Sleep Training-Cry it out method The topic of sleep training seems very controversial and many mothers/non mothers have their opinions about this topic. After our terrible nights that I discussed in the last post, we decided to begin sleep training our son. At almost four months old, we consulted a sleep expert and started. Coincidentally, my parents were in their front yard and a couple that lives on their street stopped by to chat as they walked by. Oddly enough, their daughter, who lives across the country, is a sleep expert. We immediately reached out to her and the rest is history, well, kind of. She chatted with us on the phone and based off of our sons current schedule as well as his age, she devised a plan to assist us in helping him sooth himself. She created a plan which involved putting a chair in our sons room and offering him comforting words but never picking him up. As the nights went on, we’d move the chair farther and farther away towards the door until he learned self soothing techniques. My husband and I both knew that this method was not going to be a good fit for us and we then decided on a full out “cry it out” method. I’ll admit, I am a wimp or a coward, however you see it. I couldn’t stand hearing my son cry all night for the first night, so I stayed at my parents house while my husband and a good friend stayed at our house. Something about hearing him cry rips me up inside and I cannot stand it, even though he is safe and OK. He had his moments of crying, but nothing like I had thought. He’d cry ten minutes here and fifteen minutes here, but nothing major. In reality, he was learning how to connect his sleep cycles which at his age, occur each 30-45 minutes. Similar to adults, babies toss and turn, or wake up to get comfortable and if we were always the ones to comfort him during these times, how was he going to learn himself how to sooth during these transitions? Each day after this was better and at day 18, I can safely say that he sleeps through the night (usually around 7:00PM until 5:30 or 6:00AM). Our son stopped his night feeding fairly early, so that is why this has worked so well. The difficult part are his naps. He still cries before each nap, sometimes one minute and others fifteen minutes. We were told that naps take longer to come together and to just stick with what we are doing and stay consistent. At night, we feed our son, give him a bath, take him to an area that is not his bedroom, lotion his body and sing a soothing song as we get him ready for bedtime. We put his sleeper on, put him in his sleep sack, and then continue our nightly routine. From here, we say goodnight to the couch, his swing, the bath tub, Grandpa’s chair, his play place, our swing outside, daddy’s grill, the fan, our star lamp, his fire truck, his books, and each one of his Winnie the Pooh and friends on the wall. This routine has worked wonders as it allows our son the ability to understand that we do this every night and that he knows that bedtime is soon to follow. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it is tough to hear him cry on the monitor but I use self talk and tell myself that, he has a full belly, he is clean, he is safe, he is loved, and he is OK, it makes it a bit easier. We are trying to help our son learn how to sooth himself and so far he has done a great job.
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