Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Never Say Never - Sleep Training

I am that parent that swore up and down that I could not let my child cry it out. Not let me say first I hate that term and I think there are much better ways to say you taught your child how to fall asleep on their own. I do not feel one bit that I let my child cry it out. I taught my child how to go to sleep on his own.  I did not set my child in his crib and let him cry it out until he passed out. We did checks and it worked for us!

We were really struggling with Zander's sleep. If you read the last update I did for him, 11 months, we had started the sleep training but I was not ready to share our experience with it since we had just started. In his 10 month update he was still getting up multiple times a night and right up until we decided to start the sleep training we were holding him for a lot of the night. Matt and I both knew that we could not feel rested enough while holding him every night. It just wasn't possible. We were zombies! Something had to give.

He had been sick and teething and we finally got a break so we decided to dive right in. If you have been reading for awhile you know we tried with Kinley and it was a big fat fail! We tried multiple times with her but she kept on screaming and would never give up. I spent many nights sitting on the stairs crying. It was awful and I just couldn't commit to sleep training her. Thankfully she eventually got better at sleeping and at 13 months she finally started sleeping through the night. Here is a sweet baby picture of her! Awww I miss those days!

Zander has always been steps behind her developmentally so I knew it would be a long time if ever before he figured things out on his own. I felt it was crucial for us to teach him he could fall asleep on his own and go back to sleep on his own. I was not necessarily wanting to give up nursing in the middle of the night but I sure wasn't opposed to it either. Who would complain with more sleep and less wake ups. Not me!! I knew what would work for us and I took one night at a time. I had no clue how he was going to respond to me not nursing him or us not going in when he wakes up. Up until we started sleep training him we rocked him or I nursed him every night and every nap. These are the intervals we used.

Night 1: I wanted to feed him about 30 minutes before we were going to put him in bed. I was already nervous about this feeding because he gets so distracted and does so much better in his dark quite room, but I went with it. He had a really crappy feeding and like I knew did not nurse well. He did have a decent dinner so I was hoping that would hold him over. We put on his zippy about 30 mins after he was done and read a few stories on the couch. After story time he kissed everyone and him and I headed into his room. I turned on his sound machine and held him close. I told him I loved him several times, and sang him a quick song. I put him in his crib and he screamed his head off. I shut his door and walked out. It was awful I am not going to lie. I felt like the worst mom ever! Just one night I put him in his crib without nursing, no wonder he was freaking out! I went and colored with Kinley and turned on some Disney music and watched the monitor. I also set the timer because we decided Matt would do checks with him in hopes to reassure him. The first check was 3 mins in, the second check was 5 mins in, the third check was 10 mins in and then any checks after the 3rd was 10 mins. He eventually laid down 45 mins after I put him in his bed. He did not scream his head off the whole time but he did cry on and off. He woke up 3 hours later at 10:45 and I decided to feed him. Surprisingly he went right back to sleep after I put him in his crib. He was up again at 12:20 and we did the checks again. This took him a little longer. He didn't lay back down until 1:45. He then woke up at 5:00 and I fed him and put him back in his crib. He cried for 17 mins and then got up for the day at 715.  WE SURVIVED NIGHT ONE!

Night 2: The second night he did better overall but it took him 50 mins initially to lay down. He didn't wake up until 1235 and I fed him. He went right back down and was then up again at 220. We did intervals and he laid back down at 245. he was up for the day at 615 when I fed him again.

Night 3: The third night it only took him 22 mins of crying off and on until he laid down. I was shocked we were seeing such great progress already with him. He woke up at 1025 and I thought that was too early too feed him. He laid back down at 1035. He was then up at 1150 and I fed him. He cried when I put him back in bed but only for a min. He then woke at 250 and cried off and on until 310. I fed him at 545 and put him back in bed and he cried but laid right down and got up for the day at 645.

Night 4: The fourth night it took him 8 mins to lay down after I put him in his bed. He did cry the second we entered the hallway before I even got to his room but it didn't last long. He woke up at 820 cried for a min and laid right back down. I fed him at 210 and he went right back down and was up for the day at 610

Night 5: The fifth night he did not really nurse before bed. He wasn't interested. It took him 13 mins to lay down. He didn't really cry much just took him some time to lay down. I fed him at 1155 and then he woke up at 6 for the day.

Night 6: This was the first night I did not feed him in the middle of the night. The sixth night it took him 12 mins before he laid down. He woke up at 1030 and laid back down by 1034. He also woke up at 330 but laid down within a few mins. He got up at 610 when I fed him.

Night 7: He didn't really nurse on night 7. It took him 3 mins before he laid down initially. He woke up at 950 and laid back down at 953. He was up a few times throughout the night but not for more than a few mins. I feed him at 445.

Night 8. He had a really good nursing session before bed on night 8. He cried for 6 mins on and off before he laid down. He didn't wake up til 630 for the day when I fed him.

After night 8 he has been pretty consistent. On night 10 and 11 I would say he went through his extinction burst. He woke up a few times and seemed to cry a little more on those nights. Night 12 he was back to only taking about 10 mins to fall asleep and then me feeding him around 530. He stopped crying when I would put him in his bed and rolls around his crib to get comfy. He rarely cries when I put him to bed anymore. He will occasionally wake up in the middle of the night but goes back to sleep usually in 10 mins.

Top 4 Tips:

1. If you are going to do it...commit and keep on going. Night 2 Matt got really sick and I had to keep going the next week alone. It was hard but I know we couldn't turn back.

2. Don't do it until you are mentally ready. It is not easy listening to your baby cry for any amount of time so prepare yourself.

3. Follow your gut. Do what works for you and your family. We followed Ferber's sleep training interval chart but if I felt I needed to feed him I fed him. I went with what felt right for our family and Zander.

4. Have support!! It is not easy and I am the biggest softie when it comes to my kids so this was not easy for me! I have a lot of support and I am so thankful for that. I would not have been able to do it alone!

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