Friday, February 15, 2013

Sleep Training

So, after a week of 6-hour cry-fests, and after trying every possible sleep training method we could find for the last 4 weeks, we decided to try "cry it out," which surprisingly didn't involve a lot of crying.

We went with the Ferber method. I think if she was super upset, I couldn't have done it. I'm just not a "cry it out" kinda mama. It's so counterintuitive to my clingy parenting techniques, but I had this feeling that she would do really well with some alone time in the evening, and she has! The crying has been minimal and significantly less than when we were by her side constantly.

This is only the first night, so I'm trying not to get too excited about how well it worked, but it was telling that, after Mark put in a late work night and came home at 8pm to find his daughter in bed, asleep on her own (after 6 hours of hell last night), he got all teary-eyed and gave me a huge hug. Poor babies... He gives so much of his time to her, he deserves a break.

He and I went to bed in the same bed for the first time in over a year. I slept for a full 5 hours before she woke up again. She asked for a drink then took about 20 minutes of whimpering to fall back asleep. And that 20 minutes involved 4 check ins, lots of words of encouragement, snuggles, and a diaper change. So, I feel like she was secure in knowing I was there for her.

Also, for the first time, I got a real glimpse of her little personality when I wasn't right by her side. She hugged her Blue lovey, sang the Blue's Clues song, and chatted away. There were tears, but my mommy-sense told me that she wasn't hurt or hungry, just tired and wanting to fall asleep. She even asked for "night night," and I knew that I was indirectly giving her the peace she needed.

My biggest fear was that she would learn that I wasn't coming to get her, that she would "give up" on me, that she would lose faith in me. But, I actually got a sense that it was the opposite -- she seemed to know that I would be back to check on her in a specific interval of time. I set my phone alarm to be sure I was on time, and that consistency seemed to calm her. I genuinely believe that she immediately picked up on the pattern of my check-ins and trusted that I was there for her. After the first 20 minutes of whimpering, she started to lull herself to sleep.

No screaming fits, no banging her head against the wall. I was there for comfort purposes only -- not to give her attention for positive (and negative) behavior or entertain her (like when she smacked me in the face with a book and laughed at me howling while I held my face and scolded her).

Still, I think all kids are different. If any other method would have worked for us (co-sleeping, etc.), we would have done it, but I honestly feel that she needed this and is content in her own space. During the worst of our co-sleeping experiences, she would ask to get in her crib -- I think she wanted so badly for us to help her fall asleep there, and I hope that this continues to work.

My biggest fear is that tomorrow night will be the worst, now that she knows crib time equals bed time, but I'm optimistic after a very short wake-up time this morning!

In other news, what's with this meteorite impact and asteroid flying at our planet? I'm a little scared that they won't tell us if the world is going to explode. They like to leave out little details like that on the news...

Anyway, happy sleeping and sky-watching! Off to get a few more ZZZs!

1 comment:

Janice Gifford said...

What a touching pic of Ellie. I think you guys are doing great for first time parents. Love you all.