Cry it Out: My Sleep Training Experience

Parenting is not about what is convenient for us, but what is best for our children.

Okay, so the last time I checked in I had attempted sleep training and failed hard. After a night of no sleep, again, and failed naptimes during the day, again, I decided it was time to try again!

I read something about sleep training that changed my perception. Babies are not born knowing how to sleep correctly (sounds weird when thinking about the fact that they are born sleeping almost 20 hours a day at first). But seriously, they do not know how to sleep CORRECTLY. They need to learn sleep cycles, falling asleep, staying asleep, all of the above.

And as with everything else in your child’s life, it is your job to teach them and parent them on how to sleep. So sleep training is not cruelty or putting a distance between you and your baby, it is simply the next step in parenting: teaching your sweet angel how to sleep.

Sleep is a wonderful thing! It is when our bodies store memories, reenergize, and heal! So it is extremely important that your baby learns how to sleep well for their best benefit (and lets be real, it can help you get a bit more sleep too).

So now that my perception changed, I tried sleep training this week. There are many different ways to sleep train: cry it out method, Ferber method (going in at different time intervals to soothe baby back to sleep), the chair method, etc. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to sleep train your baby. As with all parental things, you know your child the best so you know what will work best for them.

My son is a hyper little boy who loves to be with his mama at all times. So as soon as I attempted the chair method, he went from deep sleep to hyped up at the fact that mom was sitting next to his crib (which must mean play time)! So knowing my son, I knew what was the best method of sleep training: cry it out.

Now you may think that I am a horrible mother for this and trust me I told myself that too. But after some serious thinking I realized this was the only way he would ever learn to sleep on his own. From birth I went from breastfeeding him to sleep to rocking him to sleep. He had never known how to fall asleep without me present and would never learn unless I was out of the picture for a time.

So the first night, I fed him his bottle, rocked him to drowsiness, and laid him in his crib with his lovey pooh. I told him I loved him, kissed him goodnight, and walked out of the room. Immediately, he cried. And then he cried for 50 minutes straight. And then I cried for 50 minutes straight too. It was the hardest night of my life and many times I almost quit. But my husband encouraged me with the statement that helped me through the rest of the sleep training: “Parenting is not about what is convenient for us, but what is best for our children.”

So he finally fell asleep. And that night it took him only 30 minutes to fall back asleep. And the next day he napped in 10 minutes. That next night he fell asleep in 16 minutes. And so on and so forth. It is now day four of sleep training and he fell asleep in about 15 minutes for his nap. A little crying, some cooing, and some rest.

Now I started sleep training at a hard time. Teething. His top two teeth have popped through this week. You may think that makes me double horrible, but honestly besides Tylenol there is not much I can do for teething. And he will need to learn that sleep is good for times of not feeling well. So when he is older he can sleep when he has a cold, or a nightmare, or is sad. The point is when he wakes up, mama and daddy are still there. But he is able to do something without us.

And essentially, that is the whole point of raising children. Teaching them that they can do stuff without us; raising them to be independent and strong. So, my way of sleep training has worked with him. He still loves me, he is not traumatized, and he is sleeping so much better.

So if you are attempting sleep training, this is not to tell you to do cry it out method. It’s sharing my story and encouraging you in the midst of a hard step in parenting. Research the different methods and try what works best for your baby! And make sure you are ready to start before doing it. The first time I tried I wasn’t quite ready to commit. The second time I was, and it has been successful.

Parenting is such a journey and full of ups and downs. But our goal is to raise strong children who are capable of doing things without us, but always reminding them that mama and daddy are there if they need us. Through many tears, much mommy guilt, and consistency, John is sleep trained and I am realizing that I did what was best for him, even if it was hard for me.

So, be encouraged! Do what needs to be done, because essentially making a home is full of tasks that we don’t want to do but needs to be done. So, good luck and Happy homemaking!

#Momfail: Sleep Training is Hard

So yeah. I just need to talk and vent about my frustrations lately. Baby John is about 8 and a half months old. He is what I call a “random sleeper”. He sleeps through the night for a little bit just to get my hopes up, and then he wakes up 3 times in one night, just to throw me off his scent.

Lately I have been doing the thing all of us mom’s are vulnerable to… comparison. I saw a friend post about her 3 month old baby “sleeping through the night” and I just got frustrated. I was tempted with the usual thoughts: “Am I doing something wrong?” “She’s a better mom than I am.” “What if something is wrong with John?” And you get it. All of the usual thoughts.

So I went to researching all of the sleep training methods. Ferber method, cry-it-out method, and the chair method. I rock John to sleep for his naps and bedtime and I enjoy it very much. But I don’t enjoy it in the middle of the night so much. So last night I decided to start sleep training. I chose the chair method which is essentially sitting next to the crib as baby learns to fall asleep on his own and then gradually moving the chair further and further away each night.

So I fed him, got him drowsy, and laid him in his crib, thinking he would go to sleep and everything would be awesome. However, he instead goes from almost asleep to full out crack addict kicking his legs, squeeling, crawling to his mobile, standing up and “talking”. So, as the directions stated, I laid him back down and said, “It’s time for bed. Shhhh.” And sat back down. He then continues to act like I gave him an entire can of coke prior to bed. I tried and tried again and completely failed. Didn’t even get close.

I sat back in the rocker frustrated and he went to sleep. This post is not about sleep training (maybe I will learn something and be successful and I will share it later). What it is about is the comparison trap I fell into. Part of me wasn’t even ready yet to stop rocking John to sleep because I love that moment at night when his eyes are drifting and he curls my hair around his finger or touches my face gently with his hand. But because of comparison I tried to force him and myself into something we weren’t ready for.

So we will try again when we are ready. And I will enjoy the season I am in now to the best of my ability. Because one day he will be too big to rock to sleep. His legs will hang down to my knees and he will want to stretch out in his bed alone. One day he will want to sleepover at his cousins and I will be at home missing him. One day his bedroom will be empty as he is away at college or married and moved out.

Sleep will come again. A clean floor will be in the future. But all I have is now with my baby. So I’m going to enjoy rocking him to sleep and cuddling him in the night. I’m going to cherish my messy floor and sticky table. And I’m going to hug a little harder and be still a little longer.

So if you are being tempted to compare yourself with other mamas or daddys, just stop. Breathe. And remember what you have and be thankful. Happy homemaking!