Starting to Sleep Teach
Before having Jackson, I was more than adamant about us never being a bedsharing family. It wasn't in the cards for us & that was ok. That was also a statement from a soon-to-be Momma with no real experience yet. Naturally, we quickly became one not for Jackson's comfort but because I was lazy LOL. At one point, he was sleeping through the night & the heavens sang their hymns. Then Jackson quickly became a baby again & I got tired REAL QUICK of walking from room to room multiple times in the middle of the night. It was easy to just have him beside me, literally open my shirt & put him to sleep. Also, it provided everyone (Matt, myself & Jackson) to get the maximum amount of sleep. However, it's time to change things.
WHY START NOW?
In Jackson's 10 months of living, we haven't really followed any schedules or teaching methods - just kind of let the chips fall as they may & watch him grow. So far, he's hit all milestones early & honestly, we were hoping sleeping would follow. It's not. At least not as fast as we'd like it to. Even though I feel like we're starting a little late on the teaching, it could be the perfect time because he's a little bit more aware & catches on quicker. Also, our parenting style is pretty 'independent.' What I mean by that is when Jackson falls or does anything that makes him start crying, we don't run to him & pick him up. Since he could crawl, we've let him cry & realize he can come to us for his comfort. Some may have a problem with that & that's fine - it's what works for us! As a result, J moves to things he likes / wants & away from others. So for us to implement the CIO (cry it out) method to a degree, I think our previous parenting style played to our advantage.
PRE SLEEP TEACHING SITUATION
Up until recently, I've been nursing Jackson to sleep & putting him down in his crib where he sleeps for a couple hours then wakes up. From there, either Matt or I would go into his room & change him: Matt would attempt to walk him around in the room back to sleep or I'd bring him into bed with us & bedshare the remainder of the night (nurse all night). Also to note, once he was in bed with us, he pretty much stayed on the boob to put himself back to sleep, which lead to more diaper changes throughout the night. DUH JESSIE!
OUR PERSONAL NEEDS
- Dark room with 1 wall night light
- Black out curtains
- White noise sound
- Reliable audio & video baby monitor (we have iBaby)
- No nursing to sleep
- Self Discipline
NIGHT ONE OF TEACHING
By far the worst night but I learned the most! No bedtime routine at all. I walked in his room with him for a good 10 min "shhh"ing in his ear loudly in the dark until he fell asleep on my shoulder. When I went to put him down, he woke up but I walked out. He cried / screamed for 30 min & I felt like the worst parent alive listening to him & watching him from the monitor. So many times, I wanted to go comfort him but about halfway through, I realized he wasn't crying anymore - he was stopping, looking around the room then just yelling out. Basically, he was just waiting for someone to come get him. Eventually, he sat down & fell onto the mattress asleep. He did wake up twice. Matt changed the first diaper & Jackson cried for 10 min before putting himself back down. I got the 2nd wake up & I HAD to feed him (engorgement is real). J was up by 4 & ready for the day.
NIGHT TWO OF TEACHING
Started reading 2 books to him around 8? Then walked in his room for a few minutes & put him down. He cried for 5 min & was out by 830. Woke up one time so obviously slept longer stints. I woke up around 2am to pump because I could not sleep while engorged. J was up by 430 for the day.
NIGHT THREE OF TEACHING
Jackson slept 9 hours straight & I'm so confused but in the best way possible! Before bed, I gave him a bath, read him 1.5 books, walked in his room in the dark for 2 min, put him down & shut the door. He cried for 2 min then sat up in his crib staring into the darkness for 45 min. He did fall asleep sitting up & I wanted to go lay him down but that ran the risk of waking him up & having to start all over so I prayed he didn't fall into the crib wall. Luckily, he fell on the mattress & was OUT. He did wake up once crying but soothed himself back to sleep before I could even get out of bed! Up by 530 for the day & I nursed him right after getting him (may make that a morning habit).
NOTE: Jackson does eat food & drink water throughout the day so he's getting full on food that's not me. I make sure to not feed him from me an hour before bedtime because I want him to naturally be tired from the food he's eaten & activities he's done throughout the day.
WHAT HAVE I LEARNED
Babies need the opportunity to learn how to sleep, just like everything else. Letting my baby cry obviously isn't my favorite thing to do - no one is happy during this. But I also have to keep in mind that I can't half-ass this teaching thing. If I start to let him cry then give in, I really would have let him cry FOR NOTHING & that would make me more upset.
This is not something that will happen overnight (pun intended). Yes, it's tested overnight but that doesn't mean it's going to work immediately or at all. For example, I tried the 2, 3, 4 nap regime today for J. 2 hours after waking up is not for Jackson & we learned that today haha (the hard way). What I'm saying is you have to try it before you rule it out. It may mess up a day a training should it not be for your babe but at least you've checked it off as a NO.
HELL WEEK FOR LATER SANITY
I've been told the first week is absolute Hell. There will probably be tears, more engorgement & doubting your parenting instinct but try to remind yourself that this is only temporary. The length of the Hell depends on how you adamant you are with your system, whichever you choose. Personally, I'm stubborn as a mule so once I've decided to do something, it's happening whether everyone likes it or not. Bottom line - I'll learn if this is a thumbs up or down.
I'm still confused on when to start teaching baby #2 (not pregnant) because I really think J's age now has a lot to do with how quickly he's caught on. So here's to the beginning of sleep teaching & gaining a little bit of sanity back in the process :) Feel free to leave me any tips or tricks you've used or tried!