby started sleeping through the night! 12-14 hours at that. And 8 months later she still averages 12 hours each night, doesn’t need me to rock her to sleep and wakes up happy as can be most days.
So there you have it. Zoë’s sleep training story. Stay tuned for part 2 also known as our bedtime routine. It’s 30 to 40 minutes y’all. That’s it!
How did/is sleep training going for you?
AdannaJuly 16, 2014 at 7:10 PM
Sleep training is the hardest. I swear it takes so much out of us moms! Yay to it working out!!
M JJuly 16, 2014 at 11:53 PM
Those were some really tough nights. I cried every night. I watched the baby monitor like a hawk and I would go in and check if she was breathing. I actual still do the breathing checks. Paranoid Mother!
Tiffany WinbushJuly 17, 2014 at 10:25 PM
Thanks for sharing your sleep trajning story. I admit that I’m the mom who’s waited maybe too long to start sleep trajning, but my husband and I will finally start next week. Wish us luck!
M JJuly 18, 2014 at 12:16 AM
How old is your little one Tiffany? I will definitely say a prayer and cheer you and your husband on. I can’t stress this enough “It will get better!” oh and stand your ground. Good luck.
KikiJuly 29, 2016 at 7:36 PM
First of all, I’m so glad I found your blog…. its fantastic! Secondly, your daughter is so cute… her little smile is addicting! and Last but not least…. my sweet little angel is 6 months old and is ( a plus) sleeping in her own room and crib ( we transitioned at 5 months), but is still getting up about every 4/5 hours. I am ready to do some sleep training so we can all get some sleep, but do you think its to young at 6 months? And if we do go ahead with doing it, how long is too long for her to cry, you quote 30-40 minutes and that sounds like such a long time. I think I would definitely break down and cry as well. Thank You!
M JJuly 31, 2016 at 10:41 PM
Hi Kiki. Thank you for checking out my site. As for sleep training, 6 months is definitely not too young. 30-40 minutes is a long time. I did the initial come back after 2 minutes of crying and gradually increased it but that only made it harder for her at the time. Going 30-40 minutes is more along the lines of the extinction sleep training method. It is all so hard and you will cry but just know that whatever you decide to do, you are doing your very best.